Times are changing, and formal education is becoming just one part of helping you forge a great career and enhance professional development. Although in 2019/20, 2.46 million students were in higher education institutions, more options have opened, offering school-leavers alternatives to the traditional path. Technology giants such as Google now offer competitive apprenticeships, whilst Tesla offers year-long internships that allow students the opportunity to get ahead in the workplace whilst learning valuable skills. With these changes and the emphasis on emerging technologies, there are many more options for students to progress outside of academia now than ten years ago.
Whether you wish to stay in academia your entire life or see yourself pursuing an alternative path, it’s a good idea to start investing in yourself by learning digital skills that will future-proof your career at the same time whilst building your confidence and knowledge.
In 2020, the most in-demand job was that of a software engineer. Coding is quickly becoming one of the most valued skills in the workplace, yet there is a significant shortage of programmers. The truth is that knowing how to code can help you to do more than just become a programmer – coding is helpful in every career, from technical copywriting to marketing and game-development.
There’s also no shortage of ways to learn to code. For children, a free resource like Blockly uses a gamified approach to teach it. Older teenagers and adult learners might prefer to use an open online course provider such as Coursera to begin their coding journey. The programming language Python has quickly become one of the most essential programming languages to learn. In addition to being accessible, Python is responsible for powering everything from Netflix to Spotify!
No matter where you are in your life, learning to code is one of the fastest ways to future-proof your career.
For many of us, Zoom, Google Meets and Loom are no longer just for hanging out with friends, but are now the primary way we work and connect with others. Virtual-Instructor Led Training refers to education and business that takes place in a virtual environment. Whilst setting up a Zoom account and starting a meeting is relatively straightforward, if you want to future-proof your skills, it’s worth looking at other alternatives, including WebX and GoToMeeting. WebX has a powerful interface, with fantastic team-building features such as a virtual white-board, whilst GoToMeeting’s multi-national, toll-free services make it perfect for connecting globally with colleagues and clients.
Regardless of which form of VILT you go for, learning how to utilise all the features will be advantageous in the work-force. You might even go on to use VILT to run your own global business!
Soft skills don’t necessarily require academic expertise or technical knowledge – but you can use digital platforms to cultivate them. Soft skills are anything from project management to critical thinking and team-work. In addition to improving your career prospects, soft skills can also form a considerable part of your professional development. On platforms such as edX, you can learn soft skills ranging from leadership to conflict resolution – skills that will be invaluable for you in the workplace and beyond!
Want to make your learning even more collaborative? You could set up your own “Soft Skills” study group on one of the Virtual-Instructor Led Training platforms mentioned.
In this data-driven world, there are so many opportunities to grow your digital skillset. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to change the way we study, work and play, now is the ideal time to ensure that you are future-ready.
Jessica is a freelance copywriter and content writer based in Richmond-Upon-Thames. With a degree in English Literature from University College London, she has experience as a private tutor for 14-18 years olds and adult learners. She has also worked in Widening Participation as a Mentor, Student Ambassador, and Student Leader. As someone who achieved A-Levels through distance-learning, Jessica has first-hand experience of the unique challenges and rewards that distance-learning offers. She regularly contributes content to educational websites including eNotes and Tutorful.