The final session of the 2-day conclave included Viswanadham Bendapudi, Ravi PodilaCapt. Ravi Raman and Capt. Ulhas Bodhankar as the speakers with Dheya’s Cdr (Retd) Naveen Badrinarayan and Anand Desai as the moderators. The topic for discussion was careers that would be relevant post COVID. 

The speakers were introduced. The panel discussion began with Cdr Naveen putting forth the question- what new opportunities should we look forward to post COVID?  

Mr. Vishwanandham commented that due to the pandemic, there is a shift of investment from China to India. This shift will prove to be beneficial to all industries and demand a skilled wokforce in the future. This would require changes in education in order to equip the younger generation with good problemsolving skills to succeed in work life. 

The next question that was taken up for discussion was – what would be the best industries after lockdown? 

To which Capt Bodhankar replied that we should learn to live and work with COVID rather than wating for life and work post COVID. He gave an example of companies such as Google and Amazon that have implemented work-from-home until 2021. He also stated that 32% companies have employed part-timers/ freelancers. Industries have decided to change the work models to digitization and automation, increasing career demands in IT industry.  Therefore, technology industry has been and will be dealing with a surge in demand.  

The 007 / VUCA model was also discussed. The eminent panelists agreed that innovation, adaptability, constant improvement with the help of online courses have become a necessity to ride this wave of change and uncertainty. 

It was also stated that knowledge-based careers may be replaced by skill-based careers, as there is a growing need for a skilled workforce that can tackle problems with innovative solutions.  

This discussion was followed by an overview of what would become of IT as a career option. The answer was that IT will continue to be in high demand as the pandemic demands more reliance on technology. 

Mr. Ravi Podilla commented that COVID has impacted behaviour to a great degree. Efficient, innovative, change-oriented people are necessary.  Leadership qualities play an important role. Performance has become very important.  

Along with IT liberal arts students will also have great opportunities as there is an increase in companies hiring them to increase creativity and problem-solving at the workplace. 

It was stated that for the student generation hoping to have a successful career with or pos COVID, building a reputation along with education has become essential. Developing oneself with extra-curricular activities and knowledge is key.   

The discussion turned towards effect of COVID on economy, to which Capt. Bodhankar replied that there is a huge surplus in working population in India. It has created opportunity for students to become skillful and creative. Cost-effective and original ideas have become priority. Students should keep looking for and learning new technologies 

Mr. Ravi Raman commented that COVID will be over soon and life will be back to normal. Focus would be more on health, hygiene, facilities, safety. White collar jobs would increase, with a reduction in blue collar jobs due to automation. 

Mr. Vishwanadham commented that India has a huge employable population. His advice for the students was to create a world for yourself, rather than waiting for someone to change the world. Define the problem, solve the problem.  Be a path-breaker rather than a follower.  

When asked about the prospects for non-tech industries, Capt. Bodhankar stated that Knowledge of IT is required in every industry. Along with that HR, health industry, e-commerce, e-learning, sales and marketing, entertainment, BFSI will be in high demand in future. 

Mr. Vishwanandham, when taking about government jobs, informed that COVID has redefined governance, making civil service a critical area. Capable leaders are needed more than ever. Therefore, government jobs are a great career option for students.   

Then the panelists were asked to give advice to teenagers for living with COVID. 

Mr. Vishwanandham spoke about reinforcing ambition. He said that teenage is the age where students start to discover their ambition. Team-work by parents, teacher/ guides and students is necessary to fuel that ambition. 

 Capt. Bodhankar emphasized the importance of alignment with passion.  

When asked about entrepreneurs, Mr. Vishwanandham replied that entrepreneurship is a responsibility and entrepreneurs should always focus on the journey. 

Capt. Bodhankar, along with offering a solution to acquire prototype lab and grant, stated that one should become an entrepreneur to solve a problem. Having a cause makes the job more meaningful. 

The discussion shifted to studying abroad with COVIDCapt. Raman assured that many institutes have facilities such as online courses, and are taking necessary precautions to ensure safety of the students. Therefore, parents and students should consider going abroad for education and not let COVID get in the way of a child’s career. 

Cdr Naveen Badrinarayan, in his concluding remarks, expressed gratitude towards the panelists for joining the panel discussion and sharing their insights. He assured parents and students that Dheya is equipped to help parents and students tackle their anxieties regarding careers and COVID.