Social and Professional Awareness by Students of Engineers Specialties of the Upcoming Digitalization (Pilot Study Experience and First Results)

Introduction. The upcoming digitalization is perceived and understood differently by students of technology faculties. This becomes more obvious in the context of pandemic, when the older generation often assesses this offensive negatively, and the technical students – with understanding, and often with enthusiasm. What are the advantages and problems with the emergence of digitalization in the social space of society in the eyes of young people focused on technical education? To what extent are the advantages and benefits of digitalization understood in a professional and social sense? What is the depth of the contradictions and the unity of social and professional awareness of digitalization? – the answer to this question, as the main goal of the study, is discussed in the presented article. Methodology and sources. The research methodology is formed on the basis on a set of studies. They are devoted to the study practices of the social formation relations among students, molded on social networks, mobile devices and the Internet. It is obvious that society is faced with revolutionary changes of an epochal order, the direction and nature of which is poorly consistent with some methodological principles, theories and concepts that have developed. Therefore, the methodological attitudes of researchers are represented by a multi-paradigm approach. These changed circumstances also predetermined the strategy and methodologies of the pilot empirical study, which can be defined as qualitative. Results and discussion. The results of the study show the existence of contradictions between the actual involvement of technical students in digitalization, on the one hand, and the lag in understanding the social contexts and social meanings of digitalization in the life of society, on the other. Empirical results confirm that in practical terms, students are included in digitalization. They are well expanding the range of professions related to IT technologies, new professional groups are emerging, professional differences in the features of the activities of engineers who worked in earlier periods in comparison with the activities of modern engineers due to digitalization are outlined. However, the awareness of the impact of digitalization on social processes and social stratification, the emergence of new forms of social inequality, and the general understanding of society as digital is formed with some delay. Conclusion. The results of the study show the ambiguity of the perception of digitalization by engineering students. The real dynamics of the digitalization process is ahead of social perception and awareness of the realities of the development of modern Russian society. Students are more clearly aware of and positively assessed the technical and technological advantages of digitalization, while the social consequences of digitalization are assessed somewhat passively and according to a limited range of problems. The awareness of the onset of digitalization in the student environment does not reflect the totality of the reality of the numerous social aspects of digitalization.

Authors: Pavel P. Deryugin, Olesya S. Bannova, Elena A. Kamyshina, Roman E. Popov, Anna N. Sidorova

Direction: Sociology

Keywords: digitalization, engineering students, advantages of digitalization, social problems of digitalization

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