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Digital upskilling: The key to futureproofing?

Futurproofing career through digital upskilling

We wake up every morning to some fresh piece of scary news about losing our jobs to AI. While panicking might seem like the only appropriate response, there is another alternative: digital upskilling, which just might be the key to figure proofing your career. 

We’ll explore how it can empower workers, including interns,  to thrive in this era of constant change and innovation. Let’s dive into how digital upskilling can make a significant impact, and provide practical advice on how to acquire the skills needed to thrive.

What is digital upskilling?

Digital upskilling is the process of acquiring knowledge and skills to thrive in a digital world by utilising digital technologies, tools, and platforms to drive innovation. In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, digital upskilling is crucial for individuals and organisations.

Some of the key competencies in digital upskilling include technical proficiency, data literacy, cybersecurity awareness, and digital marketing skills. It goes beyond traditional education and focuses on practical skills applicable to the digital age. 

Why is futureproofing your career essential?

Significant advancements and disruptions across industries are becoming the norm, and being left behind is becoming a riskier fate. To thrive in this landscape, people need to continuously update their skills and adapt to emerging technologies. 

Simply put, investing in digital upskilling enhances career prospects, maintains relevance in the job market, and contributes to organisational digital transformation. In more detail …

It keeps you relevant

Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, with new tools and platforms being introduced regularly. By upskilling digitally, individuals can stay abreast of the latest trends and developments, ensuring that they remain relevant and competitive in the job market.

More opportunities become accessible

Digital skills are in high demand across industries. Employers are seeking professionals who can navigate digital tools, harness data insights, and drive innovation. 

By acquiring digital skills, individuals can expand their career opportunities and open doors to new roles and industries. Digital upskilling not only makes individuals more employable but also positions them for higher-paying jobs and career growth.

Learn how to work with AI

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the workplace, with machines taking over routine tasks and augmenting human capabilities. To thrive in this new era, individuals need to develop skills that complement automation rather than being replaced by it. 

Digital upskilling equips individuals with the expertise to work alongside AI systems, leverage automation tools, and focus on higher-value tasks that require human creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

Preventing job disruption

Job disruption is at an all-time high, with automation and technological advancements displacing traditional job roles and creating waves of new ones. By upskilling digitally, individuals can futureproof themselves against job disruption. They can develop skills that are in high demand and less susceptible to automation, ensuring their employability in the face of technological change.

Keep learning, keep growing

Digital upskilling fosters a mindset of lifelong learning, which is crucial in an age of constant change. By embracing continuous learning and upskilling, individuals can adapt to evolving technologies, industry trends, and job requirements. They can stay ahead of the curve and seize new opportunities as they arise.

Learning hard skills

Hard skills are indispensable allies in your journey to futureproofing your career. Even though the technical aspect can be a little daunting, we highly recommend picking up a few in your chosen field. 

Learning hard skills can be difficult at first, but as you familiarise yourself with your own process, it becomes easier. Soon, you’ll be able to take on advanced courses and hone your abilities with ease. What it takes is diligence and a solid plan. 

First, make sure that you’ve understood your own goals and needs. Create a personal development plan. Now, ask yourself, have you decided on a career path yet? If not, do some research and shortlist a few options. 

If you’re looking to upskill first prior to settling on a career, then list out the fields you’d like to focus on and the skills they require. Pick the ones you find most suitable. That’s where we begin.

Below are some of the technical skills that are most in demand.

Coding/Programming

Proficiency in coding and programming languages is highly sought after in today’s job market. Whether it’s Python, Java, or JavaScript, learning a programming language opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities. 

Online platforms like Codecademy or Udacity offer interactive courses to help beginners get started.

Cloud computing

Understanding cloud platforms and architectures like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure is essential in the digital landscape. Early career professionals should familiarise themselves with virtualisation, containers, and serverless computing to design scalable and cost-effective solutions. 

Platforms like AWS Training and Certification or Microsoft Learn provide comprehensive resources and certifications.

Anything with data

Today, data is the fuel that drives decision-making and innovation. Early career professionals should focus on developing data literacy skills, including analysing and visualising data and making data-driven decisions. Tools like Microsoft Excel, SQL, and data visualisation platforms such as Tableau or Power BI can be invaluable in this journey.

Cybersecurity

With the increasing interconnectivity of the digital world, cybersecurity skills have become crucial. Early career professionals should prioritise developing an understanding of common cybersecurity threats, network security, encryption, and risk management. Platforms like Cybrary or Cisco Networking Academy offer cybersecurity courses and certifications to help individuals build their expertise.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Enrol in online courses and certifications specific to your chosen domains.
  • Take part in hackathons or data science competitions to apply your skills in real-world scenarios.
  • Join professional communities and attend conferences to stay updated on the latest trends and industry practices.
  • Seek mentorship from experienced professionals in their desired fields.
  • Build a portfolio of projects to showcase their practical skills and knowledge.

Don’t forget the soft skills

Just because technical skills are in demand, it doesn’t mean soft skills aren’t sought-after. Soft skills are harder to teach (and develop), making them invaluable. Take, for example, an employee who is excellent at communication, time management and critical thinking but mediocre at coding. They could still improve their coding with proper lessons and experience — maybe even quickly, if it’s within their abilities. Their soft skills being such vital ones makes it well worth the effort for the employer to invest their time and money in that employee.

Here are a few soft skills that could greatly benefit your career.

Staying flexible

The digital age is synonymous with constant change. Work on cultivating your adaptability and flexibility to navigate evolving work environments. Embrace new technologies and adjust to remote or virtual workspaces. Embracing a growth mindset and seeking out opportunities to learn and adapt will help you stay ahead.

Digital literacy

Working on your communication skills across various platforms is highly important. Work on mastering professional email etiquette, concise and persuasive writing, and effective presentation skills for virtual settings. Additionally, being proficient in using digital collaboration tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams can enhance productivity and communication in remote work environments.

Working well with teams

Effective collaboration is undeniably the core of any efficient workplace. Work towards developing strong interpersonal skills, active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution abilities to foster positive working relationships and contribute effectively to diverse teams. Platforms like LinkedIn Learning offer courses on communication and collaboration skills that could be useful.

Be a problem-solver

 In the face of complex challenges, critical thinking skills are invaluable. It’s important for you to improve your ability to analyse situations, think creatively, and propose innovative solutions. Online courses on platforms like edX or Coursera can help you enhance your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

These soft skills are just a few of those relevant to digital upskilling as they enable professionals to effectively communicate, collaborate, and adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. Overall, to develop soft skills, consider the following.

  • Attend workshops and seminars on communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.
  • Engage in team-based projects to enhance collaboration and teamwork.
  • Seek feedback from mentors and colleagues to improve interpersonal skills.
  • Practice active listening and empathy in everyday interactions.
  • Engage in critical thinking exercises and challenge assumptions.

Final thoughts

The future we used to only speak of in sci-fi terms is getting closer by the day. A lot of changes are bound to happen, and the way we work will change. The hard part is catching up, so the ideal time to start is now.

By acquiring the necessary technical skills, such as data literacy, coding, and cloud computing, you position yourself as a strong contender in the job market, opening doors to good opportunities.

However, futureproofing goes beyond technical expertise. Soft skills like adaptability, collaboration, and critical thinking are equally important. These skills enable you to navigate diverse work environments, collaborate effectively in teams, and tackle complex challenges with confidence.

In a world where automation and AI are reshaping job roles,  you need to stay adaptable. Work on skills that thrive alongside automation and find ways that AI can help you.

 

Kahless

Kahless

Kahless is a writer with a special interest in sociology. He spends much of his free time travelling, reading, writing, and stopping his cats from ripping apart everything he owns. It’s advised to bring along a strong cup of coffee (3 espresso shots minimum) when approaching him.

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