Outcome-based Programs Driving the Agenda for Atmanirbhar Bharat

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By Rishi Khemka, Founder and CEO of MindBox India

To code or not to code is no longer the base question today. We need to address – the need of the hour – am I skilled enough to be ready for the future. Is coding the new mantra today and how early do we need to start?

Several studies* highlight that starting young, i.e. coding in school not only improves measurably children’s ability to solve (computational) problems, but it may also show transfer effects on important executive functions such as planning and response inhibition and coding is increasingly becoming part of the K12 school curriculum worldwide. 

If the last decade was about tech intensity and tech innovation, this decade will be of technology action, finding solutions to big global problems like climate change, food shortage, and diversity & inclusion. As per a McKinsey study**, digital technologies have the potential of creating 65 million new jobs in India by 2025. Proficiency in software skills like coding and programming, data structures and algorithms  open huge career opportunities in areas that are high in demand like App Developer, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, Web Designer, Game Designer and UI/UX Designer, to name a few. Software skills are a must in today’s rapidly evolving era of work that is majorly being led by frontier technologies such as AI, ML, DevOps, IoT, and so on.  

The World Economic Forum has concluded that the top five emerging jobs in India are of software engineers, data analysts, data scientist and machine learning engineers. Students who can explore these skills early on in life will be able to discover their interests and potential much before they are even ready for the job market, and will be able to chart out better growth trajectories later on.

India has a great opportunity to become a global innovation hub. The demand-supply gap for digital talent is expected to increase over 3.5x by 2026, in the 1.4 million-1.8 million range, as per a study by industry apex body NASSCOM. Edtech platforms are thus rushing to fill the spurt in demand for software skills and coding classes, to boost computational thinking and equip students with the reigning skills of today. Coding courses include App Design with Coding, Game Design with Coding, Web Design with Coding, and so on. Even the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 promotes coding and AI in schools. At the workplace, HR heads encourage continual skilling activities among the workforce to foster new ideas, creative thinking and  innovation. As digital seeps into all sectors, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) studies, coding, and AI (artificial intelligence) present hugely compelling opportunities for young workers. 

According to the studies conducted at MIT, programming knowledge helps in cognitive development. A good programmer thinks logically, breaking down a large problem into smaller pieces, and thus the students get keener insights into the importance of detail analysis in any work. However, it’s important to not blindly allow students to rush to join any platform, and to do their groundwork so as to stick to STEM Accredited or other professionally-designed platforms that have global acceptance and certifications. Outcome-based courses improve focus, expand creativity, and help in uplifting morale. Computations skills are tools that empower children to make a real-world impact. Tech giants FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple Netflix and Google) are among the most popular places to work with recognized work culture, career opportunities and attractive salaries, and they are increasingly drawing from the large talent pool in India. From HealthTech to AgriTech, intelligent technology is driving everything. As AI applications increase, even a lawyer of tomorrow would be expected to understand AI-driven tools, apart from being excellent in his/her legal practice.

Early exposure to coding among students will make India the world leader in coding. While the US currently has the largest population of developers, India is set to overtake it by 2023, says Evans Data Corp, a global research organization. No wonder coding is the new buzzword in the Edtech space. Some students are also able to develop problem-solving apps, showing entrepreneurial skill at a young age. It will be such creative ideas and innovation, with sound knowledge of tech skills, that will make children Atmanirbhar and future-ready. The earlier we realign our thinking and begin with the end in mind, the better it is.