What does “future-proofing” your career look like?

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Future-proofing your career is all about making yourself able to work in your chosen field, even if technological advances change it. Here are a few ways to prepare.

Why “future-proof”?

The 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) has and will continue to change the ways we work, live and advance in our careers. “Industry 4.0” is all about automating traditional work practices by using “modern smart technology”. This technology will affect most industries, and most employees. And as a young professional, now is the perfect time for you to prepare for this exciting future.

Assess your skills

Start by doing a bit of research on the developments in your field of work. What’s happening today, and what future trends are expected? You can use a site called Will Robots Take My Job to start your research.

Next, think carefully about the professional skills you currently have, and then picture yourself in a futuristic workplace. Which of your skills would still be useful, and which would you need to update or change? Make a note of these as your focus points moving forward.

Develop new skills

Once you’ve assessed your skills, you can move onto learning or developing the ones which will be most helpful to you in the future. You can do this through online courses such as these, or by taking up part-time study at a college or varsity while you work.

Another great way to develop new skills is to take initiative in the workplace, attend industry events and trainings or find a mentor who you can learn from.

Re-think learning

Certain old-school ideas about learning may actually be holding you back. Rather than thinking your tertiary education is the end of your learning, think of it as just the start. If you’ve graduated with a certain qualification, you may find that you aren’t really as prepared for the working world as you thought you were. You may even see future potential in a different field from what you studied. The truth is that changing paths and learning diverse skills helps you stay adaptable in a fast-changing world. Stay open to learning new skills, even if they’re ones that aren’t “traditionally” recognised.

Think tech

Technology is a key part of this current Industrial Revolution, and experts predict that it’ll only become more and more important from here onwards. Staying on top of the latest tech tools used in your industry will make you more “future-proof”. Even if your company hasn’t adopted the latest technology yet, it wouldn’t hurt for you to get a head start on your learning of it.

Stay up to date

Staying up to date with trends in your industry will keep you one step ahead of the rest, so make it a habit to check publications and other media which reports on such changes. Joining a network of people in your field is another great way to stay in the loop, and hear valuable perspectives which you may not find otherwise.

Technology has been changing our way of life and work rapidly, and there’s no sign of it stopping anytime soon. Being a “future-proof” professional will give you confidence, expand your horizons and help you find some security, even in uncertain times. Good luck!

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