You’ve secured a solid job, so there’s no longer any real reason to work on your skills development, right? Wrong! If you want to progress in your career, or simply stay relevant in your current job, then skills development should always be front of mind!
Let’s explore the importance of skills development in the modern workplace.
Why should you constantly develop your skills?
Because continuing professional development (CPD) may be a requirement of your career
In many careers, ongoing skills development is an essential requirement for staying qualified . Many careers in medicine, engineering, accounting, and occupational health and safety have CPD requirements that employees have to fulfil should they want to remain employed. (You can read more about CPD by clicking here).
As an example, OHS professionals who are Technical, Graduate, or Chartered members of the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Saiosh), are required to earn a certain number of CPD points to stay registered.
As reflected by the above example, CPD requirements are usually found in technical fields where people are depending on your expertise to keep them or (as in the case of accounting) their financial resources safe.
Because you need to stay relevant
Even in jobs that don’t have CPD requirements, there is a constant need to update and broaden your skills. Technology is now evolving at such a rapid pace that some learned skills (especially in fields such as IT and digital marketing) can become obsolete in as little as three or four years.
Today, it’s vital that businesses adapt to the fast pace of technological change and the pressure of staying ahead of their competitors. This is one of the reasons why companies increasingly expect employees to be adaptable.
Even though your job title may not change, the tools you need to maintain your effectiveness at that particular job will. If you don’t strive to keep up with new technologies and develop the latest skills, you can’t expect to remain effective at your job, let alone to make progress up the career ladder.
Keep your skills up to scratch with these 6 tips
1. Research, research, research. Use the internet to research the latest trends making waves in your particular field. You may even be able to get a head start on local competitors by finding new technologies or tools that haven’t yet landed in South Africa, but that have started making an impact in developed countries.
2. Sign up for industry-relevant newsletters. You can get some up-to-date information and educational material from free newsletters distributed by reputable organisations in your field.
3. Keep track of your competition. Stay abreast of happenings at competing companies. You may catch wind of new tools and skills that are benefitting them and that you could put to good use.
4. Attend trade shows and workshops. These events often showcase the latest trends and skills that are useful in your industry, and demonstrate how to put them to practical use.
5. Take short courses to help you develop your skills. Short courses are a fantastic way to learn specific skills that will help you to do your job better. Apart from this, your completion certificate proves to employers that you have knowledge of relevant skills.
6. Practise your skills. Once you’ve gained knowledge of new skills, you should practise them whenever you can. Experiment with using your new skills on a project, and see how well they work for you.