Reskilling and Upskilling: Realities and Perceptions

With the growing adoption of technology, several jobs roles will become redundant and it will be imperative for employees to reskill. However, it is important that employees set goals, be wary of passing fads and focus on practical learning.
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As technology evolves and greater automation comes into play, we are likely to see disruption across many industries. This will impact the employment opportunities currently available, as several job roles will become obsolete.

For instance, India’s demand for digital talent jobs is 8 times the size of its fresh talent pool, as per the ‘Future Skills Talent In India: A Demand-Supply Analysis’ study by Nasscom’. By 2024, this gap is expected to increase to 20 times the available talent pool. We really need to get ready to face this and solve the increasing divide between what employers want or expect from their workforce and what the employees can actually do.

Given this skill gap, the ongoing buzz around upskilling or reskilling is not surprising. In fact, learning new and relevant skills is certainly the need of the hour. However, any approach to learning needs to be well-thought-through, practical, and sustainable.

While the perception is that signing up for a new shiny course, that promises immediate placements or opting to take AI or robotics or blockchain courses as the ‘flavor of the season’ can do wonders, the reality is very different.

One needs to step back and think about their long-term goals, aspirations, interests and juxtapose these with current trends to chart their own journey. Only then will your efforts drive maximum results.

Here are a few points to consider before you embark on your path to building new skills.

1. Set your goals

Before you dive into your upskilling efforts, take some time out to first understand yourself. Where does your aptitude lie? What are your skill sets? What are your strengths? What are the areas in your skill set that will require additional training? Introspection is helpful.

Next, seek out and connect with experts and potential mentors who can guide you on realistic prospects. Understand how the industry is evolving and what skill sets are required to stay ahead of the curve. Use these insights to design your own dream career trajectory.

2. Don’t fall for fads

While newspapers and advertisements may have you believe that a certain technology or industry is set to revolutionise the world, be careful not to be taken in by fads.

Rather than going after something just because it happens to the ‘in’ thing, do your own groundwork. Choose the right path based on your goals and aspirations.

3. Optimise your efforts

Most people, especially busy professionals, have only a limited amount of time to devote to learning and development. Therefore, ensure that the hours spent on learning deliver the desired results.

4. Focus on deep, practical learning

Remember that the end objective of your efforts isn’t merely to get a certificate. It is to be able to deliver those skills in a professional environment. So, ensure that you select courses that allow for hands-on experience instead of just theoretical knowledge.

Opt for programs that offer opportunities to “learn by doing” since this will allow you to build a portfolio that you can showcase to potential employers, instead of just a certificate on LinkedIn.

5. Keep learning

Technologies change rapidly, so it’s important to stay on top of industry developments and ensure that your skills are in line with your goals and job profile. Being part of LinkedIn groups and conferences will help you keep in touch with what is new.

The widening skills gap, growing unemployment and underemployment are areas of grave concern for everyone. Keeping up with the times is essential. Regular upskilling is the way to equip professionals with skills that ensure they are future-ready.

However, it is imperative to remember learning is an involved process. Defining a clear direction, optimising your efforts, and taking a hands-on practical approach to learning is the way to go.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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