Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and even self-driving cars are not just what you see in movies anymore, it’s part of our reality now. As our world and the workforce continue to rapidly evolve, a qualification won’t guarantee you a successful career. It’s time to update your bag of skills to future proof your career.
Why do you need these skills?
For starters, the skills many of us have now might not be enough for us to progress in the future. The technology has changed how we work and connect and with it creating many changes to processes. Then there’s Industry 4.0, where computers and automation come in and have begun introducing major shift to the work force.
Plus, when you think about it, 2020 is less than 2 years away. It’s time to catch up on the new era skills for your future self.
Top Skills You Need for The Future Workforce
1. Cognitive Flexibility
Cognitive flexibility can be defined as the ability to shift our thoughts between different concepts or perspective. You can also think of cognitive skills as how your brain understands and processes new information and recalls past knowledge. It involves how an individual plan, consider reactions, make judgements and even the ability to shift their thinking to consider different paths.
It is an increasingly important skill to have because a person’s cognitive can play a big role in how they work. Those who has cognitive flexibility tend to have better reasoning fluidity and understanding. This flexibility is also an important driver of organisation transformation.
You can develop and enhance your cognitive ability by:
- Becoming a “student” again. This can mean by attending short courses, workshops or even solving puzzles. The objective is to exercise your brain by doing challenging mental activities
- Take some time in a day for mindful training. The goal is to quiet your mind to monitor your thoughts
2. Computational Thinking
The advancement of technology has brought on fears that some jobs will be taken over by AI and computers. But fret not, human touch will still be required in most jobs. The key element here is to make sure you keep your skills relevant. Sure, there’s computers to help us do a large chunk of our work these days but, knowledge of how to use it to your advantage is important.
Before we can use computers to get a job done or solve a problem, the problem itself and the ways in for it to be resolved must first be understood. Here’s where computational thinking skills will help you because it will help you to know what exactly to do with the computer. There are 4 key techniques to computational thinking which are:
- Decomposition Breaking down a complex problem into smaller parts that are more manageable
- Abstraction Focus on the important parts of information only, and ignore details which are irrelevant.
- Pattern Recognition Like computers, look for similarities between things or a problem.
- Algorithms Setting up a list of steps for you to follow that will help in completing a task.
3. New Media Literacy
One day over coffee, my friend told me that her 80-year-old grandmother has a Facebook account and was asking the grandchildren for their Facebook ID. Time to get real here, if the older folks are using it, it’s evident that social media and connectivity is becoming a big part of our lives.
So, this means having skills for it can give you an extra edge for your career. The skills and ability you should be aiming to hone are:
- ability to adapt to change and think strategically in relation to the new media
- ability to critically assess and also develop content that use new media platform
Additionally, if you have the skills of assessing your audience and creating a strategy for new media platforms, you could have a potentially dynamic career.
You can check out this Digital Marketing Specialist course from Digital Marketing Institute to hone your new media skills.
4. Emotional Intelligence
Having a high EQ can influence both your performance and your capacity to perform well in the workplace, making it an increasingly important skill to have. We have been putting focus on an individual’s IQ for so long, but these days a person’s EQ will also be something that is looked at in the workplace.
IQ determines our intelligence, while EQ has to do with how you communicate, ability to adapt and your capacity for working with your teammates, clients, and anyone you meet. So, EQ is important in the workplace as it can determine how well we work and play with others.
For example, when emotionally intelligent people are upset with someone, they are more likely to talk to the person and attempt to work things out. This way, problems can be solved faster and efficiently.
People with high EQ will also be able to take in constructive criticism and feedback. This will then result in improved performance and productivity over time and can help you climb the career ladder faster.
You can enhance your EQ by:
- listening to others with an open mind
- Improve your empathy skills
- learn how to read other people’s body language
- Create personal boundaries to help you filter negative emotions and maintain your cool
5. Virtual Collaboration
Finally, this is a skill that you should have and adapt to because we live in a virtual age. Essentially, virtual collaboration can be defined as working in a team across digital tools in order to accomplish tasks.
When successful, virtual collaboration will enable individuals to work together and collaborate without constraints of location. Here’s how to make virtual collaboration work:
- Make sure you a familiar with the tools you will need such as Zoom and Skype for conferencing and Dropbox or Google Docs for sharing work.
- Being mindful of your behaviour. Just because someone is not in front of you, civility and professionalism should still be practiced.
Many of us are not in favour of meetings and find it as wasting time. However virtual collaboration can replace in person meetings, save time and also increase overall productivity if it is done through the right process.
Remember that it’s not always wise to work hard, you should be working smarter and arm yourself with the right skills and tools. Just as we can grow muscles by working out, we can get these skills by putting in the necessary efforts.