Coding won't become a mandatory skill in the future and most roles still won't revolve around it but that doesn't mean the job market doesn't need to be rethought, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai wrote Thursday as part of an essay published by NBC News. The 45-year-old acknowledged the effect of the technological advancements on employment but suggested the aggressive focus on computer sciences exhibited by digital skills-related educational initiatives over the last decade also isn't a long-term solution. Many jobs won't require people to know how to code or even expect them to have any knowledge of it but "soft" digital skills will certainly grow in demand, Mr. Pichai predicted.
The executive also indicated the focus on extremely young students isn't the way to move forward as it's rooted in a concept that's now largely becoming obsolete – that job skills are learned once and good for life. Instead, educators should be looking to help people of all ages as workers of the future will be expected to evolve alongside their roles, many of which are likely to change much more frequently than most current jobs. A career-long education is the only viable option going forward and one that needs to be organized on a global level as soon as possible, Google CEO believes. Mr. Pichai was quick to point out that his vision doesn't involve people attending multiple universities throughout their career but simply being enrolled in "lightweight" training on a consistent basis during their employment. Only by doing so will everyone always be able to find opportunities in the quickly shifting job market of the future, the executive suggested.
Even the existing labor market isn't sufficiently adjusted to the current technology as there are no clearly defined paths to roles in fields such as IT support, nor are there lightweight programs meant to prepare people for such positions regardless of their (lack of) degrees, Mr. Pichai wrote. The IT certificate program Google launched in partnership with Coursera earlier this week is meant to be one of the company's first steps toward the kind of flexible job market and education opportunities its CEO is envisioning, with more similar initiatives now being promised to follow. Ultimately, Mr. Pichai says competent parties should do everything they can to make sure all roles of the future are "good jobs" and that education isn't an entry point into earning a living but a career-long constant.