The rapid development of distance learning, broad computer literacy programs, information security awareness, and the import substitution policy were the main trends during the 2010s. How has a decade of IT reform and innovation influenced the market for continuing education?
MOOC: Education for everyone
The opportunity to study online was a major breakthrough in the beginning of the 2010s, when MOOC (massive open online courses) both became an alternative and complemented classical education. The trend transformed training at all levels, from school to university and continuing education, providing a breath-taking scope of new opportunities for participants in the market.
In 2013, Russia entered the top five countries in terms of the number of students using the global MOOC resources. The format also had high social significance because it reduced the influence of economic and geographical inequality, giving people with low incomes and residents of remote regions access to the best educational content. It also helped involve people with disabilities, the elderly, and the unemployed in the educational process. Distance learning became the main resource for advanced training and retraining.
By the middle of the decade, growth on the continuing education market was mostly enabled by software development languages, mobile apps development and project management in software development, professional retraining and advanced training in information security, and advanced training of state and municipal employees.
A focus on the civil service
The civil service members were targeted by numerous continuing education programs. Educational centers responded flexibly to the needs of the time. Our company also implemented a number of large state projects such as Advanced Training of Employees of General Jurisdiction Courts and the Judicial Department under the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and Training and Methodology Support for Russian Teachers in Using E-Learning Resources, and trained more than 70,000 education professionals. We also offered entrepreneurship training programs and trained more than 2,000 representatives of small and medium-sized businesses in the basics of entrepreneurship and business planning, e-commerce, tax accounting, as well as other continuing education programs.
Another trend is studying with the help of freely distributed technologies adapted and localized for Russia. One example is our courses on PostgreSQL, a program that serves as import substitution for database software. To teach these courses, our training center obtained authorization of the software developer, Postgres Professional.
Jobs of the future
Years 2016 and 2017 became a qualitatively new stage for the continuing education market in Russia. Educational institutions started implementing the business strategy guided by digital transformation trends for a period of up until 2020. Maintaining succession with the previous development stages, the Digital Transformation strategy focuses on providing the market with modern study programs with an eye on jobs of the future, thus positioning the company as a factory of digitally competent workforce and an international center of competences for solving clients’ tasks, competences that adapt to the reality of digital transformation.
As part of the Digital Transformation strategy, in 2017 the company started developing programs on occupations of the future and launched such courses as Data Science, Business Intelligence, IoT, professional development courses such as Chief Data Officer (CDO), Chief Digital Transformation Officer (CDTO) and others.
Trends in professional development
Information security for all. The number of organizations affected by cyberattacks is steadily growing. Academy IT experts stress that an average middle-level employee has little knowledge of information security and, therefore, becomes a source of confidential data for hackers. For several years now, analytical reports investigating confidential data leaks have identified an internal violator – an employee – as a person responsible for leaks in over 50% of cases.
Experience shows that protecting information cannot be efficient if it is only based on formal technical and organizational solutions. Lack of necessary knowledge, misunderstanding, inability or reluctance to follow rules and regulations is only a small part of the problems that almost every company faces. This is exactly why all employees without exception must be up to date on information security. It is only the workers who are trained and informed about rules of conduct in various situations and who understand the importance of following these rules that are capable of ensuring the security of the company’s information assets. Naturally, it is expected that the corporate demand for programs teaching information security skills will increase as these programs will engage staff and motivate them to use obtained knowledge in their day-to-day work.
Project management. This skill is important to almost all experts that take part in projects. In addition, the introduction of project management in the government bodies all over the country requires additional training of personnel. The use of a new, more contemporary kind of management activity can bring a noticeable economic effect and improve the quality and operational efficiency of work, investment attractiveness of the regions, make government agencies more transparent and form a favorable management environment.
Retraining and additional training for people aged over 45. The consequences of the demographic crisis of the 1990s are obvious for the personnel pool of the country. The active employable population is the younger generation born in the demographic pitfall, the smallest in numbers since the war. There has already been lack of young personnel aged 23-30. According to the forecast made by the Institute of Research and Social Expertise, Russia will be facing a serious reduction in the able-bodied population: it will lose 7-9 mio people by 2020 and over 26 mio people by 2050. The age structure of the economically active population will age, which will require a new approach to education and a new system of continuous education aimed at retraining.
Our experts, EdTech developers and initiators of numerous educations initiatives, believe that the development of education for adults will require convenient education technologies, as well as in-demand areas of expertise. In fact, the market lacks experts in information security. Almost all companies, including state ones, are transitioning to project management and need skilled staff. Financial experts, accountants, managers and many other experts who work with data and reports can build their further career as analysts and need analysis and data visualization skills. These are the market demands that should be taken into account when developing education programs for people of the preretirement age. The new digital economy needs skilled professionals. There is no doubt that people aged over 45 have potential, and it is important to develop it in accordance with the current market environment and demand.
By Anna Vodolazskaya, Director of Marketing, IT Academy Russia