The advent of each new year brings new challenges - as well as new opportunities. As technology and workplace best practices continue to evolve rapidly, there is an ever-increasing demand for modern professionals to be able to adapt quickly by learning and honing new skills. Take coding, for example. In 2010, this was still a relatively obscure skill that was only required within a small niche of the tech industry. In 2020, coding has become an essential skill and resume booster for professionals working within almost any major industry.
Emergent tech skills such as coding will undoubtedly continue to proliferate and become increasingly important in the 2020s. That said, there are other more traditional professional skills that are unlikely to ever go out of style, and which, if honed expertly, can continue to help modern professionals thrive in our increasingly digital age.
Here are four professional skills that will be important to practice in 2020:
- Face-to-face networking. Social media has made it easier than ever to relegate all (or most) professional interactions to the digital realm. In fact, a recent study from Forbes found that around 40% of people now rely on social media more than interpersonal interactions for their professional networking. This has given us many undeniable benefits, not least in that, it has made it possible for us to reach huge numbers of people - far more than we will ever have the chance to meet directly. The downside of this, however, is that our online interactions and networking efforts are all too often brief and unable to leave a lasting impression. Making the effort to meet with your contacts in-person, on the other hand, sets the stage for genuine interpersonal connection that can lead to fruitful collaboration for both parties.
- Continued learning. Perhaps the most salient and striking quality about our modern professional landscape - as we hinted at in the beginning - is the unprecedented rate of change. Revolutionary new technologies burst upon the scene practically overnight, and tools that were once believed to be indispensable are now just as quickly left by the wayside. In such an environment as this, the ability to adapt, self-educate, and integrate new skills is absolutely crucial.
- Tech Skills. Unprecedented technological change has become the norm in recent years, and it can be expected to accelerate exponentially in the 2020's. Artificial intelligence, for example, is now in its infancy but will very soon radically alter the face of nearly every industry. As we collectively prepare to embark into an unfamiliar world, the demand for professionals with strong leadership skills will be paramount. Now more than ever, companies require those rare individuals who will be able to inspire groups of people and help them to navigate the novel challenges that lie ahead.
- Making smart, calculated career moves. As we mentioned in the introduction, many professionals look forward to the new year as an opportunity to take advantage of new career opportunities. People can be motivated to seek out new roles for a variety of reasons, including a desire to find a more sustainable work/life balance or to find a job that is more aligned with their personal temperament and personality. If you are thinking about searching for a new role in 2020 - regardless of your reasons - it will be important to ask yourself some critical questions to be sure that you’re taking a step in the right direction. Here are a few to consider that can help get you started:
- What are the skills that I want to improve?
- Will my new role be able to offer opportunities for growth and advancement?
- What are the characteristics of my current role and workplace that I am unhappy with? What alternative aspects would make me feel more satisfied at work?
- What is my desired salary?
- What does an ideal work/life balance look like to me?
Here’s the bottom line: new technologies and workplace norms will continue to arise, but there are certain skills and values that will always remain relevant. By integrating new skills as well as continuing to hone the age-old abilities of face-to-face networking, self-education, leadership, and introspective career navigation, you will be sure to stay a step ahead of whatever challenges might present themselves in 2020.
To learn more about how you can prepare yourself and your career for the future, contact us here.