Education in a Skills-Based Economy

man sitting at desk typing on laptop

How Education Is Changing and What It Means For Your Career

Education is changing, and it's changing at a much faster pace than many people are prepared to admit.

For highly-regulated industries, such as medicine and law, the institutionalized process of accreditation will maintain its stronghold. And, for the most part, that is encouraged. After all, we want extremely robust processes in place for training doctors.

However, when it comes to the technology landscape where we see unprecedented change, new jobs and a growing skills gap, our education systems need to adapt.

Instead of relying on once-and-done training programs that become obsolete in a matter of years, those that work in tech-driven roles should be trained and assessed based on competency.

This is a skills-based economy.

What is a skills-based economy?

Put simply, a skills-based economy is one where job candidates are assessed based on applied competency and industry-approved qualifications, such as those offered by EmergingEd.

For tech roles, where new frameworks and complex problems are being developed at a rapid pace, it's integral to adapt the education system to keep up. It's simply not possible to create a broad training program that overcomes all of the red tape of an institution quickly enough before it becomes irrelevant and outdated.

Businesses are much further along in this transition than you may think, too. Leading tech giants such as Google and Amazon already conduct lengthy (typically 5 to 6 weeks) and heavily skills-based assessments on new job candidates. It's just a matter of time before all tech companies follow suit.

To assist people through this challenging process, and even more importantly prepare them for the rigors of an ever-changing workplace, online training companies are creating micro-accreditations for specific areas of expertise.

Competencies vs textbooks

An emerging challenge with the skills-based economy is the lack of practicality that comes with traditional learning. Especially in technology-centric roles, it's nearly impossible to learn a new skill quickly without hands-on guidance from an expert.

Traditional learning programs don't provide access to on-the-job experts, and are instead, reliant on academics or out-of-touch professionals who don't have their finger on the pulse of industry change.

This is the gap in the education sector that is being filled by online learning companies. Progressive learning platforms, such as EmergingEd, provide professional tools and expert training directly from industry professionals. But the real differentiator, when it comes to employability, is the credential you can earn that carries the power and recognition of traditional university brands. It's the best of both worlds.

Are you affected by this trend?

Should you be worried about this trend in education? Will it affect your industry?

Well, the simple answer is yes. All industries use technology and technology skills and competencies are rapidly changing.

That said, these professional disciplines are most affected at the moment:

  • Cybersecurity. Up-skilling in cyber risk management and threat intelligence will make you a valuable asset to your organization.
  • Data Science. Data is becoming the driver of all business decisions. Skills such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, data visualization and data modeling are all critical for the future of tech.
  • Blockchain. Blockchain is the most in-demand hard business skill in 2020 due to its ability to improve operational efficiency and aid business-wide innovation.
  • Health Tech. Healthcare is adopting more and more technology every year and areas such as health informatics and integrated health service analytics are becoming much-needed skillsets.
  • Digital Marketing. As marketing personalization, automation and data-driven decisions continue to take over the digital world, regular training is essential to stay competitive.
  • Design. Design thinking that enhances the user experience can significantly benefit the sustainability and growth of a business.

These are the top skills being impacted by continuous technological change and shifts in training programs. How will these changes influence your job? Will it be a burden or an opportunity?

The future of your career

It's easy to think; “Oh, this won't affect my career.”

But, the reality is, the information you learn at university only has a shelf life of five years.

If you rest on your laurels, your industry will outpace you.

For some, this is frightening. For others, it's an opportunity.

Instead of worrying or stressing about working in a profession that could become irrelevant due to technological change, why not do something about it?

Learn new skills, such as the ones mentioned above, and become an irreplaceable person within your organization.

In the end, you need to ask yourself this question: Will your current skills be relevant in the future?

You may not even know the answer to that question but you can safeguard your career by being proactive.

Jeff Bullas is a digital marketing and machine learning expert and the owner of Forbes calls him a top influencer of chief marketing officers and the world's top social marketing talent, and Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch.

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