Creating content in the digital era

(Above) Instead of consuming too much content, we should try to create them.

The Internet revolution and development of digital technologies have made information more available and accessible than ever before, transforming the way we watch, listen, read, and share information.

Rather than just constantly keeping up with our social media feed or checking out the latest viral videos, we should also think about the process of generating such digital media content, especially if you’re communicating on behalf of your business or organisation.

Content creation involves producing ideas, facts, concepts, or messages for end users; in the digital age, content can be found in the form of infographics, blog posts, podcasts, videos, and other digital media.

Be it for entertainment, education, marketing, or any other reason, content creation in the digital era can come from official online media outlets such as news portals, magazines, and broadcasters, as well as the general populace, who are getting more connected worldwide through the Internet.

As content creators, the digital platform gives you the advantage of having a better understanding of who your audience is and their responses to your content in real time allow you to engage with them immediately and improve your materials based on their feedback.

If you’re running an online business, having high-quality content crafted as part of your marketing strategy not only draws customers and drives traffic, but also boosts brand recognition and increases revenue.

Building an online presence can be achieved through, among others, the design of your business website, keywords incorporated into your social media posts, or how you title your video to gain more views.

Also, in a world where many might become excessive in absorbing online content, content creation actually helps to enhance your creativity and reduce the stress from being too attached to the source of your compulsive digital consumption.

In fact, creating digital content gives you the opportunity to express and share your perspective on issues that mean something to you, as well as learn different viewpoints from others, thereby building connections with them.

Some common factors to take into account when producing successful content include your target audience, the genre of the material you’re creating, and the medium in which you intend to present your content.

What matters most, however, is the purpose, quality, and value of your content; at the same time the content needs to be produced responsibly for long-term relationships instead of short-term popularity.

Improving your content creation skills requires continuous experimentation and consistency in crafting your materials. With time and effort, you’ll be able to find your unique voice as a content creator.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2qQZM2F

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Common misconceptions about a tech career

There are a lot of mistaken beliefs surrounding working in the field of technology. This has made some youths reluctant to venture into careers in tech.

To help you better understand jobs in the tech industry, this week’s column will debunk some of the common misconceptions that you might often hear about tech careers.

Misconception 1: It’s all about math, science and coding 

Unless you specialise in data analysis or cyber security, you do not need to excel in math, science and coding, as there are plenty of jobs in the tech field that do not directly involve the application and development of technologies.

Among jobs in the tech sector that do not require you to be a programming genius include graphic designer, project manager, system administrator and technical writer.

Instead, these jobs require you to have ‘soft skills’ such as good communication skills and organisational skills.

Misconception 2: Tech is not a field for women

While it is true that the tech industry is predominantly dominated by male workers, more and more women are beginning to pursue careers in the industry.

This is probably due to the waning myth that women are not as good as men in math and technology, as equal opportunities have enabled more women to be represented in the field.

In fact, today’s tech field is made up of a diverse group of individuals with different sets of skills and specialities.

And with access to the right technology, education and opportunities, women can challenge that perception by showing what they can do in the field.

Misconception 3: There is no creativity in the tech field

Strangely many people assume that working in this field requires no creativity. In reality, however, creativity is needed for a successful career as the industry requires workers to have creative ways of solving problems as well as creating new products and applications.

Misconception 4: You will work in a tech company

When pursuing a tech career, you might think that you need to work in tech companies to be relevant. However, technology has created vast opportunities in plenty of other fields such as business, sports, fashion, medicine and art.

As more companies begin to rely on different technologies, you might find that there are numerous opportunities to work in various fields by focusing on the technological aspects.

In the age of technology, the tech sector is booming and there are plenty of opportunities for youths to grab and explore. As the fourth industrial revolution continues to expand, demand from companies seeking employees with various sets of skills will continue to soar.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

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Get ready for artificial intelligence

In movies, artificial intelligence (AI) is usually portrayed in a bad light; depicted as human-like machines taking over the world and ultimately controlling human lives, such as in the ‘Terminator’ movies.

However, these days, AI, which is the ability of digital computers to perform tasks commonly associated with human intelligence, has become not just a hot topic of conversation but has also started to play a bigger role in our lives.

You may or may not realise it, but the present generation has been exposed to applications of AI, most popularly in Apple’s ‘intelligent personal assistant’ Siri, and even on websites such as Amazon.com, which uses transactional AI, and on Netflix, which employs sophisticated predictive technology.

While machines may not be taking over the world just yet, demand for AI continues to increase as it cuts across almost all fields and industries including finance, biotech, healthcare, and education.

As great as AI is, there have been long-term debates on how it could potentially take jobs away in the future.

In 10 to 20 years, jobs involving routine tasks such as cashiers, manufacturing workers, and accountants, might be in danger of being replaced by automation.

But, while that is happening, the revolution of AI will also create new job opportunities.

According to the research firm Gartner, the adoption of AI technology could wipe out 1.8 million jobs, but on the other hand it could also create 2.3 million jobs by 2020.

With AI displacing more and more jobs, work is shifting more towards creativity, entrepreneurism, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence.

Within the present education system, some of our students are already exposed to new skill sets such as programming, which will help prepare them for the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ that is just beginning.

Apart from exploring the necessary knowledge and skills such as programming languages, those of you interested in pursuing careers in fields related to AI should also be familiar with all the industry trends in the usage of this technology.

And as AI technology becomes more pervasive, you might also find it helpful that there are a handful of degree courses available in this field that can prepare you for future job and career opportunities such as data scientists, research analysts, software developers, and computer engineers.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2IefFq3

 

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How to ensure that you are digitally literate

As citizens of a world that is increasingly influenced by technology and the Internet, it is very important for us to be ‘digitally literate’.

The definition of ‘digital literacy’ has changed with the evolution of technology; at present, it refers to our competence to find, evaluate, share, communicate, and create content digitally in an ethical manner.

Compared to digital skills that focus on technical usage, digital literacy looks at our navigation through numerous forms of digital media, whether offline or online via our computers or mobile devices.

For instance, conducting an online search or posting on social media sites are digital skills, while our ability to search effectively or use social media carefully (such as authenticating which information is real or fake) is part of digital literacy.

A digitally literate person is highly aware of the aspects of digital media and information, and is responsible in using technology when interacting with others.

This means having skills relevant to the digital age such as critical thinking, communication and information management, and in the global environment, having a great understanding of different cultures, languages, and communication approaches.

With the advent of digital economy, more businesses and public services are going online, while technological productivity and innovation across industries have become key factors in a country’s economic growth.

Thus, beyond technological skills, a digitally literate workforce is capable of adapting and thriving in various digital environments, and creating meaningful content through collaborations.

In fact, more jobs require high ICT competencies, and several studies suggest that talents with a strong foundation in digital literacy are more employable in the labour market.

The demand for digitally literate workers is perhaps the reason why many digital literacy discussions focus on early exposure through education, for today’s generation of children and youths are digital natives, who are already familiar with digital technology from an early age.

Parents and teachers are encouraged to teach them crucial digital literacy skills such as online privacy and protection, effective online research, and appropriate online behaviour.

Still, it is never too late for you to improve your digital literacy; regardless of age, having digital literacy not only supports your academic and career endeavours, but also your participation in the society at large.

Therefore, you need to be comfortable with being in the digital landscape and understand the value of using digital platforms to improve your confidence and fluency in digital literacy.

You also need to practise and hone your skills in using these platforms constantly, and commit to becoming a lifelong learner of digital technology so that you are prepared for the next digital technological evolution.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2G6h70S

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels.

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Are you 3D printing yet?

(Above) A 3D printer on display at the Anybook Oxford Libraries Conference in 2015. Image Source: Karen Blakeman @ Flickr.

Perhaps 30 years ago, three dimensional (3D) printing seemed to be a thing that would only appear in science fiction movies.

These days however, 3D printing has been gaining momentum globally and in Sarawak it has been made available to a wider audience through TEGAS Digital Innovation Hub and the Digital Economy Hub (DEH) for commercial uses.

For those who want to learn more about the process, there are various websites that offer online courses on 3D printing to create digital designs and turn them into physical objects.

In line with Sarawak’s vision of developing a digital economy, 3D printing could be a good platform to promote innovation and creativity, especially among youths.

Essentially, 3D printing is achieved through a method known as additive printing; it is an interesting piece of innovation that works by ‘printing’ objects using materials such as rubber or metal instead of ink.

It is a process of making three-dimensional objects from digital image by adding successive layers of materials until the final object is created.

According to some reports, the potential for 3D printing is highest in the automotive and aerospace industries for product development and prototyping.

Although popular with the big companies in those industries, some might wonder how it’s going to be relevant for everyday use by the masses.

Actually, the potential uses of 3D printing are endless, as it has now managed to infiltrate almost every industry at some capacity such as arts and design, manufacturing, education and research.

For instance, in the healthcare sector, 3D printing provides a platform for emerging research areas including muscle and organ printing.

Besides commercial industries, 3D printing is now paving its way towards education as some educators found that 3D printing to be an engaging and interactive tool among their students.

This ability to produce objects in 3D form is revolutionising the way people learn and even teach.

For instance, 3D printers can be used in geography courses to print out maps showing the topography of an area.

Apart from that, engineering and design students could create 3D versions of their prototypes, while medical science students might find learning to be more interesting when they can study cross sections of internal organs or molecules by using 3D models.

Globally, there is a tremendous increase in the number of people using 3D printing and as such it would be a valuable skill to be familiar with, regardless of what field you decide to enter in the future.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, published in the print version on Saturday, March 17, 2018.

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Debunking the myths of STEM

(Above) A creative field like filmmaking can be as technical as it can be artistic, hence the need for STEM skills. This is a behind-the-scenes look at 2013’s Man of Steel (dir. Zack Snyder), which you can check it out in this source link.

By now, you’ve most likely heard of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – which continues to change the world through scientific and technological advancements.

In fact, Sarawak has been taking necessary steps to develop and strengthen STEM culture through education and community engagement in order to build a STEM-driven workforce as part of its digital economic transformation.

However, while consisting of careers that can guarantee success for both men and  women, there are still misconceptions regarding STEM. As you will find out below, these myths are no longer relevant with current realities:

Myth 1: STEM is a serious field

Most of the time, STEM is considered serious and is associated with indoor  laboratory research, microscopes, gadgets or electronic circuits.

In truth, it can actually be fun because you have the opportunity to perform experiments and possibly discover something new out of your research, whether in an actual laboratory or out in the field.

Plus, today’s STEM isn’t limited to agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing, instead it can be found in game development, cosmetics and even sports. Suffice to say, you have a wide range of career paths to choose from when it comes to STEM.

Myth 2: There is no creativity in STEM

When you conduct experiments, you need to find ways to tackle them, which means your problem-solving abilities depend on how creative and innovative you can get.

Studying and working in STEM-related fields also enable you to develop your soft skills, be it working with others, thinking critically, making decisions or learning from your failures.

Myth 3: A STEM job requires a degree

Some of today’s STEM jobs such as graphic designers,  mobile application developers, and technicians don’t necessarily require attending a three- to four-year university degree programme.

Instead, you can learn and master the needed skills through online courses or STEM-based programmes at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, which can be completed for less than two years.

Myth 4: STEM is only for scientists and engineers

As mentioned earlier, today’s STEM offers many career paths in a number of industries due to its basic principles and skills that can be applicable to various fields.

Given that Industry 4.0 is upon us, the demand for STEM talents is high, even in fields that are supposedly unrelated to STEM, including education, finance and media. Thus, you need to build on your STEM literacy so that you are capable of approaching a problem logically.

Ultimately, you need to have the interest, be willing to adapt and constantly stay up-to-date with the latest scientific and technological news and research to thrive in and contribute to your community through STEM.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2DjYBMk

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How students can cope with stress

While most consider their university years the best time of their lives, the stress can be overwhelming as students constantly worry about meeting deadlines and taking the next step after graduating.

Excessive and unmanageable stress can be damaging to one’s health because it affects both mental and physical wellbeing.

According to Malaysian Psychiatric Association president Prof Dr Nor Zuraida Zainal, due to increased stress, depression will be a major illness among Malaysians by 2020.

As students, stress from studying and the pressure to perform well may not be easy to avoid, but it should not get the best of you. Here are a few simple tips that can help you to overcome stress.

Be good to yourself

Stress can be manifested in many ways, particularly in physical and emotional forms. So, it is important for you to take good care of your body and mental state.

This may include getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising regularly and not taking unnatural energy boosters.

Being good to yourself also means knowing your limits and not overwhelming yourself with too much work.

Stay positive

In negative situations, staying positive can definitely help you to overcome your struggles.

Positive thinking does not mean that you should avoid confronting the less pleasant situations that you are in. It just means that you should approach them optimistically instead.

When feeling stressed, do avoid solitude for it may lead to you feeling more stressed and depressed. Instead, surround yourself with the company of supportive friends and family who know you well.

Be organised

For students, stress normally results from overflowing work and assignments, thus it is important that students learn how to prioritise and be organised.

By learning how to prioritise, you will learn how to balance your time between study and fun because being organised will make your life easier and more efficient.

You should also avoid procrastination as this is one of the major contributors to stress.

Create a stress outlet

When you feel stressed, it is okay to take a break once in a while to unwind.

And since we all react differently to stress, we have different ways to destress.

A stress outlet is created to relieve stress as it allows you to do things you enjoy. Examples include listening to music, dancing, outdoor activities, do-it-yourself projects and even meditating.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2H18Ebj

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Understanding emotional intelligence

In the World Economic Forum (WEF) report ‘The Future of Jobs’, emotional intelligence was listed as one of the most important job skills that employees must possess to become competitive in the global digital economy.

A term that was popularised in the 1990s, emotional intelligence can be described as our ability to discern, comprehend, and manage our own emotions as well as that of others, and then apply this emotional information accordingly.

For instance, emotionally intelligent individuals are capable of handling their own emotions when under duress, or resolving conflicts among subordinates in a group project.

Emotional intelligence, according to American psychologist Daniel Goleman, comprised of five key characteristics: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Self-awareness requires us to be insightful of our own emotions, strengths and weaknesses; whereas self-regulation involves having control of our emotions and impulses; and motivation drives us to initiate and commit to our long-term achievements internally.

Empathy allows us to identify, interpret and understand the feelings of others, including their needs, wants and points-of-view, while social skills enable us to engage, establish and maintain relationships with them.

Although technical skills such as coding and big data analytics are vital in the digital economy, surveys have shown that many employers tend to hire candidates who are emotionally intelligent.

This is due to the candidates’ capability to handle stress, collaborate with others, be receptive to feedback, make better decisions, and other emotional intelligence related skills, which are necessary for an organisation to succeed.

For ourselves, having a high emotional intelligence empowers us in our studies or career and a fulfilling life simultaneously; maintains our physical and mental wellbeing; and ensures strong relationships with people professionally and personally.

Learning and developing our emotional intelligence can take place any time, given that we are bound to face challenges that confront our own beliefs or our social connections with other people.

Thus, we should treat these challenges as learning opportunities rather than threats, because they allow us to build the discipline and patience to approach challenges proactively.

When there isn’t any conflict, we can widen our perspectives on ideas, concepts and cultures by travelling to places where we can encounter people of different values, or by exposing ourselves to various artistic media such as films, books, photography, and architecture.

We can also assess ourselves on a regular basis by keeping a journal, talking to people who understand us better, or taking self-assessment tests that are available online.

Do remember that developing greater emotional intelligence involves frequent practice and being comfortable with yourself as an individual, but in time you’ll accomplish wonders with those around you and especially within yourself.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2F7lCax

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Healthy eating habits for students

(Above) Always make time for breakfast, which can be as simple as a bowl of cereal with milk.

Between assignments, final exams and maintaining a social life, if you’re a student, healthy eating probably may not be high on your list of priorities.

However, you should realise that poor eating habits at this period of your life – as you transition into independent university life – could cause problems further down the road.

Your unhealthy eating habits could eventually lead to insufficient nutrients in your diet, cause fatigue, and even result in problems in learning.

In Malaysia, hypertension, diabetes and heart problems are among the non-communicable diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles. So, if you thought that skipping meals and eating way too much junk food has no effect on you, think again!

Adopting healthy eating practices does not have to be painfully boring and by just following these few simple tips, you might just be on the right track.

Never skip breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it helps improve concentration and performance during lectures. And while it might be tempting to skip breakfast because you are in a rush, it is not wise to do so.

A study conducted by Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) indicated that those who skipped breakfast show low physical activity level. So, if you do find yourself facing a busy day, just make sure to a have a hardy, healthy breakfast.

Plan your meals

Apart from the health benefits of planning your meals, making your own packed lunch every day will likely be more cost-friendly than grabbing something during your lunch break.

When planning your meal, try to base it around simple things that are healthy, within your budget, and are also easy to prepare.

Smart snacking

It’s normal for students to be snacking in between lessons and study sessions because the brain needs glucose or energy to function. However, this may not be an easy thing to do, as most students would prefer unhealthy snacks.

Instead of having instant noodles or chips, why not opt for healthier alternatives including fruits such as papayas and bananas, fresh vegetables, wholesome grains, milk and soy drinks for a memory boost.

Also, consuming dark chocolate before a test or a study session has been claimed to help relax the brain as studies showed that it helped to reduce blood pressure and promote blood flow to the brain.

Drink plenty of fluids

According to a study by researchers from the University of East London, consuming water has physiological effects on the cognitive performance of students. Basically, that means ‘drink more water, get better results’.

The study highlighted that drinking water before exams helped alleviate anxiety (while those who were thirsty during exams were more easily distracted) thus allowing them to concentrate more and perform.

That being said, carrying a bottle of water seems handy, especially during late night study sessions.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2EV3wG4

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How to discover your passion

‘Do what you’re passionate about’ is perhaps one of the most common pieces of advice people give when it comes to studies and careers, but what if you have no idea what you’re truly interested in?

For those of you who are studying or working in fields that generally guarantee financial stability, finding the ‘ultimate’ passion may sound farfetched, perhaps because the interests you wish to pursue may not provide a good income, or maybe the effort in doing the discovery is time-consuming.

Still, doing something that involves tasks, skills or subject matters that interest you will make your studies or career a lot more enjoyable.

If you want to search for your passion, but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to guide you through:

Find time for yourself

Your first step in finding your passion is to take a step back and reflect on any clues that you otherwise wouldn’t notice when you’re too preoccupied with your routine.

Breaking away from your daily grind for new experiences can also be a good opportunity to gain or enhance essential life skills, such as creative thinking, decision-making, and resilience.

Build self-awareness

Having time for yourself allows you to do some self-assessment, which means becoming more aware of your interests.

You can do so by recalling childhood or current hobbies that you feel you should take more seriously, listing down tasks you like and dislike, or simply asking yourself whether there are any activities you’ve seen or done that actually fire you up.

Another way of building self-awareness is taking an interest assessment, particularly the comprehensive kind where your assessment results can provide you a list of career options that match your interests.

Meet people with the passion

If there are several fields you want to explore, consider speaking to those who are already working in those areas.

Aside from networking possibilities, meeting experienced individuals allows you to have a better understanding of these fields, be it their day-to-day activities, prerequisites of entering the industry, or expectations of the job.

If the opportunity arises, gain some experience in that particular field before fully committing to it, and if you’re a student you could do this by working part-time or doing an internship or apprenticeship.

Keep trying

Above all, until you’ve found your passion, keep experimenting with various kinds of activities, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone.

The more successes you gain from certain accomplishments, the greater your chances of narrowing down your selection of interests.

Most importantly, don’t rush when searching for your passion, because your journey in finding it is a greater learning experience than your destination.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This article first appeared on The Borneo Post, visit this link: http://bit.ly/2E3W91J

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