The Education and Jobs Formula

Greetings.  Globally one topic is generating discussions from texts to tweets to blogs to policy:  jobs.  In a world were job and careers are going through a transition in many industries at once jobs are on the mind of students, employers and government leaders.  This month’s update will focus on new terms, professions, researched opinions, skill building tools and other assets to help guide students through this discussion.

Let’s start this update with the definition of students.  Students are defined differently then how students have traditionally been defined in the past.  Students today includes those in  Kindergarten  – 12th grade  (or Kindergarten through high schools plus a two year degree), community colleges, technical colleges, universities, code schools, colleges, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), continuous learning programs and other education and training options being developed and delivered daily.

Certifications and badges have become the norm for professionals and those new to a field to up-skill or re-skill for new job or promotion opportunities.  In light of the need for so many new roles to be filled in today’s job market new terminology is becoming the norm to define this whole new model.  MOOC’s, MOLE’s, Badges and New Collar are some of the terms that we will explore.  With the path before us, let’s begin….

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty “New Collar Jobs”


The CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty in drafting an open letter to the United States President Elect coined the term “New Collar”.   This described jobs not necessarily requiring a four year degree but the job requires specialized training and volumes of students in the market to deliver against market demand.

Jobs of the Future by Jim Spohrer

Jim Spohrer posted a great article on the Service Science Community Site for Educators and Researchers.   With so much discussion on the job markets, Jim has compiled a summary of observations of  jobs to potentially be added along insights on roles that will involving dismantling programs making for an interesting read.   In addition to the summary on new job roles, he provide content around roles to look forward to in 2030 and Beyond.


He references  his own predictions from a cognitive computing paper he collaborated on recently.  Jim shared the entire contents on slideshare for you to be able to easily incorporate into your own projects.  Out of his efforts, the below summary provides incremental 10 year milestones over a 40 year period of how cognitive computing could influence how we work

Academic Initiative OnTheHub

As we look a the 10 year progression of how cognitive may change work over the next 40 years, in Jim’s predictions for the future one way for students to begin preparing for this journey today is for them to begin to integrate cognitive computing into how they look at solving problems.  IBM’s focus early in cancer research shows cognitive computing can be applied to areas previously considered so dynamic that programmable technology was ill-equipped adjust based on the number and volumes of variables whereas cognitive computing thrives when a programmable result is too limiting.

To help faculty and student’s leverage IBM’s Watson cognitive computing today and where it has the potential to go,  the IBM Academic Initiative program is a source for learning what this means and then engaging with the industry tools for boldly going into the next 40-50 years taking on the worlds most challenging issues.

waton-oth-pic      security-oth-piciot-oth-pic  analytics-oth-pic

The IBM Academic Initiative is the main vehicle IBM uses to provide academic access to IBM resources at no-charge to accredited academic institution faculty/staff and students for teaching and non-commercial research use.  (New programs providing a subset of access for a pilot of code-schools worldwide is also being implemented this month.)

With the IBM Bluemix Cloud Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities,  students and faculty can add in Watson Services for Trade-off Analytic, Natural Language Classifer along with Internet of Things (IOT) Platform Driver Behavior, Weather Company Data, Insights for Twitter, Application Security on the Cloud, Single Sign-on and more.   To help guide faculty through using the resources available, Educator Guides have been developed to drive the classroom discussion to excite students about the issues they can begin/expand exploring.  Below is a snapshot of some the Educator Guide from the IBM Academic Initiative OnTheHub Link for Watson Services (Learn more about IBM Watson here. ) :

Lab #4 – Personality Insights (intermediate skill level)

In this lab, you will develop a tree of cognitive and social characteristics in JSON or CSV format that will allow you to infer personality and social characteristics, including Big Five, Needs, and Values, from text.

The Personality Insights service uses linguistic analysis to extract cognitive and social characteristics from input text such as email, text messages, tweets, forum posts, and more. By deriving cognitive and social preferences, the service helps users to understand, connect to, and communicate with other people on a more personalized level.


Download: Github repository

Lab Instructions

Reference materials



Learn more: Technology

View other educator guides

Follow @IBMSkills on Twitter

IBM Skills Academy

For academic institutions wanting more structured face to face faculty training than provided in the above option,  the IBM Skills academy is the option IBM offers to provide certified instructors to training faulty on the career paths for key skills areas. These careers are listed on the above URL. Each career path follows the format of the Application Security Analyst listed below.

In addition to the example below, I encourage you to click through the skills to see the open job positions that align with those skills.   The site is designed for going all the way through to see the open jobs position and it provides the direct link to continue through the process of applying for those positions.  Here is a snapshot of one of  the career paths:


Once faculty and students complete the proficiency testing, badges are provided as credentials for faculty and students to be all to demonstrate to others they have achieved the new set of skills:


Global Economy Week Ahead: Fed and Bank of England Meetings, U.S. Jobs Report

A pickup in eurozone GDP growth for the fourth quarter is expected

In starting this update, I referenced jobs as a global discussion. The above Wall Street Journal article provides an overview of reporting expecting to be delivered this week including the Eurozone economy update,  the Bank of Japan will release a policy statement and quarterly report, the Bank of England will release it’s policy statement and inflation report and the US will release the Jobs report.  Reviewing this Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article is an excellent way to understand the impacts across the globe beyond the quick sound bites.

Skill up and out to gain the expertise you want to represent you in today’s global skills market.  Take a look at my IBM Academic Initiative Blog post if you want another quick perspective on skills 40-50 years ago and the impact it made then and now:

Education and skills are professional currency, this is not a new occurrence but the speed of the change is what is new, especially in today’s fast moving global markets.  Those are who educated for today’s in-demand skills did not get there by accident and most know the only way to remain relevant is to by having a focus around continuous learning as the way to maintain their edge.   Massive On-Line Learning Experience (MOLEs) are becoming popular since taking a class is not enough but demonstrating we have achieved a level of proficiency through experiences is what is driving the transition from massive open online courses (MOOCs) to massive on-line learning experiences (MOLEs).

Survival of the fittest means keeping one’s skills current  through on-going education and training.  The key is we all have to make sure our expertise adapts, changes and morphs as demonstrated by our credentials, into the in demand skills for tomorrow’s markets—whatever they might be.



Valinda Scarbro Kennedy


Twitter:  @vscarbro

LinkedIn:  Valinda Kennedy




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