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Exclusive: Coursera CEO wades into moonlighting debate, advises employees to focus on one job

Exclusive: Coursera CEO wades into moonlighting debate, advises employees to focus on one job

Wading into the ongoing debate on moonlighting, Jeff Maggioncalda, the CEO of Coursera, the open learning platform, tells BT that it is more important for employees to focus on their present job and do it efficiently rather than doing two things at the same time.

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera told Business Today that focusing on doing the best job and excelling at the current job is better than trying to do two things. Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera told Business Today that focusing on doing the best job and excelling at the current job is better than trying to do two things.

The Indian IT industry is divided when it comes to taking a stance on moonlighting, which is defined as side gigs employees indulge in above and beyond their primary employment. While tech giants like the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Wipro cite it as an ethical issue and against the company’s core values, Tech Mahindra, on the other hand, supports it and plans to come up with a policy for employees to be open about pursuing more than one job at a time. Amidst all this debate, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera, the popular open online learning platform, which a lot of employees prefer to learn new skills to stay relevant and improve job prospects, told Business Today that focusing on doing the best job and excelling at the current job is better than trying to do two things.

Maggioncalda acknowledges that the circumstances in India are very different in comparison to other countries. He says, “There's a huge skill gap. The skill gap is so big that the most talented people are being demanded by many employers. And, in some cases, a really skilled person can do two jobs better than an unskilled person could do one. So I understand that there's a context. But I would suggest, though, to employees that really focusing on doing the absolute best job that you can, standing out and excelling and making the biggest impact is going to be better for your long-term career than trying to do two things, but neither of them so well.”

Speaking on what employees should work towards and the recipe for building successful careers, Maggioncalda added: “I think excellence and a real demonstrated impact in business are going to come from those people who focus on doing their job the best that they possibly can. So I understand why people might want to do it, and I'm sure that they will, but I do think that some of the most successful careers will be built on people who focus all of their energy on trying to do one job the best they can.”

And with all the conversation about upskilling and reskilling and the challenge of staying relevant, Maggioncalda explains that while the fundamental skills and knowledge remain the same, what’s changing are the tools that one uses. The durable, foundational skills and knowledge imparted by the universities can be complemented with higher velocity tools and training projects.

Also read: After Wipro, Infosys fires employees for moonlighting

Also read: The moonlighting debate: What does the road look like for India's IT sector?

Published on: Oct 14, 2022, 2:24 PM IST
Posted by: Tarab Zaidi, Oct 14, 2022, 2:17 PM IST