Link to the royalty-free image by Nick Fewings here
In today’s labor market, most workers will change jobs between 12 to 16 times over the course of their life. Recent surveys indicate that among these changes, the majority of workers will also change the field they work in at least twice.
Gone are the days when we prepare for a career, enter a company and stay, working our way up the company hierarchy. Instead, businesses change, the labor market changes, and we must be flexible and adapt and change along with it.
These are good reasons why it is important to always be acquiring new skills. The one thing we can be certain of, regarding the future of our employment, is that things will change – and in most instances, they will change radically.
Another thing we can be certain of is that technology will drive these changes, and our level of technical skills will determine, to a large extent, how well we are able to adapt and thrive in this changing environment.
In this short article, we’ll take a look at some of the main tech skills to keep you employable so that you are prepared to face the changes we know are coming.
Learning for Learning’s Sake
To a large extent, it is impossible to train for tomorrow’s technology. How can we learn a system or software that has not been developed yet? However, we can be sure that regardless of the profession we choose, regardless of the job we seek, we will be required to learn something new.
This is why it is important to demonstrate to recruiters and prospective employers that you:
- Possess a desire and willingness to learn
- Have the ability to learn and adapt
The desire and ability to learn is one of the top skills employers look for in employees. Any course, training program, or webinar you complete – regardless of the topic – is a plus that should be highlighted on your resume.
If you are applying for a position as a project manager, for example, even completing a cooking class shows the recruiter or prospective employer that you possess key attributes that they are looking for.
- You are intellectually curious
- You are eager to learn new skills
- You have the work ethic to follow things through and take them to their completion
- You are happy to go beyond your comfort zone
- You are not deterred by the prospect of failing
- You have the resilience of spirit and the intellectual capacity to acquire new skills
These are skills any recruiter or prospective employer wants to see in a candidate. Therefore, learning for learning’s sake is a big positive. Your resume should be loaded with courses and certificates across a broad range of fields and topics.
Tech Skills as Building Blocks
Link to the royalty-free image by Nathan Dumlao here
New technologies don’t spring up overnight. They don’t come into existent out of thin air. A new software program, a new development in AI, a new app – these are always extensions, reimaginings, or repurposing of existing technologies. This is why, when we talk about new programs or technological advancements, we use the word “develop” and not “invent”.
Even game-changing “breakthroughs” such as computers or the internet have their origins in systems and technologies that existed at the time (the World Wide Web had its precursor in the Minitel in France, for example).
Some building blocks are more useful than others. Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent building blocks in technology today.
To Code or Not to Code
In the last decade or so, we have seen a growing movement in low-code or no-code. This is an attempt to make app development and software development more accessible to more and more people.
In the past, if you wanted to build a website, you would need to use code. Today, there are drag and drop editors that treat web design much like legos. Does this mean we don’t need to learn how to code?
In short, coding is not as valuable a skill as it was 10 to 15 years ago. However, because it has gone down in value, that means that fewer and fewer people are tackling the challenge of learning it – which has the value pendulum swinging back towards high value.
Code is a language. And we can assess its value in a similar way that we can assess learning a foreign language. With computer-assisted translation programs and the relative ubiquity of the English language, one could argue that with a good working knowledge of English, one need not learn a second foreign language.
But when someone has learned a second foreign language besides English (or in the case of someone who has English as their native tongue and has learned at least 1 foreign language), they have demonstrated the following positive attributes:
- Intellectual curiosity
- A capacity and willingness to learn
- The ability to assimilate to different processes and different ways of thinking
The list goes on, and it strongly resembles the list of positive attributes recruiters or prospective employers look for in their candidates.
The same applies to coding – not to mention the practical ability of being able to code.
Customer relationship management systems feature event-based automation paths. This means that an event – a user visiting a website, clicking on a link, etc. – can trigger a series of predetermined actions such as sending a pop-up form or a chatbot. This type of chain-reaction process is very common in CRM systems and is used in a wide variety of fields and positions within a company – from customer relations to sales, marketing, and nearly anything in between.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Content management systems are tools that facilitate the creation and management of digital content. They play an integral role in both enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM). For any type of collaborative work environment, a working knowledge of CMS is a must. And it is hard to imagine a future where collaboration doesn’t play an important role.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Whether it’s raising brand awareness, engaging with existing customers, or trying to attract new customers, having an online presence is a must. But it’s not enough to simply exist online. You need to be visible, have the maximum number of people see you and be able to find you easily.
This is the skill of search engine optimization. It entails understanding search engine algorithms and how to create or optimize online content to appeal to these algorithms.
From a broader perspective, SEO skills also show the ability to empathize or examine a topic from other people’s point of view since you need to imagine or discover how other people might search for solutions to their queries. When presented the right way on a resume, SEO skills go beyond tech skills and venture into people skills and out-of-the-box thinking.
The more you know, the more attractive you are to prospective employers. The more you learn, the more you show prospective employers that you possess the aptitude and desire to learn and grow – key attributes of any desirable job candidate.