Today’s workplace is not like that of our mothers and fathers. Our parents would pick a single career, like an accountant, lawyer, or teacher, and continue with that role and position for the rest of their life. However, in the last 10-15 years the landscape of employment has changed drastically. Trends in technology have eroded many of what used to be considered reliable and durable career paths, and two boom and bust economic cycles have made hundreds of thousands of people redundant and forced them to seek new careers.
However, that does not mean the jobs have disappeared — they have simply shifted to other sectors. The truth is there are millions of job vacancies that are available right now if you have the right skill sets. And with advances in modern technology, these skills are all accessible through online courses from the confines of your own home. So consider these following 5 options to add some more durability to your resume.
Your future career may be on your desktop.
Math, Statistics and Data Analysis
Big data is now the next frontier for business innovation. With advances in technology the amount of data available is growing exponentially and it’s sweeping into most sectors and businesses. Thus, companies and individuals that are able to harness, organize, and analyze these mega-sets of data stand to benefit greatly. Consequently, a strong foundation in arithmetic, geometry, algebra, statistics, and calculus is extremely valuable. Those who feel like they missed this boat need not worry because websites like Khan Academy do a great job providing quality instruction for free.
One of the major changes in technology is the move from local hosting to cloud-hosted services. Maybe you have heard some of the major buzzwords, virtualization, software as a service (SaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). Essentially what they all mean is that all those space-, labor-, and money-consuming local servers that contain tons of data — and which if broken could take down a company — are all moving to the cloud where storage is safer and cheaper.
One of the most popular cloud based services is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. To help support this trend, there is a huge demand for people with cloud computing and SaaS knowledge. If this piques your interest, ALISON.com offers a free introductory course to cloud computing.
In a tough economy, logistics, also known as the science of supply chain management, is a crucial tool for product-based companies. It is the responsibility of the supply chain manager to minimize the cost of sourcing raw materials, production and distribution of consumer products. Essentially, the supply chain manager is a combination of a bargain hunter and cost cutter, looking to source materials from countries with lower manufacturing costs, and trying to find the cheapest way to get the raw materials to the factory and finished goods to the consumer. With the emergence of e-commerce players like Zappos and Amazon, logistics have never been more important, thus those with knowledge of logistics are in high demand. If that sounds interesting then you can you can enroll in free college-level logistics courses from MIT’s Engineering department via its OpenCourseWare platform.
Just about every major business area has undergone massive changes in the last ten years and marketing is no different. If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, print is dying and online marketing is the future. So, more than ever, businesses need people who understand the landscape of online marketing, which covers Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media.
In simple layman’s terms: SEO helps businesses get found online; content marketing is all about creating valuable content that people want to share; and social media is a platform to share valuable content and engage with consumers. It’s pretty tough to be a whiz in all of these areas, but if you pick one area and become a champ in it, you will definitely be a valuable asset. Hubspot Academy is a great place to start for an excellent primer in online marketing. At the completion of the course series, you are also eligible to receive a certification in Inbound Marketing, all for free!
This may be a no-brainer, but we would be remiss not to mention it. Computers are getting faster and smaller, and more and more applications are coming out that make our lives easier. People want more apps for their personal computers and smartphones, so it’s no surprise that demand for programmers is sky-high. It used to be that programming was for geeks and losers, but now programming is cool, and programmers are the new rock stars. There are a ton of languages to choose from — Objective C, Python, PHP, Ruby, HTML, Java — and specializing in just one is probably enough to get you in the door to an entry-level job. But wait, you have no experience? You can get started with free interactive tutorials at Codeacademy.
The World Is Your Oyster
Yes folks, the world of employment is changing, but that does not have to be a scary thing. Embrace those changes and move with the times. The sands of the employment landscape are moving quickly and you don’t want to get stuck under a mountain. Prepare yourself for the new workforce by learning skills that are in demand now. The truth is that these are just the tip of the iceberg, with a little research you can probably uncover some other in-demand skill sets that can help you land your next job. The best part is there are free resources available to help you master any skill. So what are you waiting for? Pick your passion, get skilled up, and get employed!