We are at the beginnings of a new industrial revolution that will not only fundamentally transform most industries and businesses but will also have a wide-reaching impact on our careers. This new 4th industrial revolution will bring change and innovation at an unprecedented rate, fuelled by technological advancements like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, the internet of things and more.
Businesses need to be agile to react to rapidly changing technology and ways of doing business, so who they need on their team today might be drastically different to who they will need in even the very near future. This has led to a more flexible approach to workforce planning where businesses dynamically create teams with the talent they need for a period of time, often composed of a flexible internal workforce and contractors who come in for one project and then leave again. This gives businesses the flexibility they need to adapt to changing business needs, expand and contract as business dictates, and recruit individuals with the particular skill-set and technical know-how they require for a project. We often refer to this new environment as the gig economy and I believe we will see a shift from long-term employment to shorter-term more flexible gigs.
According to a report from LinkedIn, it’s likely that millennials will hold twice as many jobs by the time they are 30 years old than their colleagues who are 10 years older. Regardless of whether you are a freelancer or a full-time employee of an organisation, I believe that as a result of this change, individuals must treat their careers more like a business of which they are the CEO. The professionals that behave like any effective CEO and prepare and train to be able to supply the skills and resources customers and businesses seek are going to be in command of their professional futures. These employees are those that have an eye on the horizon for upcoming opportunities.
This new reality is enabled by the explosion of internet-based resources that make it easy for anyone to acquire skills in any discipline quickly and cheaply. It means more people have access to essential training than ever before and those that want to forge out on their own can make it happen with the help of abundant free (or cheap) education. It’s those workers that take advantage of these resources who will set themselves up for success. Plus, data-powered career and employment sites fueled by rich data streams make it easier to know and compare the opportunities and rewards available to us.
How committed are you to upgrading your skills and knowledge? There are several learning opportunities that you can take advantage of now to enhance your skill-set to keep you marketable for the changing economy. Here are a few:
On-the-Job Training from Top Colleges
Corporations who want to invest in flexible continuing education for their workers from colleges find value with online educational programmes such as those offered from ExecOnline. This type of service opens the door to professional development programmes from top colleges, but doesn’t require people to leave the office for extended periods of time.
Network for Top-Tier Talent
If the shift for businesses to rely more on contractors rather than full-time personnel is going to work out, there will need to be changes in the way highly skilled talent and those businesses who need them find each other. That’s where businesses such as Toptal come in. This is a network of top-tier talent—developers, designers and financial experts—all screened and verified with a language and personality test, test screenings and test projects. This gives companies a chance to work with freelancers and contractors without any risk at all.
Sometimes it Takes a Crowd
With the power of more than 1 million coders, designers, data scientists and algorithmists at your disposal through the services of Topcoder, organisations have the ability to deliver faster solutions to their tech issues. Through its crowdsourcing marketplace, Topcoder has helped develop and design apps, cognitive solutions, analytics and more quickly and effectively to help businesses get ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
Expand your Knowledge with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
When you consider all the learning you can access from some of the world’s top universities with just an internet connexion, it’s simply incredible. These are free college-level courses on sites such as Coursera, edX and Khan Academy. Although at the end of the courses you will receive certificates of achievement rather than course credits or grades, this is still marketable education and HR executives and recruiters see these certificates as proof of your commitment to upgrading skills and knowledge.
Take charge of your professional development like you’re the CEO of your professional future, because you are. Professionals who show that they are commitment to skills acquisition and personal development will be those poised to be the resources needed by tomorrow’s businesses