Upskilling and reskilling: secure your future

Smiling female employee considers upskilling

The job market is in a state of flux. Increasing automation. Artificial intelligence. Smart technology. They are all disrupting traditional employment opportunities. Plus, Australia’s digital economy has transformed rapidly in response to nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns. So things can seem a bit uncertain. The best thing to do in uncertain times? Take control of your future. It’s time for action. So, let’s talk about upskilling and reskilling.

In-demand skills

The first thing to do improve your employment opportunities is to identify the most valuable skills in the future job market. So once you acquire them, you know you’re going to be in demand.

Thankfully, LinkedIn Learning has already done this for you. Their 2020 Workplace Learning Report identifies the 15 most in-demand soft skills and hard (technical) skills, based on hiring rate relative to the supply of people with these skills.

The soft skills identified were human-centric skills, such as:

  • creativity
  • persuasion
  • collaboration
  • adaptability
  • emotional intelligence.

The hard skills were dominated by analytical and data-centred skills, along with digital skills.

Thanks, LinkedIn Learning. Next? Develop some of these skills to futureproof your employment.

What’s the difference between upskilling and reskilling?

Upskilling refers to learning new skills to improve your performance – and possibilities – in your current career. It means developing advanced or additional skills to make you more effective and efficient in your present job. As a result, you’ll be a keeper.

Let’s say you’re an IT professional in an organisation facing cybersecurity threats. In this case, upskilling through Charles Sturt University’s Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security will help you add value in your current role – and set you up for future career opportunities. Quickly. Four online subjects will give you the grad cert. Furthermore, you may be eligible for credit for some subjects thanks to your existing experience or qualifications.

Reskilling refers to learning a new set of skills in order to move into a completely new occupation. Here you’re talking retraining for a different job. And that’s going to be a necessity if the tasks or responsibilities in your current job become outdated due to advances in technology.

An example. If you are a displaced accounting clerk you could use Charles Sturt’s Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Science to reskill as a data analyst. First you could enrol in a single subject over summer – ITC556 Database Systems. This would help you get a jump start on your new qualification. Then within just a few months you could be on your way to a whole new – secure – career.

Did you know? If you start a grad cert with Charles Sturt in November, you could graduate with a new qualification in just six months!

So should I be upskilling or reskilling?

Both upskilling and reskilling can help secure your future. So which one’s for you? Well, that depends on your current needs and your career aspirations.

Upskilling will enable you to enhance your value to your existing employer. So you can do it without moving positions. As you build upon your existing skills, you’ll be securing your current spot. Moreover, you’ll set yourself up to grab any attractive opportunities that come along.

Upskilling will help you advance along your current career path, either with the same organisation or within the same industry.

Reskilling will help you transition between job functions and industries, whether that’s by necessity or choice.

Automation as opportunity

As technology continues to advance, there will be job roles that become obsolete due to automation. So if your current work falls into this category, you’ll need to reskill by gaining a certification to be employable in a new field. That could mean a whole new, rewarding career.

Moreover, the sooner you start working towards getting the knowledge and skills necessary to move into an in-demand area, the better position you’ll be in when the time comes.

Of course, you may choose to reskill to move into another area that interests you. Always wanted to be a high school teacher? Maybe now’s your time to start reskilling with Charles Sturt’s Master of Teaching (Secondary) and pursue that career you’ve always dreamed about.

Soft skills – the skills that never get old

Developing your soft skills is a smart investment in your future. Because these skills will always be in demand. Skills like creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and emotional intelligence are foundational to success in any role. Furthermore, they transcend all industries.

When you need – or want – to transition between jobs or industries, soft skills will help you do it. We’re so sure of this, at Charles Sturt we’ve embedded soft skills into all our degrees.

And if you’re looking to develop specific soft skills, our Graduate Certificate in Community Leadership and Resilience has plenty of micro-subjects to choose from.

Don’t wait – start upskilling now

As technology continues to evolve and job requirements change, upskilling and/or reskilling will help you secure your future. You can start right now with single subject study. And if you choose to study a related course afterwards, like a graduate certificate, you can get credit for your subject!