Things change quickly in almost every job industry. Technology moves at the speed of light. Pop culture phenomena and trends update almost daily.
In an effort to keep up with rapidly changing ideas, tools, and technology, upskilling is one of the most effective ways to update skills you’ve had to reflect changing times. Plus, upskilling is a great way to stand out in a crowded job market.
So what is upskilling? Why is it important? And how does one begin upskilling things they already know but want to improve on?
What is upskilling?
In the most simple context, upskilling involves improving on existing professional skills or learning entirely new skills. Forbes explains what upskilling means in a more modern, macro-level context:
“It describes a tectonic shift in the workplace caused by technology. Technology has created new possibilities that can be fully realized only by a modernized workforce. That means the workforce must learn new skills and competencies that are required for new and/or changing jobs. Upskilling cuts across industries—law included. It is critical to individuals and employers alike.”
The long-short of it all? Upskilling is the practice of allowing employees to gain new competencies and knowledge in their current positions.
Upskilling is often used interchangeably with terms like reskilling, but the two are actually quite different; reskilling, on the other hand, refers to the practice of allowing employees to learn entirely new skills that would allow them to switch roles and move to a different part of an organization.
Why is upskilling important for job seekers?
In the digital age, technology can change at the drop of a hat. This has — and continues to — alter the way we buy and sell products, goods, and services and who we hire to do so.
But in today’s job market, nearly ¾ of hiring managers across the US acknowledge there’s a skills gap that creates obstacles when hiring for viable candidates. To be one of those desirable candidates, it’s critical to have both the baseline skillset and most of the “nice to haves” as well.
This rapid advancement in technology, particularly in the AI and automation sectors, will create hundreds of millions of new jobs in the next few decades. Most candidates in the job market at this time will not have the skills necessary to fill those roles. By upskilling current job seekers, we can risk having too small talent pools to take on these jobs.
Upskilling is equally important for employers: it can cost more than an employee’s annual salary just to train new hires. Rather than risk employee churn, give current employees the opportunity to upskill so they can advance within an organization.
How can you begin upskilling?
Seek out corporate-provided opportunities.
In light of the Great Resignation, companies are coming to terms with the fact that they need to offer benefits outside of compensation, healthcare, and time off. For many, this comes in the form of advanced education and additional training — like upskilling!
Your management and human resources departments should know what opportunities are available to you. If there are none, make a case for why learning these skills will not only be beneficial to you as an employee, but to the company’s bottom line, too.
Find free or affordable courses in your particular skill online.
The virtual learning industry is booming, so it’s easier than ever to find free or inexpensive courses to upskill any number of professional skills and proficiencies. Want to learn how to code? There are dozens of free resources. Speak a foreign language? Consider Babbel or Duolingo. A quick Google search can help you find lessons around the thing you want to upskill.
Group up with colleagues or friends to learn a new skill.
Upskilling is a personal journey for many, but if you have colleagues or friends in similar roles, it could be a good opportunity to leverage strength in numbers. You’ll have accountability partners you can learn alongside and test your new skills against. Plus, this opens up an opportunity for mentorship programs or pairing up for professional development.
Showcase your new skills on a portfolio, resume, or personal website.
Upskilling is only good if you’re able to showcase your newfound learnings. If you’re upskilling to get promoted in your current role, you’ll be able to show that through your work. Otherwise, create a separate resume or personal portfolio that displays your skills.
Ready to upskill Try coding?
Coding is one such skill that’s transferable to many different roles and industries. It’s also one of the most highly sought after skills in any job market right now because it shows digital acumen, makes certain job functions easier, and can also be leveraged to build solutions, tools, and software immediately.
If you want to upskill your coding capabilities, try App Academy Open today entirely for free! It’s our zero-cost, self-guided course that will have you writing code and understanding programming principles in no time.
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