Working toward a college degree and a career is an exciting journey. You’ll develop relationships, achieve goals, and encounter challenges along the way. But one thing is clear: with the proper skills, academic training, and a can-do attitude, you can accomplish anything!
Check out this video that shows with any type of journey, it helps to just take things one step at a time.
Insert Strayer Video … Starting Your Journey, One Step at a Time
The jobs of today look very different from the jobs our parents had. Whether you work in a cubicle or on a construction site, technology has changed—and is continuing to change—the ways we connect, communicate, and create in our careers. In the past, a college degree was enough to set you up for professional success. Today, employers want job candidates who also have the right skills to succeed.
That’s why Sophia Learning partnered with top employers, business leaders, and recruiters to identify 10 skills that are critical to performing your best—not just in one field but across all industries. These are skills that will prepare you for the needs of any future employer and set you up for success in a world that is constantly evolving.
So, what are these skills? Whether you are here for a job, for a promotion, for personal enrichment, or to realize a different dream, these skills can work to help you meet your personal, academic and professional goals.
What does it mean when we discuss the future of work? It means that we are moving away from a classic employment model in which most careers tended to follow a particular path: after graduation, you got a job in an office where you worked 40 hours a week alongside everyone else at your company. You’d get promoted along a predictable path, before eventually retiring in your sixties.
The future of work is, in fact, not the future. It is happening now. You may remember learning about the industrial revolutions of the past and the ways in which these revolutions transformed the economy and the nature of work. We are now in the fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. This new world of technology is characterized by:
While artificial intelligence, digital advances, and automation won’t take away the majority of our work, they will change how we work. Even though repetitive and straightforward jobs are at greater risk of being automated, employers will continue to need people with uniquely human skills, such as agility, communication, and productivity.
Many jobs are also changing with an increase in freelance work, remote work, and the gig economy. A gig economy is a growing employment model where short-term, independent workers contract with companies instead of becoming a direct employee of the company. This model allows companies to scale their workforce more fluidly to accommodate fluctuations in company earnings or a change in the company’s strategic vision. Freelancers in a gig economy tend to have more flexible work hours than their direct-hire counterparts.
WWII. Between 1940 and 1945, five million women entered the American workforce, displacing many men who went off to fight in World War II (Khan Academy 2020). Women worked in factories, defense plants, and offices in unprecedented numbers. Women temporarily shifted the dynamics of the American workforce, but more importantly, they paved the way for generations of successful working women, post-war through today.
9-11. The attacks of 9-11 caused changes to air travel, influencing how we live and work. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented tighter security measures at airports and hired more workers to thwart the possibility of another attack. The TSA now requires most travelers to remove their shoes for inspection and limits the amount of carry-on liquids to 3.4 ounces before boarding a plane.
COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic is another scenario that has altered the employment landscape in the United States for the foreseeable future. In January 2020, the U.S. reported its first known case of COVID-19, a novel infectious disease caused by a virus called the coronavirus. In the absence of a vaccine, some businesses were forced to close their doors to keep employees and clients safe. Others had to shift to alternative work environments, allowing many or all of their employees to work from home. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores and gas stations, implemented extra measures to keep people safe. They built plexiglass barriers to maintain separation, mandated facemasks, and established social-distancing requirements.
For many professional and skilled-trade workers, employment opportunities during major life events can hang in the balance. Workers must tap into their agility skills to seek out or create new careers, different ways of working, and alternative work environments. Now, more than ever, learning and practicing employability skills is vital for producing positive outcomes at home and work when unexpected life events occur.
CNBC International. (2019). “CNBC Explains: What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?” Video. Retrieved November 30, 2020. www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9rZOa3CUC8
Khan Academy. (2020). "American Women and World War II." Retrieved December 8, 2020. www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/us-wwii/a/american-women-and-world-war-ii
Press, Gil. (2019, October 30). “2020 predictions about automation and the future of work from Forrester,” Forbes.