UPSKILL AT THE OFFICE
Constant change and disruption in the market is affecting your employer’s business and your career. Both can evolve to face the challenges by upgrading capabilities. Since most employers prefer to upskill their existing workforce rather than hire new employees, your office is the best place to start your learning journey. Choose from the compulsory and voluntary training options, including e-learning courses. In addition to formal courses, practical learning at office comes from finding a mentor.
BACK TO SCHOOL
If you want formal training with maximum visibility, go back full-time or part time to school, to acquire fresh certification. A postgraduate qualification in an adjacent or new space, say an MBA, will help make a career switch. Advanced qualification in your own domain will help you jump a level or two at work and qualify for new jobs. Since this is a significant investment of time and money, choose your course of study based on the returns on your effort.
For structured, non-formal learning in your own time, go for online education. You can find relevant free or paid courses such as Westbourne College. For topical learning, you can opt for webinars, podcasts and live online events. Finally, polish your knowledge through social media by tracking industry thought leaders and latest advances in your domain.
ON THE JOB
Get real world skills by learning on the job in an unstructured, but formal setting. The most valuable new skills are those that contribute to your firm immediately, so learn by doing. The best opportunity lies in teams using the skills you need and in coaching new members. Look for the team leader’s approach to work and commitment to the growth of their colleagues.
ONLINE AND OFFLINE JOB
Not all skills are available online. Critical inter-personal skills need to be acquired off-line and away from your primary job. Read blogs and books for information, attend seminars to learn from experts, go to industry events to stay abreast of developments and network with the people you aspire to learn from. Put your new-found knowledge to test by way of internships in spare time. Your experiences add up to real skills that employers love.
Apart from skills that have a direct impact on your current role, learn skills that may not be immediately valuable. Join that language course, start blogging as practice for writing that book or invest in learning a musical instrument. Pursuing skills that you enjoy provide a welcome break and open up new techniques that increase your overall learning speed. Also, volunteer to contribute to the community to acquire social skills.
Apply and reinforce the learning at work or in life. To do so, weave the learning into existing work-life patterns without disrupting your current goals. If you are taking an online class on advanced Excel make it a point to use it in your daily data submissions.