IYS Skills Profiler
A tool for mapping of skills - of people and jobs. The backend has a constantly updated Skills Taxonomy and the frontend an intuitive UI. Goal is to enable comprehensive profiling easy and precise.
In the last section we took the analogy of report cards. So Skills Profiles are like report cards. Reports cards we saw are very useful and effective Why then have we given up on Report cards? Why did we not continue to have report cards?
In schools and colleges, the number of subjects were limited and well defined. Not so in the world of professions and occupations. Skills we acquire as we move into the professional world are far too many, they keep emerging, we start getting differentiated in our skills profiles. Students passing out of as Mechanical Engineers get into different occupations that involve Mechanical Engineering and as years pass we realize that hardly two individuals have the same combination of skills. While the template of report cards is useful for analyzing data on skills, it is impractical for the real world of professions or occupations. There is no governing body like the school or college that defines what the subjects should be nor what measure should be used for indicating performance (marks, grades) nor the process of measurement laid (exams, teachers' evaluation or observation).
So here is the problem. We badly need a report card on skills but such a report card seems elusive for the complex world of skills.
IYS Skills Profiler is a solution to problem of presenting our skills in a report card manner, considering all the complexities of the real world. At the backend we have a rich database of skills. The skills are curated from different functions and industries. Then the skills are organized smartly to handle the complexity of the skills and to also ensure scalability, flexibility and practicality for it to be applicable across functions and industries and also to address the challenges of the ever changing world of skills. In the frotend we have a simple UI that enables people to pick skills to create a skills profile. Together the backend and frontend handle the complexities of this space. Some of these complexities and presented below:
    Organizational complexity
    Consider the drop down menus for geography that we see in many sites. There is box. When we click on the box it shows a drop down menu of different countries. And we pick a country, a box below the first box appears and here a drop down menu of the states in the country we chose is displayed. And we choose a state, a third box appears showing the cities in the state.
    This is a nice simple way of capturing precise information. The presentation includes a logical organization of data (countries, states and cities) in the backend and presentation for people to pick precise information led by the choices we make.
    Lets take another example of representation of information - maps. Here the representation is not hierarchical but also graphical. We can see the cities, also see cites nearby. We can zoom in and zoom out to see cities in other countries and states. Make inference on the distances between different cities. Like this data can presented in different ways. And how they are presented depends on the purpose we want to achieve and the nature of data itself. In the case of Skills we do not have just a hierarchical construct but also a graphical construct. This means that an entity is a like a person. A person has ancestors, children and grand children. A person also has relatives - cousins, nephews, nieces, uncle aunts. A person also has friends. And they then could be having similar relationships with others entities. We need to organize the skills considering these complexities yet keep it simple for the frontend users.
    Representation complexity
    Above we saw two ways of presentation of data. But when we render the skills we have to consider the complex relationships as also other factors that are characteristic of the skills space. In the case of the box structure we used drop downs, closed them when a choice was made and opened up another. In the case of map we enable zooming in and zooming out. If we compare the data representation against these two representations we realise that they are inadequate. In skills we cannot accept the person losing site of an entity without reference to its other relations. So a box type structure will not be good and map may seem better. But in maps we are interested in one place at a time (not that we have multiple elements playing in our head) nor all the other elements on the screen of same category - everything in a map is about locations. In the case of skills we have the different dimensions of skills too. And also in skills lot that all skills profile elements are on top of the mind. Some are but we need to lead to the person to the others that are related and useful. In school, we had only limited subjects and what the subjects were known to all. Not so in skills profile. There are dimensions like the Tools & Technologies, Knowledge, Domain or Contextual Experience and such. These are all important. But these are not well known at the beginning nor does a person know before hand all the elements. We need to lay them out when we present the skills and lead the person from what is on top of the mind to lead to other subtle but important but not-on-top-of-the-mind skills. Skills profiling process is exploratory in a way. The above point is the serious limitation with regard to articulation of skills using keywords. It assumes that we know very well all the elements that need to be articulated. This is not true.
    So, the representation of skills should be such that it allows for people to start somewhere and explore and articulate. It should not ask for specific but ask something specific and then lead to others (immediate family members) that are related in other areas to (distant family members, friends).
    Scaling up complexity
    In a world where AI is being applied in fascinating ways to solve complex problems, we feel AI needs support to help us support and solve problems of the talent space.
    The organization of skills should be such that it scale with explosion of emerging skills and also address unchartered or unexplored areas of skills. There has to be rules as also flexibility to accommodate exceptions to rules For it grow it needs to be non person dependent, one that can be governed by a larger team in the course of time. It needs to be one where AI can come in and help us scale (while being governed by Human Intelligence) IYS Skills Profiler, has evolved such a tool with experimentation over years. It believes it is now where it can address the scaling up complexity.
In the subsequent sections we will look into the various features of the Skills Profiler.
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