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‘The pandemic brought the importance of reskilling to the fore’

Prateek Shah, an alumnus of Apeejay Noida and founder of DigitalDefynd, said adding skills and becoming digitally-oriented is critical to stay ahead of the game in a post-pandemic world.

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Founded in 2016, DigitalDefynd, is a virtual platform to help you find the best courses, certifications and tutorials online. So far it has served 2 Million plus satisfied learners. Its founder, Prateek, switched multiple jobs before becoming an entrepreneur. In an informal chat, Prateek talks about how upskilling is a must in the post-Covid world, finding your true calling, and why entrepreneurship is not everyone’s cup of tea. Edited excerpts:

What’s your biggest takeaway from school life?

I had a great time in Apeejay and learned a lot of valuable life-lessons. In fact, I am still in touch with my teachers. Whatever I am, it’s because of Apeejay. I can’t thank the school enough for cultivating humility in me. The whole atmosphere of the school was such that everyone was treated with respect and dignity. I believe I have managed to apply the values I inculcated in my school life into the real world. My message to students would be to always have a curiosity for learning new things as it’s the only way to grow and learn.

What’s the importance of upskilling?

The world is changing at a breakneck speed, and with it, the nature of work. Even if you’re highly trained and educated, the need for learning additional skills and becoming digitally-oriented, regardless of your industry, is crucial to stay ahead of the game. The recent pandemic has further brought the importance of reskilling to the fore. It has transformed everything, especially business operations. The Covid-19 crisis also provides several opportunities that professionals and young graduates can take advantage of. The government too has been proactively advocating the skilling initiatives to empower the youth of the country with skill sets which make them more employable and more productive in their work environment. Whether you read a book, opt for a paid/free course, watch YouTube videos, the bottom line is that you have to upskill. It’s the only way to improve your technical knowledge, adaptability and resilience to stay relevant in the new world order.

Tell us about the most commonly opted for upskilling courses?

In the last few years there has been a lot of focus on Data Science, Coding and Digital Marketing.

You switched multiple jobs before taking the mantle of entrepreneurship. What’s your advice to those who are not satisfied with their current job and are contemplating a career change?

Ideally you should make a career choice after thorough deliberation. However, when we start doing something is when we actually realise whether it’s good for us or not. If you feel trapped in your job, the best option is to move on to a new opportunity. There’s no point wasting time, but at the same time avoid knee jerk reactions. It’s important to feel confident that you’ll be happy in your next position. This requires having a specific idea of where you want to go and what you want to do next. Luckily, the access to technology and rise of the gig economy have made career change much easier. Talking about myself, I started my career in engineering, then I moved to banking followed by communication and PR, before founding my true calling as an entrepreneur.

Your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.  

Nowadays, it has become cool to launch your own business. However, it’s incredibly difficult to sustain a startup. According to a study, 90% of Indian startups fail within 5 years of inception. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you must know how to handle multiple failures. There’s a quote from Sylvester Stallone starrer ‘Rocky Balboa’, ‘It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’ Secondly, funding is available in abundance provided you have a sound idea. I believe our country needs more entrepreneurs to spur growth and innovation.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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