How To Level Up Your Skills for the Future of Work

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Is there a spot for us in the future of work? People are concerned because almost everything is getting automated and the unemployment rate for several fields is growing because physical tasks are being done by robots. But we’ve already heard this before.

Between the early 1950s and 1980s, there was a severe crisis because several jobs were automated. For instance, there was no need for farmers to perform manual labor because we had machines that could do the whole work for them. This is the reality that we’re living in now.

At the time, people were afraid because they thought that in the future, there wouldn’t be any space left for humans in the work field. However, fast forward to the present, we came to realize that automation didn’t substitute humans but it created more jobs.

The only thing that is different now is that the growth of automation is incredibly fast. The World of The Economics Forum recently stated that today’s kids will work on jobs that don’t even exist today. Given the circumstance, how do we even prepare ourselves for the future of work?

Are Your Skills Up-To-Date?

The first thing we should ask ourselves is, “Are my skills up-to-date?” Today, tech skills are more in-demand than ever. These skills are shaping the future and will represent most of the future professions. Most professionals who have already secured a place in the future of work are those who dabble with new technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automation.

However, most experts say that there are still other non-technical skills that will continue to be sought-after in the future, especially those that are “human” in nature such as nursing, education, and design.

Learn a New Skill

If none of your current skills are up-to-date, you can always try to learn a new skill. There are several paths for learning a new tech skill from going through a bachelor’s degree in computer science to taking a short-term bootcamp. Every path has its own merits but the idea of learning a new skill is a good way to start a career in tech.

At the same time, you can also identify your transferable skills. Maybe you have good mathematical skills, so you can extend your knowledge in statistics to become a data scientist. Someone with existing marketing skills can do the same by just taking a short digital marketing bootcamp.

Learn New Skills for future work
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In-Demand Skills in the Future of Work

The World Economic Forum estimated that 54% of employees worldwide will have to reskill all of their current skills by 2022. And that is not far away from the present—we’re talking about two years from now. So, today it is crucial that we all start learning the skills of the future.

There are some skills that will be more in-demand than others and here we’ll highlight some of them:

Software Development

The reason why software engineering is so in-demand now and will continue to be so in the future is that it is one of the most important skills in the process of automation. Software development could help companies optimize their processes and also create user-related apps. A software engineer’s work is to develop applications by writing code using languages such as Ruby or Java. Other responsibilities of software engineers include maintaining the applications, improving systems, and identifying bugs.

To become a software engineer, you could take Flatiron School’s software engineering bootcamp where you’ll be trained by software engineering veterans and you’ll learn how to create outcome-driven products. However, there are other great schools where you can learn software engineering such as App Academy or Springboard. You just need to find the best one for you. Software engineering is also a lucrative field, paying senior positions up to $100,000 annually.

Machine Learning Engineering

With the evolution and the exponential growth of automation, machine learning engineering is becoming more in demand. This skill consists of developing programs that could learn automatically from experience. Machine learning systems don’t need human intervention to learn activities as they’ll use data to identify trends and items. Today, machine learning is being used for image identification, forecasting, and learning association, among others.

Do you want some real-life examples of machine learning? Have you ever noticed that Google Photos app recognizes your face or any other person’s face? This process is powered by machine learning. Other applications of machine learning in our daily life include virtual assistants like Alexa or Siri.

If you don’t have any machine learning skills and you’d like to learn its fundamentals, Springboard’s machine learning bootcamp will equip you with everything you need to know about this discipline. Not only you get to learn about machine learning, but also about deep learning which is another great skill under the artificial intelligence umbrella.

Data Science

Data science is another skill that many companies are looking for because it can provide major benefits for their business. A data scientist’s job consists of studying data trends to find useful insights that will solve a problem or forecast a situation. This skill is already bringing a lot of benefits to the drug development industry and the stock market.

The only drawback for companies is that there is a low supply of data scientists. Therefore, it’s hard for them to find a good match. However, this is good for job aspirants like yourself! With a high demand yet a low supply of data scientists, the salary is also higher than any other tech professional. According to Glassdoor, data scientists can make around $113,309 annually.

This discipline doesn’t have a particular bachelor’s degree, however, you can learn this skill by taking a mathematics degree or enrolling in a data science bootcamp. There are great schools like Galvanize where you could learn this skill in less than six months.

Artificial Intelligence Engineer

Artificial intelligence involves machines’ ability to perform human tasks. There’s usually a confusion between artificial intelligence and machine learning, but they’re both different. Although machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence technology, it differs from the latter in the way that it enables machines to mimic our actions.

Artificial intelligence engineering is the skill of the future because most of the products we use are and will continue to be powered by the technology. In fact, it is already happening. There are several everyday products that use artificial intelligence as its main operating system. For example, one of the most outstanding features we can observe is Facebook’s proactive detection function which can identify when someone is trying to commit self-harm.

An artificial intelligence engineer is someone who develops software that emulates human nature by using deep learning, which allows machines to solve complex problems by using data. A great example of deep learning is Google Translate. What’s interesting about deep learning is that it emulates the way the human brain learns. It uses a neuronal network, which is pretty similar to the learning system in our brain.

Tips to Level Up your Skills
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Other Tips to Level up Your Skills

Now that you’ve learned about some of the most crucial skills that will help you secure a place in the future of work, it’s time to look at some tips on how you can retain your position as an invaluable employee, even when tomorrow comes.

Tip #1. Stay on Top of the Latest Trends

This could be the best way to level up your skills. If you dive into the tech industry, you instantly become a life-long learner. So, if you keep an eye on the latest trends, you’ll be able to identify which skills are going to be necessary for the future of your very own work field.

Tip #2. Monitor Leading Companies in Your Industry

It is not only important that you learn to identify new trends, but your company needs to do the same so that they can remain on top of the competition, especially when it comes to tech talent. It’s important for businesses to see what their competitors are doing in terms of technological development so they can think of ways to stay ahead.

Tip #3. Follow Leaders in the Tech Industry

There are many industry leaders out there that are constantly sharing their knowledge on social media. This will give you incredible insights into what’s trending in the tech field and new discoveries that could shape the future of the industry. Following industry leaders like Bill Gates or Satya Nadella is a good start.

Tip #4. Keep an Eye on Industry Publications

Industry publications are a great source of information, especially when you’re trying to keep abreast of the latest in tech. There are several sites on the internet that allow you to access great publications in the tech industry but they’re usually on a paid subscription model. However, you can always find other sites that publish free content for techies.

Tip #5. Don’t Underestimate Your Soft Skills

Robots will be robots and you have something more powerful in your favor—human qualities like empathy and creativity. Although there have been some discoveries on the creativity level of computers, machines haven’t been able to perfectly emulate this skill. Remember that this is still a people-driven business, so keep in mind that soft skills like communication, creative thinking, and leadership ability will always be valuable.

About the Author!

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

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