Proactive upskilling: A sure shot way to future-proof your career

simpleYour new skills can be your gateway to new responsibilities and a means to follow your passion for higher professional satisfaction.

As we pause to take stock in our career, evaluate our accomplishments and look ahead to the future, there will be times when we want more from our professional life to forge beyond what we are today, however good it may be. Or, we could be facing a reality check on how we are inadequately prepared in today’s competitive and disruptive landscape. Can we look at some examples from the current situation in the IT industry where by not being relevant and current, employees had to face redundancy? I feel this will be a good segue to the subject.

Either way, it is time to look for progressive change and take charge of your career. And perhaps the best way to do that is to upskill oneself. While it is true that we learn and pick up new skills and capabilities on the job, there is a huge gap in keeping ourselves relevant that can be filled only by proactively upskilling ourselves. Successful professionals know the importance of actively expanding their skills and credentials to achieve career velocity and extend their career shelf life by staying current.

Why is upskilling so important to future-proofing your career?
It helps you in career progression and enhances your professional value The professional world around has rapidly changed and will do so even more into the future. As a professional, you need not only keep up with the changes, but be ahead of them. Even if you think the experience you are gaining in your job is gratifying and useful, it is not adequate to shield you from the rapid pace of change that can make you redundant. Upskilling to future-proof your career is vitally important to keep you abreast of industry trends and requirements.

Even in your current role, the right upgrading of skills can hone your functional and business skills to improve your productivity and overall performance. This will strongly position you for promotion and lateral career progression.

It expands your professional network

As you step into classrooms, workshops, seminars and conferences to upgrade your credentials, you will acquaint yourself with different people to expand your professional network. They could be instrumental in (a) advancing your career or business, and (b) motivating you to look at different opportunities and perspectives to enrich your career.

It helps you explore a career change
Upskilling gives you the confidence to look at the possibilities of a career change. Making the time to upskill will prepare you to take the plunge when an appropriate opportunity presents itself.

Upskilling in today’s digital age of automation offers a tremendous stage for a proactive process of positioning oneself for higher success and opportunities. The pervasive impact of robotics and automation will increase the quality of the resulting jobs. All these jobs will require newer and emerging skills, some of which need to be designed afresh and fulfilled. This opens up a whole new vista of opportunities in learning and quality of jobs.

What needs to be done?
At the most basic level, upskilling involves keeping abreast of the latest changes at work (technology, processes, domains, business avenues, etc.), and participating in internal training to keep pace with change. On a proactive measure, it could mean researching a little more to grasp how the broader market and industry is being impacted, and what are the additional skills required to combat this change. You could then enroll yourself for extra study (online or in person) or register for a certified course for professional development.

Beyond the technical and functional, develop your human skills
Future-proofing your career is not complete without upgrading your human skills – problem solving, dealing with ambiguity, critical thinking, negotiation, influencing and emotional intelligence. As automation is set to take over transactional jobs, these skills will be in high demand.

Learning, whether at an individual or corporate level, and at every hierarchical stage is a continuous requirement. Setting aside the time, commitment and effort to upskill is important. With the proliferation of versatile online tools and resources, there is a lot of flexibility to reinvent and win in one’s professional life. Furthermore, adding to skills makes individuals more capable and highlights their initiative, commitment and desire to move ahead. These are traits that managers and leaders value and look to recognize and reward.

Professional networking – Social media can help you in a big way in not only upskilling but brushing shoulders with the right people in the right communities in your domain. This is the most effective way to stay relevant. Most of these communities host webinars on changing trends in their domain which keeps you aware and helps you to pick up courses which are best suited to your needs.

Your new skills can be your gateway to new responsibilities and a means to follow your passion for higher professional satisfaction.

[“Source-economictimes”]