How many times do you come across someone who can inspire you to do more than one thing in your life?
I remember my father telling me the story of a man he met in college. A professor of some sort lugging books with thick set glasses, wearing a dress pant and shirt. The man was pursuing his 16th degree course, planning for the 17th and peering into the Physics lab smiling at the batteries he had used when he was a student of Physics. He was a teacher and a student and still had time for his children. That story had impacted my life immensely. I wanted to be that man. But I couldn’t be a man. I could try and achieve that level of excellence in life though. But as life went on the stories become just stories and faded into dreams.
A few days back I met Samia Khan online. A lady who reminded me of that short story I had forgotten about. She is one of those women who tirelessly pursue excellence. A woman who has pursued education, training and practical work experience all in the same life-time. If you argue – don’t we all do it? I would say, Nah! We don’t do it with the kind of zeal this woman does. Passion in work is one thing, but passion to learn is an entirely different concept.
Samia Khan is of the view that training and learning is as important as the degrees we work so hard to get, maybe even more. Let’s find out why she sees it this way:
- Tell us something about yourself?
I am dream chaser who thinks impossible is nothing. A pro-Pakistani to be exact, who would love to make Pakistan stand out in the world of IT, Innovation, Robotics and much more.
- What in your opinion is an ‘education’?
It’s an inoculation to disruption. If you want to save a nation from being misled, you educate masses. We, Pakistanis, are a nation of the Book.
I would like to put some questions forth for your critical thinking.
How many parents in Pakistan stress upon continuous education as compared to continuous growth?
How many men in our nation have businesswomen wives like Hazrat Khadija (R.A.)?
How many families have wise women like Hazrat Ayesha (R.A.)?
How many men treat their daughters like our beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H) did?
What is first revelation of Quran? It’s “Iqra”.
The reason of our decline is illiteracy. If we keep on educating ourselves, there is no reason that we cannot compete with the world.
- Why do you think ‘training’ is necessary? Doesn’t a degree fulfill the need for education?
Professional training not only gives you knowledge and command theoretically but also prepares you for the market challenges.
For example, Sir Haris Khan Ghori from Digital Marketing Academy Karachi taught me Digital Marketing and Strategy and Business Innovation. It was not just training. To start a new chapter I needed to clear a test, be it manual brand audit or critical analysis of a business plan. It not only gave me market exposure but also strengthened my problem solving skills.
- Tell us something about your training and how long you have been training? How do you think it has enriched you as a person?
My American and Canadian Coaches taught me whosoever learns most, wins. Elon Musk- a visionary is not a PhD but he is the person in his team who knows the most and this thing actually teaches us the lesson that learning should never be stopped.
I did my Masters in Business Psychology from Quaid-i-Azam University. I started my training in 2015 with a personal coach who taught me Graphics Design, he was a teacher at NCA with 11-years work experience. I took training via Skype for 7-months. Simultaneously, I learned Photography and Videography from National Training Bureau, Govt. of Pakistan while I started my Diploma in Digital Marketing and Strategy via Skype for 8-months from Digital Marketing Academy, Karachi. Later on, I did my Diploma in Business Innovation from DMA Karachi.
I also did a professional salon and cosmetology course during my job tenure with a 1-year work experience. As a leisure activity, I paint in abstract which has culminated into many awards.
I had a strong need to put my knowledge to test and I started working online as a business innovator and strategist. Later on, I did a short-course on Android Development using Eclipse with another tech- enthusiast. Then, I started my own Agency- Annie Rafael Digital Marketing and got an overseas web development project. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding an expert UI/UX developer. Soon enough, I found someone but he couldn’t figure out how to integrate accordion on the front-end. Ultimately, I had to take admission in Professional Academy where I learned Web Engineering in three months instead of six-months. That knowledge allowed me to integrate a custom accordion in the code to complete the project before my appointed programmer. Further, I learned PHP and Java from its sister academy as well which was a bonus.
As a strategist, I always had this question in the back of my head – why Pakistani Startups never make it to the Foreign Exchange? Why they are unable to get the investor’s attention? Why are some startups jumping from one accelerator to another and yet are not strong enough to run on their own? So, started my quest about Foreign Exchange and I am happy that Dubai-based forex company took me on onboard and trained me. I got Australian and American coaches onboard to teach me about Joint Venture and Capital Venture and found “ProVault- Complete Business Solution for Startups, SME’s and Giants”.
- Would you hire someone to train them? Or would you prefer a trained individual for your enterprise?
Well, since I have more than 6 years of experience in HR, I would prefer a trained professional over a fresh graduate because a trained professional will not only save my time but will be more flexible in their approach. Most of the fresh grads are egoistic, they think they know the most and university has taught them everything. In reality, market is operating at a higher level.
Training also kills your ego. If you are a well-trained person that means a person inside you keeps on telling you that you are not good enough in your field and you should keep learning more. The greater the flexibility of an employee, the higher will be their productivity.
- How long would you suggest people get training for? What kind of skills should they focus on?
Well, there is no limit to training. The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know the less dependent you are on others. Here is a list of skills that everyone should get trained for:
- Data Mining, Data Analysis and Report Writing
- Digital Marketing (because marketing is an evergreen field and no business can run without marketing)
- Entrepreneurship/ Joint Venture and Capital Venture Training
- Content Writing
- Web Development
- Android Development/ iOS Development
- Graphics Designing, and
- Information Security
Training makes a difference. Even I am considering enrolling in something new to get a hang of the new updates.
But there is a lot to learn if one wishes to. Even for the fresh graduates and those who will be joining the workforce soon or those wanting to join the start-up and venture field. If it is not offered in your country, get it from where it is being offered. Complaining and waiting for it to be offered will not help you grow.
Like Samia said while we were chatting – a human being can develop 5 new skills every year.
Use that quota wisely!