16 March 2022 13:06:08 IST

Four reasons why reskilling is a career lifeline

What will be the biggest unseen challenge for new graduates entering the workforce? According to author Thomas Friedman, it will be the shape-shifting job landscape. “Today’s workers need to approach the workplace much like athletes preparing for the Olympics, with one difference. They have to prepare like someone who is training for the Olympics but doesn’t know what sport they are going to enter,” he wrote in The World is Flat.

Skills and jobs are changing at an accelerated pace — an estimated 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. The double disruption of automation and recession from the pandemic have pushed the adoption of technology across companies, which the World Economic Forum predicts will transform tasks, jobs, and skills, by 2025.

Continuous skill development will be the only lifeline in this new future of work. To successfully equip themselves for the jobs of the tomorrow, here are four skilling trends every worker must take note of and navigate:

Stack skills

Landing your first job can be a challenge when you don’t have prior work experience. The good news is, there are rising opportunities to flexibly build in-demand skills that employers are looking for. Online Professional Certificates, developed and offered by some of the world’s top employers, including Google, IBM, Facebook, and Salesforce, can help you build entry-level skills for fast-growing digital jobs.  

Since you can study at your own pace and convenience, completing courses in a few months online, it’s possible to work towards these while you’re still in college, or doing an internship. Since these certificates have been designed by industry leaders to fill real-world talent gaps, they are closely-aligned to the skills employers are recruiting for right now.  

The entry-level digital job opportunities can range from that of a social media marketer to cybersecurity analyst or IT support professional. These certifications don’t call for experience or even a college degree, so irrespective of your background — based on your abilities, aptitude and interests — you can choose a course that makes you job-ready.  

If you visualize a longer horizon, entry-level online professional certificates can open up pathways to coveted careers, in fields like data science for instance. Certificates like Google Data Analytics and IBM Data Science enable learners to build foundational skills — Python and SQL, how to analyze and process data towards key business insights, and build machine learning models.  

With these building blocks, you can ‘stack’ data science capabilities by learning online, gradually expanding the breadth and depth of skills you need one course at a time, to meaningfully upskill for a career in data science.  

Job ready

Layering on new skills, or elevating your current skill set can lead to lucrative opportunities, taking your career to the next level. A Nasscom-Zinnov report finds that India’s current shortage of 5 lakh digitally-skilled professionals is going to worsen, with the demand for digital skills set to increase 3x by 2026.  

Skills across technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics, Internet of Things, and cloud computing are the most in-demand skills and, in shortest supply. Encouragingly, NASSCOM data also shows 65-70 per cent of digital talent gained by India in FY 2021 was through reskilling.  

Whether it is digital, business or management skills, professionals today have the choice to build job-relevant competencies from the best institutes in India, including the IITs and IIMs, on global online learning platforms, without taking a break in their careers.  

Changing landscape

Indian companies are fast-tracking digital transformation which is changing the skills they are investing in and looking for. We are seeing enterprises across sectors from Axis Bank to Ashok Leyland and Bharti Airtel, doubling down on building data and analytics skills.  

Understanding how skills are intersecting at the workplace can help you decide the direction to upskill or reskill in. A new study by edtech platform Coursera on ‘The Fastest Growing Job Skills of 2022’ shows that managing and visualising data has now become a business-wide skill requirement, needed as much by HR to identify skill gaps, as it is by sales teams to analyse their performance.  

The report highlights the changing role of data in an organisation, with the fastest-growing skills including ‘plotting data,’ ‘statistical visualisation,’ ‘security strategy skills’ and ‘cloud infrastructure.’ Data is no longer the preserve of scientists and tech professionals. Whether you are a marketer or a product manager, building data-centric skills can be invaluable to level up your career.

“Data is no longer the preserve of scientists and tech professionals. Whether you are a marketer or a product manager, building data-centric skills can be invaluable to level up your career.”

Remote revolution

The jobs of the future will not be location-bound, and neither should your career. Remote job postings on LinkedIn increased more than five times during the pandemic. Some of the fastest-growing job titles in 2022 reported for India on the networking site have high ‘remote job availability’ — 93.6 per cent for e-business manager roles, 27.3 per cent for affiliate marketing specialists, and 28.5 per cent for backend developers. Many digital jobs, in particular, can be done remotely.  

And since it’s possible to build skills for these jobs online, more Indian workers can now both learn and work from anywhere in the country, reaching for opportunities globally. Continuous reskilling and upskilling will be key to advancing at the workplace from here on. By adapting and developing skills flexibly online, every Indian professional will be equipped to alter course nimbly, staying relevant and productive through every career shift. 

(The writer is Managing Director – India and APAC, Coursera.)