When looking to advance your career, upskilling and reskilling are key strategies in ensuring that you are at the top of your game. In a society where rapid changes and advancements are commonplace, opportunities to upskill and reskill have gained critical importance as we enter an era of increased in digitalization. While both terms are often linked, the two differ entirely in their definitions. Upskilling looks to add new knowledge and expertise to existing competencies, while reskilling refers to adding completely new skills for transitioning to new responsibilities, roles, or industries.
The Importance of Upskilling / Reskilling
For a candidate looking to enter a new field of interest, upskilling is inherently effective in communicating skills and competencies to potential employers. As most young professionals do not have many years of experience in their desired industries, upskilling can help bridge the gap of knowledge and expertise. For instance, the completion of an SEO certificate and a digital marketing course could help a recent grad land a position as Digital Marketing Specialist when the position may typically require 2-3 years of practical experience.
Additionally, the current pace of technological advancements brings forth the increased need for new skills and competencies. As revolutionary changes such as automation through Artificial Intelligence come forth, the demand for skills to operate these new technologies will increase as well. Prompt Engineers, Business Intelligence Developers, and Data Scientists are among the many positions that have become increasingly relevant over the past year that require such skills and competencies.
Most importantly, upskilling or reskilling will assist in advancing your career as they allow for opportunities for growth and alternative positions/industries to become more accessible. Possessing an advanced and comprehensive skillset positions you more competitively for open positions and provides the boost you need to level-up in the career ladder, both for vertical growth and cross-departmental moves.
While the benefits of upskilling and reskilling are vast and evident, they can also present challenges:
- First, time management is essential when taking on upskilling or reskilling opportunities to develop your professional skillset. It is critical to effectively balance manage your time for work, learning, and your personal life. An unbalanced workload can lead to an accumulation of outstanding projects, missed deadlines, a noticeable decrease in productivity and quality of output, and ultimately burnout.
- Additionally, it may take time to adapt to a new skill or field entirely. Persistence and an attitude that values personal growth will be contributors to successful learning.
- Many workplaces offer professional development opportunities to their employees, however, a recent Calibrate study found that there is a significant misalignment between the accessibility of desired professional development resources and opportunities and what is currently being offered by employers. For example, the research noted that while 79% of respondents desired access to mentorship and coaching, only 21% currently had access to this type of opportunity.
- Finally, financial constraints can pose a significant challenge to those seeking opportunities to upskill and reskill. Some programs require payment to enroll, however, there are many free resources available online.
Educational opportunities are widespread and offered by a plethora of different organizations. While some platforms are costly, many free education tools exist such as HubSpot Academy, LinkedIn Learning, General Assembly, Coursera and Google SkillShop. As these resources exist online they allow for extreme flexibility in both location and timing of access. These tools cater to a variety of job functions including, but not limited to, marketing, sales, data science, web development, and operations. Whether you are searching for a specific certification or seeking new information through a course, these sites provide an array of easily accessible, free offerings.
As the world around us continues to evolve, so does the demand for new skills and their application in the workforce. If you are looking to advance your career, upskilling and or reskilling opportunities serve as key tools for education and professional development. Not only will they help equip you with the skills needed to take on new tasks and or projects, they will also make you more adaptable for future technologies and implementations to come.
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