Why you should prioritise soft skills, the future of Nigerian digital currency revealed

by | Mar 26, 2021

This post is a delayed version of Techpoint Digest, a week-daily newsletter that rounds up major happenings in African tech. You can start receiving it hours before everyone else if you Subscribe.

The email version of this newsletter was erroneously dated May 24th instead of March 26th; I apologise for the mix-up.

Good day,

Ifeanyi here.

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Today I am discussing

  • Why you should prioritise soft skills
  • The future of Nigerian digital currency

Why you should prioritise soft skills

DOP 5768

These days I rarely spend time on Twitter. However, a long thread by one Bayo Adeyinka on the bird app caught my attention recently; it began with: “Your Career Is Not Just About Your Hard Skills…Soft Skills Do Matter. The higher you progress in your career, the more you understand that your career is not all about your hard or technical skills.”

There is a long-held debate over which is more important, soft or hard skills. Fortunately, the difference between both skills is pretty clear. 

Understanding hard skills first: In a broad sense, hard skills refer to proficiency in complex tasks. They are learnt abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education. They are important because they increase employee productivity and efficiency, and subsequently, improve employee satisfaction.

For instance, if you’ve worked in food service or retail, you may know how to use a point-of-sale (POS) system. Or in tech, you may know how to code. Every job will require certain technical skills.

But things like how well you work in a team, how well you communicate, and how well you understand other people’s emotions are just as important; those are soft skills. They usually tend to be harder to quantify than hard skills like programming, writing, or accounting, and they’re also more difficult to learn formally. 

A big part of the confusion: It appears that there is a reality the education system is yet to catch up with. We have a system of education that is modelled on the interest of industrialism which demands quantifiable, standardized skills. So it made sense back in the day to build an education system that trained people accordingly.

But we are no longer in the Industrial era. Ours is now a knowledge economy. Few of us work in factories where our jobs never vary and we never have to speak more than a few words.

Instead, the modern workplace is about dealing with other people; an environment of negotiating, compromising, and communicating. And with the advent of the knowledge economy, hard skills are constantly shifting. Although one still needs a certain basis of hard skills, soft skills are what matter for getting anything done.

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In the way that the Industrial Revolution made many manual labour tasks obsolete, the Knowledge Revolution is automating many technical tasks. Consequently, many of the hard skills you do learn in school quickly become irrelevant. The same can nearly be said of the workplace.

See the rest of Bayo’s thread.

The future of Nigerian digital currency revealed

cryptocurrency

There is almost certainly one future now for the digital currency in Nigeria, and that is regulation. At least this was the sentiment of most speakers at the Techpoint Digital Currency Summit held yesterday.

In the eyes of the regular startupreneur in Nigeria, the government and its machinery are the biggest stumbling block to innovation. Therefore, the notion that the government should regulate cryptocurrency would be welcomed with scepticism. 

A general consensus about regulation at yesterday’s Summit is that it is one of those elements that we might like, but needs to exist.

One of many needs for that is the volatile nature of cryptocurrency, and for some reasons, the risks are often downplayed for the upside. And because volatilities themselves create opportunities, there is more reason for a semblance of regulation.

How should regulation happen? Our speakers shared a few notes on how this could happen. According to Ian Arome, Head, Fintech Practice, Aluko and Oyebode, regulators shouldn’t work in silos. This means understanding the technology to regulate and formulating risk-based standards that regulate players. This is to ensure they function properly and not die, as is often the case. 

For Chimezie Chuta, Founder/Coordinator, Blockchain Nigeria User Group, founders should have to innovate within existing laws and frameworks such as KYC, money laundering, etc.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how this happens.

What else I am reading

Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships

Have a great weekend!

Ifeanyi Ndiomewese for Techpoint Africa.

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