While getting a degree can boost your salary or help your resume stand out, you shouldn’t expect a traditional degree to be the sole thing that prepares you for professional life.
For professionals looking to the future, a college education isn’t the only valuable education worth perusing. Transferable skills, like critical thinking or communication, are essential for professionals across any career field – not just the one you trained for in college.
No, we’re not suggesting students skip college. But, here is what we know: tomorrow’s jobs may not even exist today, which means students and professionals need to focus on skills that will be demanded in the future. Refining future job skills that will be valued in a world where automation and AI can increasingly handle rote tasks often means education for aspiring professionals must come in many forms: traditional, nontraditional, hands on, and all-based on critical, creative thinking.
Skills Training vs. College Degrees
In a recent Freelancing in America survey, nearly all the professionals surveyed 93% said skills training was useful, compared to 79% who reported their college education was useful for the work they are doing now.
The other consideration of course is the sheer cost of a college education, which used to be offset by future earning potential, but even that is now less certain.
“Yet too often, degrees are still thought of as lifelong stamps of professional competency,” CNBC Reports. “They tend to create a false sense of security, perpetuating the illusion that work — and the knowledge it requires — is static. It's not.”
While past generations often held a single job for the entirety of their career, today’s generations are expected to switch careers on average 5-7, with about a third (30%) of the workforce switching things up annually according to career change statistics.
As a result, transferable skills, like critical thinking or communication, are essential for professionals across any career field – not just the one you trained for in college. In fact, even Tech giants like Google have turned away from screened based on college degrees, reportedly increasing the percent of non-college-educated employees at the company over recent years, according to CNBC.
That’s not to say a college education isn’t valuable; however, for professionals looking to the future, a college education isn’t the only valuable education worth perusing.
Today, we don’t know about tomorrow’s jobs
The World Economic Forum estimates that most (65%) of children starting primary school today will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet. That might sound shocking until you consider the jobs that exist today, but didn’t in the last decade, such as:
· IOS developer
· Zumba Instructor
· Social Media Intern
· Big Data Architect
· Digital Marketing Specialist
· UI/UX Designer
· Cloud Services Specialist
While we may not be able to list job titles expected to be around in 2030, researchers have put significant effort into predicting what the professional landscape might look like. The UK-based report, The Future of Work Jobs and Skills in 2030, expects these themes:
· Technology will continue to grow and expand, which means individuals have to be willing and able to adapt to new technologies.
· Work will increasingly become interconnected and rooted in networks, requiring professionals to work across disciplines, collaborate with people around the globe (virtually) and exhibit cultural sensitivity.
· Innovation will occur collectively. As people work in a more interconnected way, ideas and innovations will occur less in silos are more across disciplines – which means, again, everyone needs to have a hybrid, diverse skills set.
· Individuals will have more responsibility. As the workplace becomes increasingly flexible, individual employees will have to take on more responsibility when it comes to their own skills development, including self-management, expertise, and self-promotion will become increasingly important. And, personal agility, the ability to adapt, and comfort with change are vital as the landscape will continue to evolve with technology development and new working models.
· Good teamwork will be essential. Not only will the workplace of the future be more globally diverse, it will also be generationally diverse, expected to encompass four generations (sometimes called the “4G Workplace”). Employees will have to be able to work together with people who have a variety of digital backgrounds and experience levels.
Today, we’re getting ready for tomorrow.
Education Unbound is building up STEAM in education, to ensure today’s employees and students are prepared for tomorrow’s jobs by implementing non-traditional, forward looking programs. Learn how you can join our efforts by visiting http://www.educationunbound.org/programs.