Times are tough. According to the OECD, Covid-19 is pushing unemployment rates in the world’s most advanced economies to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
With the pandemic still currently affecting us the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2025, 85 million jobs will be displaced by technology. McKinsey estimated that by 2030, up to 375 million workers may have to reskill because of new technologies like artificial intelligence and automation.
This means that right now, and for the foreseeable future, millions of people around the world are trying to figure out either how to keep their jobs or break into the job market.
Teach a man to code and he’ll eat for a lifetime
A wise man once said that when the economy gets tough, the tough hit the books. Considering the growing global tech skills gap and the increasing shift towards a digital workplace, a good bet for anyone considering studies right now would be to enrol in tech training programs that lead to lucrative, high-demand tech jobs.
Still, you need a certain kind of grit to drop everything and train for a totally new profession. In the best of cases, it can take months to graduate from even the most intense tech training programs. So, who are these brave individuals willing to reinvent themselves as tech professionals?
Many academic degrees simply aren’t practical in today’s workplace. Fancy degrees, even from the most prestigious institutions, don’t necessarily equal employability. That goes double in an economic downturn when there can be hundreds of experienced applicants for even entry level positions. Some of these graduates are looking to tech training as a solution to their woes. Eager to begin their careers, they want practical training in high-paying, high-demand professions.
“I must have sent out hundreds of resumes. No one seems to want to interview a liberal arts major with no experience. I bit the bullet and enrolled in a Data Analyst program when I realised that it’s hard to find great job opportunities in this sort of economy.” – Lindsay J., Raleigh
Getting fired sucks, but like Alexander Graham Bell said, “when one door closes, another opens”. Unemployment gives one the opportunity to recalculate their career paths, not to mention freeing up the time needed to do so. For those who always dreamed of going into tech, getting fired may be the best thing to ever happen to them, as the current job market is definitely more friendly to those with tech aspirations. The more ambitious are looking for ways to capitalise on this demand, especially when they realise that there’s no need for a 3-4 year degree or heavy tuition to break in.
“When I got my termination letter, I was in total shock. I didn’t know what to do. But after I managed to relax, I realised that getting fired was a blessing in disguise — I’d never liked my job and always dreamed about becoming a software developer, but with a full-time job I couldn’t ever find the time to check what’s required to get there.” – Francis D., Paris
Notorious for doing things differently than the generations before, many millennials decide to forgo traditional academic studies. They often see higher education as an unnecessary expense and often choose to skip school, unless that is, they find a program that is relatively short, compliments their personality and lifestyle, and helps them get to where they want to go.
“There was no way I was going to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to waste four years partying with jocks and cheerleaders. I’m more about jumping into the job market so that I can make enough money to do my art.”- Mike F., Williamsburg
Staying relevant in today’s job market is all about continuous, lifelong learning. New technologies are creating and displacing millions of jobs. Smart employees who feel the market read the writing on the wall. They know that their employers need new knowledge and skills. To ensure their employability in tomorrow’s business landscape, they spend time learning new skills that will help them keep their jobs and advance their careers. Employers are also keen to upskill their employees as a lower-cost alternative to hiring new skilled employees.
“I’m not going to let any robot or artificial-intelligence powered algorithm put me out of work. If my boss needs Big Data analysts, I’m going to do whatever it takes to be the one who builds that function at my company. I’ve got enough experience to make things happen, I just need to upskill a bit.” – Boiko I., Sofia
Start-up founders and independent contractors are always on the lookout for the next big thing. The former so that they can open up their own businesses and program as much as possible on their own before securing a seed investment and hiring others, and the latter so that they can provide services in various domains. Reskilling to tech enables such stand-alone professionals to quickly learn the latest, cutting-edge technologies and skills so that they can create stuff on their own or capitalise on the market’s insatiable demand for outsourced tech talent.
“As a freelance digital marketer, I figured that I could easily double my income by learning graphic design. Now I don’t just run the ad campaigns, I use my newfound skills to design the creatives as well. Instead of outsourcing the design aspect, I can now offer an end-to-end service that doubles my profit.” – Nikola M., Belgrade
Massive online open courses (MOOCs) and micro-credentials can only get you so far. Many participants of these types of crash courses realise that short courses and on-demand online training get them a first interview at best. These job seekers are looking to take the skills they’ve begun developing to the next level and move on to training centres that specialise in tech reskilling to do just that.
“I thought that completing an Ivy League accredited course on Coursera would pave my way into tech. I was wrong. I couldn’t even complete the test exercise that I was given by a potential employer. Without serious, intensive training that includes homework, exercises, and projects beyond watching an online class, it is nearly impossible to land a tech position.” – Ramesh Patel, Pune
The potential market for reskillers is endless. These six profiles of people, and dozens of other types out there, are looking for an effective way to reskill to tech. We’re hopeful that many of them will succeed and get to the holy grail, a tech career that they’d enjoy and would support them and their families in any economic condition.