While the idea of upskilling is nothing new, these days it’s more popular than ever. Thanks to online classes, anyone can upskill in any field. Upskilling is a long-term investment in yourself that can help you earn more money, find better jobs, and move up in your career.
But what is upskilling? Why should you consider it? And how can you get started?
What is Upskilling?
Put simply, “upskilling” means using education or training to develop or improve your skill set. According to Indeed, upskilling can keep you relevant in the workplace and make you recession-proof. There’s never really a downside to increasing your knowledge base within your field and learning new techniques. Upskilling allows you to take on new roles and challenges, thus paving the way for promotions and raises.
Upskilling allows you to stay on top of constantly changing trends, technologies, and developments in your field. You’ll build upon what you already know so that you can remain at the forefront of your career. Upskilling involves both hard skills like data analysis and soft skills like communication.
Upskilling vs. Reskilling
The terms “upskilling” and “reskilling” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are differences between the two. Upskilling, as it says, helps you move up in your existing job. Reskilling is learning new skills to make lateral moves, or to change jobs completely.
Why is Upskilling Important?
In the digital age, technology can change at the drop of a hat. This continues to alter the way we learn, shop, hire, travel, and otherwise interact with the world.
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 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 grow by 31.4% by 2030. Most candidates in the job market at this time do not have the skills necessary to fill those roles. By upskilling current job seekers, we make sure our future engineers, coders, programmers, and other data scientists are ready for whatever changes the future brings.
Get a Raise
According to CIO Dive: “Data and AI professionals who spent more than 100 hours training and developing new skills earned, on average, an $11,000 salary increase, compared to a $7,100 increase for workers dedicating one hour to 19 hours in training and development.”
Why is this? Because companies that want to stay competitive know they need employees who are at the top of their game. Upskilling gives employees the ability to keep up with emerging technologies – which gives employers a competitive edge.
Make a Career Change
The more skills you have, the wider your playing field. Whatever an employer is looking for, you’re the person for the job. Upskilling makes you more attractive to employers because you’re less likely to need lengthy, expensive on-the-job training.
Make Your Work Life More Fulfilling
Upskilling keeps you “in the know” when it comes to your field. New trends. Upcoming developments. Innovative advances. Staying in the loop helps you understand your job more deeply so you can perform better and feel confident in your work. You can be your department’s creative disruptor, making more efficient systems for everyone that improves the quality of life.
Not only does upskilling help you professionally, but it can also help you personally, too. Upskilling is a way to constantly improve yourself with a beginner’s mindset. This means staying curious, always asking questions, and never letting yourself think there’s nothing left to learn. You’ll be more engaging with others and more likely to continue improving yourself with a beginner’s mindset.
How to Start Upskilling
Ready to make more money, keep yourself relevant in your job, and improve your life with upskilling? Great! You can get started today – here’s how.
Identify Goals & Knowledge Gaps
What’s your career goal? Do you want to move out of entry-level? Do you dream of managing a team of coders? Dare you dream of a C-suite position at your present company? Whatever your goal, identify what you need to get there. If you’ve been an entry-level coder for a year but have your heart set on a management position, you’ll need managerial training to get there.
Figure out where you want to be. Then identify the gaps you need to fill to get there. These might be hard skills, like web development or digital marketing, or they might be soft skills like communication or team management.
Once you know what you want and what you need to get there, you can start acquiring those necessary skills.
Take Advantage of Corporate-Provided Opportunities
The Great Resignation of the early 2020s highlighted a growing trend in the American workforce: employees want more than a paycheck and healthcare benefits. Once the pandemic hit, workers were no longer willing to sacrifice their emotional well-being and personal lives for demanding employers. Instead, “quiet quitting” became the trend, with employees working only the hours they were paid for. (Imagine!)
In the scramble to hire talent and keep the workers they had, companies had to come up with new incentives. One of those incentives was tuition reimbursement. Whether it’s paying employees for time off to pursue college degrees or reimbursing them for training programs, employers are stepping up like never before.
If your HR department doesn’t offer tuition reimbursement or in-house training programs, it might be worth letting them know how much the company can benefit from upskilling their employees.
Complete Free/Affordable Online Courses
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 coding bootcamps & resources. Need to learn a foreign language? Consider Babbel or Duolingo.
YouTube has many great free video tutorials on pretty much anything you want to learn. A quick Google search can help you find free or affordable online lessons for whatever you want to upskill.
Work with Colleagues or Friends
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.
Build a Portfolio, Resume, or Personal Website
Upskilling is only good if you’re able to showcase your newly mastered skills. If you’re upskilling to get promoted in your current role, you’ll be able to show that through certifications, degrees, or by sharing what you’ve learned with your team. If you’re job hunting, make sure you add your skills to your resume and cover letter, as well as your online portfolio and LinkedIn profile.
Start Developing Your Skills with App Academy
The top in-demand hard skills right now, and for the future, include software development and coding, which you can learn at App Academy.
Coding is a transferable skill for many different roles and industries. App Academy offers affordable online coding courses and bootcamps that will not only teach you the most in-demand coding languages but can help you find a job when you’re ready.
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. Or explore our structured courses to see which may be a good fit for you.
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