Digital-focused skills: Occupational Trends in 2021


The Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought about changes in the employment space, pointing to an urgent demand for more digital-focused skills, a cue for students to zero in on digital-related programs. 

According to Mapúa University’s Office of Admissions, students are taking stock of the rapid shift of business processes and delivery of products and services to digital. This was supported by the large volume of inquiries on and applications and reservations for digital-related programs since last year. 

Some programs that are digital in nature and have digital-related applications include computer science, computer engineering, information technology (IT), mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering, data science, technical communication, educational technology, multimedia arts, and business administration, among others. 

Mapúa president and chief executive officer Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea suggested that in assessing which academic program to pursue, learners consider important criteria. 

He explained that these criteria should ask, among others, the following questions: Is the program aligned to how industries are evolving and what will be its demand for skills now and in the near future? Now that digital skills are seen to be continuously rising and in demand, will the program provide you with the right outcomes in terms of skills and career options? Does the program have a strong reputation locally and on international grounds for digital and technology-based education? Is the program capable of providing them with opportunities to learn from global institutions and experience global practices through student exchange and international programs and on-the-job training (OJT), making you ready for the local and global talent marketplace? 

“Mapua’s outcomes-based education ensures the academic curriculum is designed to provide a promising future and successful careers for its graduates,” Dr. Vea said. 

Students who have digital-related skills have an edge in terms of finding work after they graduate especially now since the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed majority of the population and businesses to go digital. 

According to a report from LinkedIn Corp. (LinkedIn), trends across work in Southeast Asia include a significant uptick in digital services adoption as a result of the pandemic. 

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) boomed in 2020, traditional roles have evolved, and companies have found ways to connect with their target audiences in the online realm resulting in the rise in demand for digital marketers and content creators. 

Its report, entitled Jobs on the Rise in 2021, named the prominent industry workers of the era and among them are data analysts, specialized engineers, such as, mechanical and manufacturing engineers, digital content and marketing specialists, cyber security specialists and consultants, and public relations officers, apart from healthcare and medical support professions. Also noted was the emergence of two new fields in the region, namely Health Technology (HealthTech) and Educational Technology (EdTech). 

HealthTech champions healthcare services which are delivered to patients in a mode that primarily uses technological platforms and are enabled beyond hospital or physician office premises. EdTech, on the other hand, is facilitating learning using technology software and tools to improve students’ education outcomes. 

The report noted that a common and overarching trend in its occupation list is that almost all may be conducted remotely, and that workers who are equipped with even the basic digital skills will have an edge. 

With the increase in digital adaption, demand for workers with digital and tech skills will remain to be strong, some examples of which are specialized engineers, cybersecurity talent, and data analysts. 

“The emergence of these jobs is due to the need for digital services. There is a need for these professionals to help businesses and organizations to understand customers, create new products and services, establish processes for manufacturing and other operations, to continue reaching out and communicating to target markets, and to protect themselves from emerging threats,” Dr. Vea added. 

Mapúa University is a member of the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC).