“How to Become A Competitive Person” – Advice from ALPHA Camp and UIP of CYCU
Is Taiwan ready for a new market that requires more job positions to provide a more innovative service, product or even business model in the competitive market? The form “Nurturing Top Talents in the New Era” invited the founder of ALPHA Camp, Bernard Chen and the deputy CEO of UIP of CYCU, Wang Shih-Ming, to share their perspectives on Taiwan’s current challenges on industrial’s transitions.
“In ALPHA Camp, we provide entrepreneurs with three essential knowledge: programming, mobile app, and marketing skills,” Bernard said. “We definitely hope that ALPHA Camp will become a real school to be able to educate more entrepreneurs.”
More Practical and Professional Skills Are Needed in the Industry
Bernard was born in Hong Kong and studied in Canada since middle school. He was that kinds of kids who would took machine to pieces and assemble together himself and it was why he chose electrical engineering as his major in college. “I always love schools, and especially enjoyed the environment of schools.” Bernard earned double degree within five years and after graduation, he spent two years working in the industry. Knowing that he did not like the culture of big enterprises, Bernard chose to work in IC Design department in a startup and immediately understood the oddness of the flow of talent.
“I realized that in the current market, being an engineer is not valuable as people expect. What I own right now is that I am still young and able to learn faster in this age.”
After working in five different companies, earning an MBA and starting his own company, Bernard realized that he is interested in education. Everything is changing, he said, and it only gets faster. What we learned in schools are all essential knowledge, but once entering into the industry, we need more professional skills to face more practical challenges. ALPHA Camp thus aims to become a role to connect schools with the industry. “’Software is eating the world.’ I am not exaggerating. However, people are not following up the trend yet. After five years, the positions for software related professionals will be needed far more than others. ALPHA Camp’s mission is to bring people to new economy,” Bernard said.
Can Education Be Unbundled Too?
“Great startups unbundle functions done by others.” – Chris Dixon.
Bernard mentioned a term – unbundle, in the forum. In the past, many companies intended to do everything, including manufacturing products and providing services; but today the new direction leads us to unbundle functions to focus on a specific function once at a time. “For example, newspaper is a dying industry because its functions are unbundled into more narrow and better services by more specialized companies such as Google, Craiglist, Ebay, Twitter and Facebook. They provide information, delivery, advertisement, branding, and specialize different functions that receive a better feedback from users,” Bernard said.
Can education be unbundled too? We now can learn from Coursera and Udacity. GitHub teaches programming. The Starter League trained your professional skills. Furthermore, we can take a complete and well-designed exam through Codility and HackerRank. “For some people, the most important thing learned at school is social experiences. We can also build our social relationship via Facebook or LinkedIn. Therefore, we need to reevaluate a school’s value,” Bernard said.
“This world is able to operate because of the differences among people, but the education system asks everyone to be the same.”
In the middle of the talk, Bernard asked “what is education supposed to be?” “We are living in an operative world because everyone plays different role in our professionals, but the current education system somehow requires everyone to receive the same education,” Bernard continued. “our value is different from the previous generation, but the education system surprisingly does not change at all. This is why problems and conflicts appear in this era.”
He gave an example in the talk: Information are easily to be found due to Google search engine and the Internet, but some people still could not find the answer with Google. Therefore, the key is this person’s ability to solve problems and his logical thinking. In the future, technology and data are two of the most trends in education.
“Every will be able to find his interests or ways to learn through technology. For example, Facebook’s algorithm can adjust each user’s newsfeed by his preference. Therefore, my vision of building a school is to allow everyone to have a personalized learning program!” Bernard said.
To Know What You Need to Improve Yourself
“As an educator, I observed an interesting fact at school: It is not uncommon that students copy assignments from each other. One of our course “Service lessons”, requires students to help Taiwanese aborigines market peaches planted by them. Students, despite earning no credit in this class, are all willing to spent time completing their missions independently because they think doing this is meaningful.”
The second speaker, Wang Shih-Ming, director of UIP in CYCU, has 15-years experiences in incubating talented people. UIP in CYCU recently also took a project “TYC-Campus” from TYC. He at first shared current global situations. “Each country has its own policy. For example, United States is trying to focus back to the manufacturing industry. Startups create job opportunities, and the U.S. government tries to expand the effect of cooperation of industry and academic to satisfy the industry’s needs,” Wang said. “U.K. focuses on nurturing people with specific skills. Germany emphasizes technical and vocation education, believing that owing one professional skill (Facharbeiter) is the key to stay competitive. Korea invests in educating software and information people.”
Wang echoed what Bernard said regarding college education: what important in class is how it presents to students, and how much students take from class.
According to 1111 Job Bank, one of the famous job hunting websites in Taiwan, the top three industry in the job market is software technology, manufacturing and business. The most popular positions are management, R&D, manufacturing, and statistics, which seems to follow the trend of Industry 4.0 and IoTs. However, currently, Taiwan’s government seems to focus on providing resources for startups. Even though 76% of people in Taiwan are interested in starting their own business, only 2% of them are actually doing this. The other 19% are still looking for sponsors or resources, and 55% of them have not made a move yet.
“In my opinion, being innovative does not only mean being an entrepreneur is the only option. Many companies need those creative people to assist the growth of the enterprise,” Wang said. “To be an entrepreneur is not the only choice to enter into the industry. I know young people are adventurous and passionate, but you have to know what you need to improve yourself. No one can help you with that.”
Being Willing to Learn, and to Get Motivated
“Young people have to fully know their motivation to start up a business. My first startup experiences started with an app development. At first, this is a new fresh experiences for me. After an 8-months journey in developing his app, however, I got very tired of doing this,” Bernard added. “’Interest’ can not be the only motivation for you to start a business. You have to have stronger purpose to push you, which is how I felt when I started ALPHA Camp. I still have to face unpredictable challenges, and I am still get tired, but despite all these, I am willing and happy to do what I am doing with a sense of mission.”