Do you ever find yourself wondering what will happen in 10, 20 or 30 years – and whether your job will still be around? Or are you excited to be on the cutting edge and to help shape the future? If you answered yes to either of these, then perhaps you should future proof your career.
What does it mean to future-proof something? Simply, it’s the concept of anticipating what is likely to happen in the future – both positive and negative – and cultivating effective methods of minimising the negative, while maximising the positive. For careers, this means looking ahead at trends, forecasts and industry predictions, and taking steps to determine that what you do now will be as valuable in the future as it is in the present. But if the future seems bleak for you, then there are a number of things you can, and should, consider doing.
Here’s how to stay ahead of the pack in an ever-evolving workforce.
Steps to start future-proofing your career in any industry
We’re now entering a time where the lines between humans and machines are blurred. Artificial intelligence (AI) can process incredible amounts of data and give deep insights into how we live, that will change everything from how we allocate resources and reduce waste. AI can influence how we create art and even how we form communities. Machine learning, increased automation and robotic manufacturing will disrupt many industries, leading to more efficient work processes.
Unfortunately, this also means that some jobs will become automated, and those with outdated skills will struggle to find employment, while those who have upskilled with relevant qualifications will flourish.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can ensure you’ll be ready for the jobs of the future. Here are 10 simple steps to future-proof your career:
1. Stay flexible
Change can be uncomfortable, and we can all feel the urge to fight against it or hide our heads in the sand. To prepare for the future we need to accept that change is inevitable and that it can be positive. If you’re willing to be adaptable, you’ll always be able to find opportunities in any situation.
2. Be proactive
Take your future into your own hands and start planning! The first step is to research the trends in your industry, so you can predict how they’ll change. What processes are likely to become automated? Keep one eye out for new opportunities, and seek out employers who support staff to keep learning new skills and plan for long-term sustainability.
3. Start learning and don’t stop
Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and decide which skills you need to develop based on the research you’ve done about your industry. Next, create a learning plan that sets learning goals for one, five and 10 years from now. Once you’ve developed your plan you can find the right online courses and start learning.
4. Develop your soft skills
‘Soft skills’ are those core skills applicable to all industries, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and critical thinking. These skills will always be valuable and in demand, no matter how technology changes. Therefore, they’re a foolproof way to make yourself appealing to employers. Seek out opportunities at work that give you a chance to take on responsibilities and develop these skills. Finding a mentor can also be a great way to get feedback and discover development opportunities.
5. Think globally
The world is becoming more and more connected, and bringing a more international approach to your job is a desirable skill for employers. Research global trends in your field, and try to create connections with people in your industry overseas by joining online forums and attending events. It’s also helpful to learn about other cultures and cultural sensitivity, to improve your ability to collaborate globally.
6. Create a strong network
Networks are a fantastic way to find new opportunities. You can expand your professional network by attending training courses, joining professional associations, and attending webinars and online courses. Don’t neglect your personal networks either, you never know where an opportunity might come from!
7. Create a digital profile
As the world moves online, you can enhance your options by working on your digital profile. Use LinkedIn, Twitter and other networking tools to create a professional profile, listing your qualifications and achievements, and make sure you keep it updated as you learn new skills.
8. Keep a success journal
To demonstrate to a future employer what an asset you are, you need to keep track of your achievements. Start by listing your tasks and projects, and the milestones you’ve reached, then make sure to note your training and professional development activities. It’s also great to keep a record of your performance reviews and appraisals.
9. Nurture your resilience
We all have times when we struggle to deal with change or disappointment, in our lives and in our careers. The people who are most successful are those who learn to be resilient when things go awry. It’s important to always look at mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. Developing broad skills and experiences will help you bounce back from any setbacks. You can also develop resilience by looking after your physical and mental wellbeing, and maintaining a healthy social and family life outside of work.
10. Be open to changing path
Sometimes you do everything you can, and things still don’t work out. That’s why it’s important to constantly consider your options and to acknowledge when you need to change paths. For many people, this means switching to a career in the rapidly expanding tech industry. This can be an exciting opportunity, with many advantages.
What are the advantages of a career in tech?
While it’s impossible to predict the future, one of the few things we do know is high-level technical skills will be more in demand than ever before. In the 4th Industrial Revolution, software engineers will have the opportunity to work in almost any industry, from medicine to architecture to manufacturing, and they’ll be able to design an exciting and varied career for themselves. By getting ahead of this trend you can not only future-proof your career, but you can also make sure your skills will be in demand. If you’re interested in seizing the moment, consider upskilling in tech and take your first step towards an exceptional future.
Is it too late to get into the tech industry?
As the saying goes, the best time to start was yesterday, but the second best time is right now. If you’re committed, you’ll learn skills you can put to use very quickly. Keep in mind, too, that not every tech role requires technical skills. You could consider roles in tech companies such as product development, quality assurance, technical writing, operations management, marketing or human resources – the opportunities are only as limited as your imagination.
Do I need to learn to code?
Learning to code is not essential, but it’s probably the single best thing you can do to increase your future employment opportunities. Learning coding can open opportunities in web development, app development, cyber security, tech writing and many other areas. While it may sound intimidating, there are fantastic online courses that will guide you through the process and even make it fun.
Change is always daunting, but with a little bit of planning, it can be an incredible opportunity. You can ensure your future in a well-paid, satisfying and respected role that will only grow more desirable in the future. Book a career consult to find out more about how our programmes can set you on your way to success.