How Upskilling Can Open Doors To Better Professional Opportunities

4th May 2019

We live in a VUCA world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and with Ambiguities. VUCA is prevalent in the IT industry as well, that necessitates organizations to be prepared for technological challenges and innovations at all times. With the rapid changes in technological advancements, it is imperative that organizations are geared to meet the changes and keep pace with business needs, enabled by appropriately created technological upskill advancements programs for their employees. The preparedness of such organizations lead to employees being technologically strong and nimble, fuelling the growth of businesses and their own careers.

While for most professionals, money is the key driver, alongside being in demand in the market place for their skills, it requires technological upskilling at a faster pace to remain professionally relevant in such a dynamic industry.

Employees who have a focussed upskilling plan are more likely to;

  • Stay connected with the technological advancement trends
  • Have several opportunity windows for career advancements, switching roles, etc. (Narrowed specialization will have limited opportunities)
  • Move away from the linear learning and picking up or branching out into new areas of expertise, creating more professional opportunities
  • Take up challenging roles
  • Have a rewarding career, and are confident of maximizing their employment opportunities

According to a study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute in 2018, in a span of the next 10 to 20 years, 65% of the activities will be automated; the balance 35% cannot be automated – This is where employees need to challenge themselves through ideating technological design and programming to stay in demand in the AI & Cognitive skills era, along with critical disruptive thinking, analysis and complex problem solving.

Having said this, how does one go about upskilling? It is very important for both, the organizations and individuals to increase their scope of industry knowledge by focusing on technologies that are currently prevalent, anticipate the trend of future technologies and have a readiness plan in place so that they do not become redundant and can remain in the frontline of the industry. As this entails significant investment, which cannot guarantee 100% ROI, most organizations and employees are cautious, and the risk appetite on taking decisions on high-cost investments become lower. Constant vigilance on the behavior of the market in response to the technological changes will help in making decisions on employee developmental investments. However, from the employee perspective, a wise risk investment plan will yield more of an advantage than a peril, as one never knows when the learning will come to one’s rescue.

So, what are the ways through which one can upskill? It is a proven fact that 70% on the job training, 20% classroom training, and 10% coaching or mentoring is the ideal way of developing successful and efficient employees. In addition, extending financial support for technical skill certifications and having tie-ups with online training will be an added advantage. Hence opportunities need to be created in the organizations by way of providing innovative technological initiatives, hackathons, technical knowledge sharing sessions, quiz, white paper presentations, blogs, etc. Lastly, creating a culture of learning and providing for a technically challenging environment will ensure employees stay committed to the organization and enhance their career opportunities.

Article Authored by: Vidya Vachaspathi, Director – HR, Ciber

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