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Upskill: Staying Relevant while Building Your Tech Career

Getting a job is not easy. Staying on the job is not easy either. A recent report from BizWatch Nigeria showed that there were 7x more layoffs in tech companies this year compared to 2021.  Many companies are struggling with the impact of inflation and high interests on the economy. As a result, many employers have been forced to lay off staff to keep business running. 

How does this affect you as a techie? Whether you’re working full time, part time with a company or working as a freelance techie, there is competition. People are going into tech everyday so you need to stay ahead. If your employer considers laying off staff in the coming months, would you be considered valuable to the company you work at? If you don’t have a job right now, how can you improve yourself to increase your chances of getting a good job despite the layoffs happening in the tech industry right now? 

This is where upskilling plays a major role!

Upskilling means acquiring knowledge/skills to improve your skills and increase your value as an employee or job seeker. You need to be deliberate about becoming a better version of yourself. It’s not okay to stay at the same level. That wouldn’t get you far. 

5 Ways to Upskill

Most times people think acquiring a certification is the only way to upskill. While its important, you don’t stop at taking courses. There are other ways to go about it and we’re sharing 4 with you!

Don’t limit yourself. 

Do not limit yourself to the skills you have right now or need for your current position. Think about your future self, what do you see? Do you see yourself becoming a leading data scientist, a product management expert or maybe a super creative designer? What do you need to become that person? Are there skills you need that you don’t have now? Write them in a journal and start working on improving those skills. You can also ask your colleagues or anyone you have worked with for feedback on your work so you can improve. You may also need to take courses, attend events to learn what you need. Always think about the future “you” and keep improving till you become that person. 

Build your personal brand

You’ve taken a course (or more). What next? Share your certifications online, have an online presence that showcases the skills you have. With the internet, you can get a job without even “applying” for it. People can reach out to you because they can see what you have online. Having a strong personal brand makes it easier for you to stay ahead. 

Volunteer for various organizations

Use your free time to work voluntarily with organizations that do work that’s relevant to your field. As a data analyst looking to develop reporting skills, you could volunteer for an NGO, in interpreting and reporting data. You’ll be able to get feedback that would help you improve the skills you already have. Even if you already have a job, be open to volunteering opportunities. They keep you ahead and help you get recommendations from other people.

Don’t forget personal development

You may be a designer/digital marketer, product designer or graphic designer but you’re still a person. The way you think affects the work you do. A good way to constantly improve yourself is to read books! This is why we have the I4G Book Club, you can join us here . We read and review books on productivity, procrastination, personal branding and other areas that could affect your career and life in general. We also bring industry experts to review and share from their experience. The skills you can learn from reading books can greatly improve your career. 

Participate actively during events 

Look out for conferences, webinars, workshops and other events within the tech space. There are a lot of virtual tech events going on, you can even find some on Twitter spaces, IG lives. These are great  platforms to learn about  the current trends in your field and network with people. Look out for speaking opportunities where you can share the knowledge you’ve gained with others too. It increases your credibility and sets you apart as someone who’s knowledgeable in your area of specialization.

Staying relevant in the tech industry requires diligence, smart work, commitment and dedication. Its not easy but it is definitely worth it.

You’ve got this!

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