What is the Definition of Upskilling?
Upskilling is what professionals do to improve and increase the skills they’re able to bring to their field. This can be an opportunity you take upon yourself to become more competitive in the industry, or it can be something encouraged and provided by your employer.
You’re an accomplished professional. You’re also humble enough to know that what you’ve done isn’t all that you’re meant to do. Success is a fine balance between appreciating the work you’ve accomplished with the understanding that there is more to be done. And sometimes our skills bring us to a point where our work ethic needs to kick into overdrive in order to move ahead in the industry. This is where upskilling comes in.
Increasing your ability and know-how for the current job you have is just par for the course in today’s rapidly evolving and increasingly tech-driven workforce. Upskilling is critical to keeping you and the work you do sharp, relevant, and effective.
Upskilling is a way for you to make you and your company even better than it already is.
No matter where you are on your path, learning new skills is what keeps you sharp and competitive – whether you’re just getting started in your field and want to sharpen your edge with ChatGPT skills, or you’re staring at year ten in your current position and need a boost to get you and your company to the next level in your field.
If it’s starting to feel like you’re reading about your own life on this page, read on.
What is Digital Upskilling?
At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, digital upskilling is – you’ve guessed it – learning a new skill set in the digital world.
And the 800-pound gorilla of digital upskilling right now, of course, is AI, including mastery of Large Language Models with tools like ChatGPT.
The benefit of digital upskilling is that it saves time and money by developing skills in employees who already work for an organization. This represents a considerable savings over what it would cost to hire and train new employees. Digital upskilling imparts new knowledge and skills to existing human resources, so it’s seen as a long-term investment back into the business and its workforce, while also supporting the professional growth of individual employees.
Digital upskilling is also said to be critical to the longevity of a company by helping to future-proof the business. Some examples of digital upskilling include everything from the all-mighty AI tools that are pervading every aspect of modern business to cybersecurity protocols, and even social media and digital marketing skills.
What is Upskilling and Reskilling?
While upskilling is the act of learning a new skill set for the job you currently have, reskilling is the act of learning a new set of skills for a job you want to become qualified to do, typically within your current company or organization.
When there is mention of reskilling, the term “career-pathing” will often arise.
Career pathing is when a company sets a route for employees that leads them to successively higher positions as they develop within their careers. From a leadership perspective, this is one way to keep your employees personally fulfilled while also benefiting the company.
Benefits of career pathing include:
A Strategic Approach to Upskilling
Your company’s training and development team may encourage or require you to complete training on a new technology being implemented, or maybe you have a job that requires a set number of hours spent on training to keep a credential up to date.
Whatever the reason for obtaining this new knowledge, there are six steps to take throughout the upskilling process:
Set a goal
Ask yourself these questions: Where do I want my career to take me? Where am I now and what’s the next step in advancement? What do I need to know for these things to happen? Knowing exactly what you want from your career and using that desire as your driving force will help you establish actionable goals.
Know where you need to grow
There’s power in identifying areas of opportunity, both in yourself and in the organization. Training in something that isn’t on the cutting edge won’t add significant value to your skillset or to the business and could be a waste of your time and opportunity. Instead, objectively examine the skills your organization really needs to become or remain a market leader.
Find a channel
Consider the medium and method of education – should you train as a cohort with others in your department, or is this a solo endeavor? Should these classes be self-paced, online, or some hybrid of the two?
Practice your new skills
Gone are the days of cramming for an exam and forgetting it the moment you’ve finished. Instead, challenge yourself to apply your new knowledge as soon as the opportunity arises at work. And if the opportunity doesn’t come?
Create it! This is what you upskilled for. Show off your new know-how, impress your bosses, and work toward that next promotion.
Learning is a lifelong process. Once you’ve mastered one skill, choose another. If learning leads to knowledge and knowledge equals power, and if you keep repeating the cycle of upskilling, there’s nothing you won’t be able to achieve.