Let us breakdown the factors which will help you determine what you should go for between upskilling and reskilling.
What is Upskilling?
Upskilling refers to the process of acquiring new skills that complement and build upon an individual’s existing skillset. This can involve taking courses or training in a new technology, software, or methodology that improves the individual’s abilities in their current role. Upskilling is a deliberate initiative to speed-up the process of gaining knowledge through years of experience.
What is reskilling?
Upskilling and reskilling are complementary to each other, but they relate to different things. Reskilling refers to the process of learning entirely new skills in a different field or industry. This can involve a significant shift in career focus or a complete change in job function.
Today, recruiters are on the lookout for individuals who are not just elevating their skill base (upskilling) but also widening them (reskilling). The business environment is facing a lot of new challenges be it in tech, banking or services sectors. The key is to become managers who are capable of finding solutions these complex problems.
WHAT SHOULD YOU GO FOR – UPSKILLING OR RESKILLING?
The decision to upskill or reskill depends on a variety of factors. Let us illustrate that with the help of a few examples.
- Industry trends and demands: The latest trends can help individuals identify skills that are in high demand and where their career may be headed. A healthcare professional may decide to upskill in telemedicine technologies, to address the rise in demand for remote patient care.
- Personal interests and goals: Your goals play an important factor in deciding the next course of action. A graphic designer might upskill by taking a course on web design, learning a new software like Sketch or Adobe XD, or improving their knowledge of typography or user experience design. By doing so, the designer can expand their skillset and become more valuable to their employer or clients.
- Job market conditions: You must be aware of the current conditions of your industry and the transitions happening in it. If job opportunities in a certain industry are few, a person may decide to reskill. A journalist who lost his job due to decline of print media might reskill by learning digital marketing or social media management. He can transfer his writing and communication skills to a new field and find employment in a related role.
- Company culture and opportunities: Human Resource is one of the most valuable assets of a company. Today many companies value employee development and offer training opportunities. You must keep yourself up to date with these opportunities and make good use of them.
- Financial resources: For example, if a person has limited financial resources, they may decide to upskill in a cost-effective way by taking free online courses or attending workshops, rather than enrolling in a full-time degree program.
MISTAKES TO BE MINDFUL OF WHILE UPSKILLING AND RESKILLING
While upskilling or reskilling can have a positive impact on one’s career, there are several things to be mindful of:
- Choosing the wrong skills: It is essential to choose skills that are relevant to your career goals and aligned with industry trends. Choosing the wrong skills can lead to a waste of time, effort, and resources. For example, learning outdated software or technologies can negatively impact your career prospects, irrespective of the time and effort spent.
- Overvaluing certifications: Certifications can be valuable in certain industries, but they are not always necessary or sufficient to demonstrate proficiency. Focusing too much on obtaining certifications can lead to neglecting practical experience, which is often more valuable to employers. For example, a person who obtains a certification in project management may still lack the practical experience necessary to excel in that role. Therefore, you must make sure to look for job opportunities where you can apply the skills you learn through certification courses.
- Ignoring soft skills: Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, are essential in most workplaces. Neglecting soft skills can limit your career prospects and impact your ability to work effectively in a team. For example, a software developer who neglects communication skills may struggle to work collaboratively with other developers, leading to delays and a negative impact on project outcomes.
- Neglecting the importance of networking: Building professional networks and relationships is crucial for career growth and development. Neglecting networking can limit opportunities for career advancement and hinder your ability to stay up to date with industry trends.