How to Future Proof Your Career
Did you know we’re going through a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” right now? By definition, an industrial revolution is “a time in history when great advancements in technology or manufacturing are made”. This is happening now with the blending of physical systems and virtual networks. Think wearable tech, 3D printing, VR, self-driving vehicles, and cybernetic limbs.
In a world like that, how do you stay competitive in the job market? Here are some steps you can take.
Get future-oriented education
The first thing to keep in mind is adaptability. If you want to have good future career prospects, you have to tailor your education and training so that you can enter several different industries. The eBay way to go about this is to study “back-end” areas like administration or code.
So, instead of focusing on one narrow niche of knowledge, choose a program that you can apply in multiple fields, like a business degree, financial studies, administrative studies, or programming. That way, with a few tweaks, you can find a place in virtually any company down the line.
Alternatively, you can adopt a hyper-specialist approach. Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, become highly adept in some critical niche and be so good that nobody can replace you. That might be highly profitable because you’ll be in high demand and in short supply. But it’s a dicey strategy since comparatively few employees need that high level of specialization. There’s also the risk of your niche becoming obsolete.
Whether you decide to specialize or generalize, maintain an adaptability mindset. Realize that technology and industry will just keep on developing. Above anything, you need resilience and flexibility to carry you through. When your business sphere starts changing, welcome it and focus on what you can gain instead of holding onto your old ways.
Reconsider your skill set
As we said, you have to be ready to adapt to change. This, unfortunately, also includes the possibility of a total career change. As the global industry landscape keeps shifting, some careers simply aren’t viable anymore. To counteract that, consider developing a skill set in one of the up-and-coming industries. These include real estate, web development, cybersecurity, and environmental engineering.
Of course, we realize you can’t exactly turn around and go back to college at the drop of a hat. Instead, invest in some alternative and semi-formal education. Do a real estate traineeship, complete a coding camp, or enroll in a course for ecological awareness in business.
You either get tech-savvy or you get left behind. The modern employee can’t afford to be a technophobe anymore, so figure out your bottlenecks and remove them. What technology do you use in your everyday tasks? Which tech is widespread in your field? What’s giving you trouble?
At the very least, get a good understanding of basic office work programs like Word, Excel, presentation software, etc. Sign up for courses or spend some time on YouTube watching instructional videos.
Next, consider what tech tools can boost your personal productivity levels. Brush up on your skills in programs used for analytics, project management, planning, performance tracking, streamlining various processes, etc. If you can, invest some effort in its learning automation, too. Entrust your repetitive, non-essential tasks to a bot and free up your own time for further skill improvement.
Grow your soft skills
Considering the increasing automation of business, it pays to focus on the strictly human skill sets. Become a master of things that the robots can’t do yet: time management, communication, cooperation, and leadership.
The key point here is emotional intelligence. That’s something that AI hasn’t developed yet. It’s the essential difference that will keep organic workers in high demand going forward. Thankfully, there are easy and convenient ways to develop this trait. Take online classes, do seminars, sensitivity training, and interpersonal skills courses.
In summary, the key to future-proofing your career is flexibility. Develop a versatile skill set, master technology that’s the most used in your field, and keep your soft skills top-notch. Tailor your education to up-and-coming niches, and don’t be afraid to overhaul your career to secure a stable spot in the growing industries.
About the author: Mike Johnston is an experienced blogger and editor with a background in creative writing, digital media, and web. He’s produced thousands of pages of original, engaging content for numerous online publications throughout his career. Mike’s specialties are business and technology, but he also often writes about travel, lifestyle and work-life balance.