Continuing professional development is the key to success in your career. The jobs you do today are vastly different from those your parents did. In the US, work is no longer dominated by farming, mining or even manufacturing. Instead, it is dominated by marketers, analysts, and salespeople. The nature of work is constantly changing. In a decade’s time, the skills you need to keep ahead may be completely different than today’s skills.
And the pace of change is accelerating. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other innovations have already had a major impact on what you do at work. Computer literacy is no longer even listed as a requirement when employers are advertising open positions. It’s a given that all workers know how to use spreadsheets, email, and word processors as well as customer or client management software.
So, work is changing. You could be left behind if you don’t keep changing and developing too. That’s why the number one quality that people need to develop to stay ahead isn’t even a skill. It’s a mindset. Learning should never stop. Not after school; not after university. And luckily there are amazing resources available to take advantage of. If you commit to developing new skills, learning new techniques, and keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change, you will reap the benefits.
It’s not just about doing your job more effectively, more efficiently. You could create whole new opportunities for yourself. You can fortify yourself in your job, free from any anxiety that you could be replaced or that technology could make you redundant.
Having your mindset focused on building skills and learning will also give you a sense of security in your career progression. You can direct it. You can identify what you need to rise higher, go further and become a more influential part of your team.
The internet has destroyed so many jobs. We no longer need travel agents. Jobs as librarians and archivists are becoming things of the past. But the internet has also made it so much easier to learn and perfect new skills. YouTube is a great place to start. There are thousands of introductory videos looking at nearly every skill.
I can understand you may feel a little hesitant to trust anyone who can upload a YouTube video. Others have felt the same way. That’s why they’ve created sites like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. Here, there are hundreds of courses that will help you build confidence and ability in diverse fields. Do you want to know how to code? Well, take your pick of Java, Python, C++ or any other language. Softer skills are served as well. Public speaking is perhaps one of the most overlooked skills you need if you are to succeed in business. Writing is similarly a skill that is needed in nearly every role in the modern office.
You must never stop learning. Every day you will gain new insights into how to do your job better, more easily, and more effectively. If you embrace a mindset where you actively look to develop skills, you will benefit by being more satisfied in your job, being more secure in your role, and creating opportunities that you can take advantage of.