Elevate Your Career: A Roadmap to Strategic Upskilling
In an era of rapid technological advancements, “UPSKILLING” has gained newfound significance. Today digitization is transforming business operations, making some roles redundant, while at the same time giving rise to new job roles and responsibilities. A McKinsey Global Institute report forecast that by 2030, automation would displace 800 million jobs worldwide but also create 950 million new jobs. As a result, the skills essential for excelling in these roles are constantly evolving. This article explores upskilling with practical examples, guiding you through the process and available options to keep you at the forefront of your professional journey.
WHAT IS UPSKILLING?
Upskilling emerges as the proactive response to this dynamic professional landscape. It is the deliberate process of acquiring new skills or enhancing existing ones to remain adept and relevant in the fast-paced and ever-changing job market.
At its core, upskilling involves fostering a “growth mindset” and commitment to stay ahead in the face of constant change. Cultivating this mindset becomes a strategic necessity for professional success in an environment where adaptability is paramount.
TWO DIMENSIONS OF UPSKILLING:
“Upskilling” has two dimensions, distinguished by the goals driving skill development.
1. Upskilling to Stay Relevant in your Job:
This upskilling type focuses on acquiring additional skills relevant to your current job, ensuring adaptability to industry changes. Examples include learning new software tools, staying updated on trends, and acquiring skills essential to your role due to technological advancements.
Example 1: Software Proficiency
Scenario: You work in marketing, and there’s a shift in the industry toward data-driven decision-making.
Upskilling: Learning to use new analytics software to analyze and interpret marketing data, helping you make more informed decisions in your current role.
Example 2: Industry-Specific Certification
Scenario: You are a healthcare professional, and there are updates in regulations affecting your daily tasks.
Upskilling: Taking a course to become certified in the latest healthcare regulations to ensure compliance and stay current in your field.
2. Upskilling for Career Progression:
Upskilling for career progression involves acquiring a broader set of skills beyond your current job requirements. The focus is on developing skills for new opportunities and advancement to higher positions or different roles, such as leadership, project management, or specialized expertise.
Example 1: Leadership and Management Training
Scenario: You’re a mid-level manager aiming for higher leadership roles.
Upskilling: Participating in leadership and management training programs to develop skills in strategic planning, team leadership, and decision-making, preparing for a higher managerial position.
Example 2: Learning a New Programming Language
Scenario: You’re a software developer looking to broaden your career options.
Upskilling: Acquiring proficiency in a new programming language that is in high demand, expanding your skill set to qualify for more specialized and higher- paying roles in software development.
In essence, Upskilling for career progression is strategic and forward-thinking, positioning you for future growth, while upskilling to stay relevant in your job is more immediate, addressing current demands. Both are valuable, and your choice depends on your career goals and current work environment opportunities.
UPSKILLING AND RESKILLING:
Let’s also draw a clear distinction between Upskilling and Reskilling, as these terms are frequently used interchangeably despite their distinct meanings. You have now understood from the earlier examples given that upskilling involves enhancing or acquiring additional skills to stay competitive and advance within one’s current job or field. Reskilling on the other hand involves embracing an entirely new skill set to transition into a different career or industry in response to changing job demands. We will explain with an example.
- Previous Occupation: Retail Sales Associate
- Reason for Reskilling: With the rise of e-commerce and the automation of certain retail tasks, the position is redundant.
- Reskilling Path: Acquire digital marketing skills and e-commerce management expertise.
- New Career Path: Transitions into the role of E-commerce Specialist, overseeing online sales platforms, implementing digital marketing strategies, and analyzing online consumer behavior.
In this example, the reskilling journey involves a shift from a traditional retail sales role to a position that leverages digital marketing and e-commerce skills, showcasing the adaptability required to thrive in an evolving job market.
HOW TO UPSKILL – THE PROCESS:
- Set Clear Goals: Identify your career objectives, whether it’s pursuing a specific role, aiming for a promotion, or targeting a task requiring specific skills. Let your goals guide your learning direction.
- Identify Knowledge/skill Gaps: Analyze job requirements alongside your current skills to pinpoint and address any gaps.
- Develop an Upskilling Plan and Initiate Learning: Craft a budget-conscious learning strategy, explore courses, and allocate dedicated time. Begin your learning journey gradually, fostering a curious mindset.
- Apply and Practice: Strengthen skills through practical applications at work or personal projects. For instance, after learning Python, propose automating a workflow at your workplace and develop a project for it.
- Embrace Lifelong Learning: Recognize upskilling as a continuous process. Stay open to improvement, adapt to industry changes, and proactively address emerging knowledge gaps.
WAYS TO UPSKILL
For motivated individuals, the options are diverse and can be tailored to fit your preferences, goals, and time constraints. These include:
- Explore platforms like Coursera, edX, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning for diverse courses.
- Use platforms like Codecademy, Duolingo, and Khan Academy for targeted skill development.
- Gain industry-recognized certifications from organizations like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and CISCO among others.
- Consider coding boot camps for intensive, hands-on training.
- Participate in internal training offered by your company.
- Attend online sessions or workshops for real-time learning.
- Join professional networks and attend industry meetups for insights.
- Utilize books, blogs, and online documentation for independent study.
- Pursue formal education through online or on-campus degree programs.
- Listen to relevant podcasts and audiobooks.
- Contribute to open-source projects for practical, collaborative skill development.
Understand that the upskilling journey begins with you, as you are the master of your destiny. In a world propelled by technological advancements and rapid changes, the proactive pursuit of upskilling becomes a strategic imperative. Your commitment to change, adapt, learn, and grow is the key to staying relevant and thriving in the ever-evolving professional landscape. Recognizing the significance of this journey, career counselling emerges as a valuable ally. A career counsellor can provide tailored guidance, helping you identify specific skills needed for your goals, explore suitable upskilling opportunities, and create a personalized roadmap for success. With Elysian, your upskilling efforts will be strategically aligned with your unique career aspirations. As you navigate this dynamic landscape, remember that seeking professional guidance enhances the effectiveness of your upskilling journey, ensuring that you are well-equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Future-proof your career with strategic upskilling and personalized guidance from Elysian.