7 Steps to Upskill Yourself for Your Career (2023 Updated)


No matter how far up you’ve climbed the career ladder, it’s never wise to get too comfortable. Unprecedented circumstances like the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrate that you never know what’s about to happen. In today’s world, where digital reigns supreme, trends toward digitalisation are accelerating, leaving those who lack the necessary technical skills behind. 


The best thing any professional can do is continuously upskill with an eye toward the future. Here are 7 steps to upskill yourself to adapt to the ever changing job landscape—no matter which industry you’re in and what your current position is, followed by every other aspect you need to know about upskilling. 



Definition of Upskilling

Upskilling is the very process of utilising additional training or education to build up and advance your current skills. It’s an endeavour you can take on yourself or to be provided to others.

Some instances of upskilling include taking a coding workshop to develop your programming knowledge or attending a virtual conference to learn about emerging industry trends. Bear in mind that upskilling is different from reskilling, which is when you acquire new skills to do a different job. 



The Importance of Upskilling

Technology evolves and advances industries at an exponential rate. This can create a gap between the skills of an existing workforce and the skills that are now essential to effectively execute their jobs. Based on the Graduates Statistics 2021 published by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, there exists a skill gap amongst the 33.9% of graduates working in semi- and low-skilled job categories. Many of them find the careers they studied for are not in high demand, have no available vacancies or that they require additional hands-on knowledge and skills which can only be acquired through work experience, thus opting for a job irrelevant to their studies.


Upskilling presents a solution to this labour problem. By advancing the skills of current and future professionals, the skill gap can be bridged. On top of that, both employers and employees will benefit from less turnover, expanded growth opportunities, and increased work productivity and satisfaction. In short, upskilling enables professionals to take charge of their own career mobility and employers to source top talent as well. 



7 Steps to Upskill Yourself in Your Career


1. Identify Your Goals


The first step to upskilling is to identify your end goal. Get started by asking yourself what you want to achieve in your career. Perhaps you’re in an entry-level position and wish to be promoted to a senior role, or even a CEO, maybe. Keeping that goal at the forefront of your plan is vital to achieving it. 



2. Recognise Your Knowledge Gaps


With an ultimate goal in mind, it’s time to figure out what your knowledge gaps are. To do this, simply browse through job descriptions for your desired position and point out the skills you’re currently lacking. Alternatively, you can talk to a superior and ask about the type of skills he or she is looking for in a viable candidate for your desired position. Once you’ve identified your knowledge gaps, you can start planning on how you can bridge them.



3. Seek Out Professional Training 


Of course, the best way is to participate in a training program or course. Once you’ve identified areas of weakness you think could affect your job performance in the future. For example, you want to learn Python to analyse data more effectively, it’s time to take action. 

Having said that, not all courses are created equal. Look for ones that are recognised by industry experts or a professional body. 


One of the courses you should consider attending is Digital Upskilling—a skill more necessary than ever as workplaces continue to operate remotely, if not, utilise digital channels to the fullest extent. You may level up your career by attending relevant training such as the Digital Up designed by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) which carries more than 60 accredited digital technology courses including Python Programming, SEO, Big Data, Social Media Marketing, Mobile App Development Using Flutter, just to name a few. Seize the opportunity to be upskilled and apply today at  MDEC Digital Up website. 




4. Put Your New Skills to Use


Now is the time to act on your newly acquired skills. First off, you may start contributing some of your newfound knowledge in a meeting or offer to help out a colleague who uses your skill but currently has a lot on their plate. If you apply your new skill well, you might impress others and open yourself up to new, bigger opportunities. 

After testing your skills, you’ll feel confident enough to make drastic moves. You can request your superiors for more autonomy on a project or even about expanding your job scope. Once you successfully demonstrate the worth of your valuable new skills and when the time comes, you can work on negotiating a promotion or a raise.



5. Stay Abreast Of Emerging Technologies and Trends


Once and for all, the world is changing, more rapidly than ever. However, many intelligent people make the mistake of thinking that holding onto their jobs suffices to stay on top of industry developments. That’s simply not the case.

The easiest option to ensure you’re constantly aware of the latest trends is to follow social media accounts or subscribe to email newsletters published by experts in your industry. You may begin by following pioneering companies and individuals in your sector and be committed to learning as you discover increasingly niche content.



6. Establish Your Social Media Presence


Keeping up to date with the latest trends is one thing; it’s also important that you participate in the conversation. Many people feel shy or scared to publish content on the internet in case they “get it wrong”, but you need not position yourself as a LinkedIn influencer or even a top leader until you’re ready. Start by picking the medium you’re most comfortable with (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) and posting whatever you deem authentic. That could mean writing long-form articles on your own blog, sharing industry-related articles on Twitter, or writing about industry trends on LinkedIn, and so on and so forth. 



7. Read As Much As You Can


Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. We reside in a world where attention spans are growing shorter and the bigger picture is being lost in the news cycle; the best solution to this is to read books that delve deep into ideas. 

Reading allows you to connect with various happenings in the world, historically, socially and culturally. Ultimately, you’ll become more creative, wise, and innovative.


Moving Forward


Bear in mind that you don’t have to follow all six tips on this list to upskill yourself and adapt to the fast-paced job landscape. Once you’ve got a solid plan in place, start by doing one thing at a time, really well, rather than trying to spread yourself too thin. With that, we urge you to start taking those baby steps right about now so you can thank yourself in a few years down the road. 


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