Why is skill-building so important for future-proofing careers?
In today’s world, the way we work is rapidly shifting. With new technologies arriving faster than we can count, how can we help our students succeed?
The answer is education. By constantly developing new skills and building upon existing ones, students can stay ahead of the game and secure a rewarding, long-term career.
But which employability skills do employees of tomorrow need? For educators, is offering a basic understanding of the technological landscape enough, or do we need to instil more specific knowledge? We’ll highlight the best things to teach your learners in this article.
What skills are students currently learning?
Today’s educational institutions are drilling down on AI, digital marketing, and cloud-based technological skills more than ever before. Tech-heavy jobs related to everything from UX design to blockchain development are rising at unprecedented rates.
But 2023’s best skills to learn aren’t limited to technology. The need for diverse social and emotional skills is also on the rise. Successful employees of tomorrow must have a solid understanding of how the world works, the unique needs of the people around them, and what they want to do with their own lives.
What are the top skills you should learn for the future?
So, with tech-based jobs on the rise and employees needing to interact in new, diverse ways, what are the most profitable skills to teach our students? Or rather, what is the most useful skill to learn?
As automation takes over—along with evolving working arrangements like remote and hybrid positions—modern technological skills are critical. Students will need to explore data analytics, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and other related paths.
Soft skills, like interpersonal intelligence and communication, are just as (if not more!) important, regardless of the student’s chosen career path.
In the next part of this article, we’ll dive deeper into the top skills to learn for future employability, starting with some key hard skills before discussing the soft skills you’ll need to back them up.
Hard tech skills are increasingly sought after in today’s technology-driven world. By imparting these future-ready skills in our students, we’ll prepare them well for decades of stable employment and career growth.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
If there’s one answer to the question, ‘Which skill is best for the future?’, it’s AI.
Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science dealing with the design and development of intelligent machines. American cognitive and computer scientist John McCarthy first coined the term in 1956 in a proposal written for the Dartmouth conference.
While originally a distant dream, AI is now an integral tool in how we live and work, covering everything from virtual assistant technologies like Siri and Alexa to the intelligent algorithms driving social media feeds.
Today, AI is an essential part of many commercial and industrial applications, including speech recognition, robotics, web search engines, translation, and medical diagnosis. Regardless of their field, AI skills will play a driving role in any student’s future career success.
Coding is one of the top skills to learn online today, with many free online course options available. It’s a critical foundational skill applicable to many jobs, from front-end development to data science and beyond. Among other benefits, coding skills allow students to create and manage digital content, make changes to websites and apps, and automate tasks.
According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook website, software and application programming jobs anticipate ‘very strong’ future growth, with the number of Australian workers expected to reach 199,800 by 2025.
Cloud computing is an approach to storing and accessing data, applications, and services over a network. The system has become essential in today’s world, with modern businesses delivering critical communications and storing data in the cloud.
Skills in cloud computing can lead students to several high-paying and stable positions, including:
- Cloud administrator
- Cloud automation engineer
- Cloud architect
- Cloud engineer
- Cloud consultant
- Cloud software engineer
As more and more businesses adopt cloud computing services, demand for the skill is sure to rise. Students can build these skills by pursuing an IT or computer science degree or engaging in certification programs through vendors like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.
Blockchain is a new technology with a decentralised, secure, and immutable architecture. It uses the power of cryptography to generate trust and accountability without needing a centralised authority or third party on-board.
Blockchain technology has revolutionised how people transact, store data, and exchange value. Soon, blockchain technology could play a key role in every industry that deals with transactions or data storage, from engineering to healthcare and beyond—making it one of the best technical skills to learn for career success.
UX (user experience) design
UX design is the process of defining the customer experience, gathering requirements, and developing a design to meet those needs. It is an integral part of any project that involves digital products or services.
UX designers understand how users interact with a product and the improvements necessary to drive better engagement. They have a strong, holistic view of the user’s environment and create high-octane solutions to fit the user’s needs.
UX designers need to think creatively, work collaboratively, understand different perspectives, and empathise with their users. These are all skills that you can learn through education or experience—and they’re also skills employers actively look for when hiring new employees.
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Hard skills are fantastic for helping students enter growing STEM industries—but soft skills are still as important as ever. Teaching these skills through hands-on experiences and projects will help your students impress employers and manage any challenges they might face in the workplace.
Critical thinking is the ability to question information and form an independent opinion. Employers want workers who can think critically because it demonstrates intelligence, creativity, and strong problem-solving skills. Thinking critically goes hand-in-hand with learning agility, another essential employability skill that involves adapting to new challenges.
Today and in the decades to come, critical thinking skills will always be in-demand. Industries from engineering and mathematics to education and healthcare can benefit from employees who can actively conceptualise and apply knowledge.
All in all, there are many reasons why critical thinking skills are essential for the business world—they help us think more creatively, solve problems more effectively, and make better decisions.
Emotional intelligence describes skills that help a person understand and manage emotions—both their own and those around them. Emotional intelligence includes skills like:
Building these skills is essential if you’re looking to boost your employability. Doing so will help you to better understand yourself and the people around you, leading to stronger working relationships, more effective teamwork, and a clearer path to reaching your career goals.
Verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills are crucial in the workplace. Whether you’re public speaking, meeting with your boss, demonstrating digital marketing skills, or answering a client’s questions, you’ll need to communicate effectively to succeed.
A workplace without open communication will never function smoothly. Regardless of their experience or position within the company, all employees should feel comfortable and confident in making their opinions known. That’s why all learning institutions should instil communication skills in their students to elevate their chances of success.
Leadership skills develop through experience and exposure to different leadership styles. Universities and other educational institutions can help students build this skill through hands-on opportunities like project-based learning, internships, work placements, and even online courses.
Here are some of the benefits of having leaders in the workplace:
A leader needs to be confident, persuasive and inspiring. They’ll have the confidence and skill needed to motivate their team, lead ethically, and empower their employees. These traits are necessary for any company to thrive in today’s competitive environment.
How Practera can help
Practera’s experiential learning platform and managed service helps educators deliver transformative educational experiences for students, helping them develop the hard and soft skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace.
Through our innovative platform, educators and institutions can instill these critical hard and soft skills through work-integrated and project-based learning programs at a low cost and at scale. These hands-on assignments offer a powerful way for educators to help students build employability skills, increase retention rates, and improve employability rankings for universities. Our project-based learning managed service also means our team will help you find projects that best suit your needs, with a dedicated program manager by your side. We offer continuous support as we connect your students to industry leaders and help them throughout all stages of the program.
Along with connecting students, educational institutions, and employers, the platform offers a vast range of additional benefits, including peer review features, adaptive learning pathways, in-depth analytics, and detailed performance tracking.