New Skills for the 21st Century Students

Celebrating the 90th Birth anniversary of former President of India, Bharat Ratna Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the international foundation in his name had organized a virtual event. The topic was “New Skills for the 21st Century Students”, a relevant one for the times. The organizers invited me to deliver a brief address on the topic to the students from around the country who will be participating live and watching the recording in YouTube. It was a honour for me to share the virtual stage with Dr Y S Rajan, Padma Shri awardee, former Distinguished Professor at ISRO and a friend of Dr Kalam.

Before the live started, Dr Rajan shared in a chat with us on his early years at ISRO — he had travelled to the USA, USSR, Germany, France, Japan, and other countries to learn, work and partner with space agencies including NASA & CCCP. Dr Kalam and his predecessors had the vision to start the process of indigenisation with the smallest, simplest component(s) of a project even when India was buying the technology from an agency abroad; in the next iteration the scope of Made in India would be increased, one step at a time; ISRO always treated internally-made products with those from private partners and from PSU (Public Sector) at the same level, the only criteria was the quality. Hearing Dr Rajan share these nuggets about ISRO, I got curious to learn more about the agency and I plan to do it from books like ISRO: A Personal History & reread the biography on Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

In my talk (Video), I covered on what I call M.A.P. (Make Anything Possible) and four broad skill groups that are required to succeed in this century:

  1. Learn->Unlearn->Learn,
  2. Be Truly Global,
  3. Each of us must think & behave like a start-up,
  4. Every one of us should be a software programmer.

Thanks to the organizers, Dr Rajan and the hundreds of students who participated and actively asked questions.

Seen above are Dr Y S Rajan (Third from the top-left) and the other participants

Originally published at on October 16, 2021.




Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, CEO Coach & Microsoft Regional Director (Honorary) in Chennai, India

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Venkatarangan Thirumalai

Venkatarangan Thirumalai

Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, CEO Coach & Microsoft Regional Director (Honorary) in Chennai, India

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