For workers, ‘digital upskilling’ puts tech trends on fast-forward

Reuters | Chris Taylor | Oct 22, 2020

women remote work - For workers, 'digital upskilling' puts tech trends on fast-forward

NEW YORK - This year has taught us a lot of things, but here is one major 2020 lesson: Tech skills are a virtual necessity.

Digital upskilling is not new: Amazon announced a $700 million initiative to boost the digital skills of its workforce last year. PwC rolled out its own $3 billion program, and a flurry of other corporate giants from Nationwide to Home Depot to IBM are all doing the same.

The COVID-19 pandemic pressed the fast-forward button, however, accelerating a tech shift already taking place.

According to PwC’s Global Digital IQ survey, 86% of top-performing companies reported that digital training programs boosted employee engagement and performance.

Those in-demand gigs include software developer, digital marketing, IT admin, and data analyst.

“Before there used to be tech jobs, and non-tech jobs,” said Joe Atkinson, PwC’s chief products and technology officer. “Now there are just ‘jobs’, and everyone needs to have comfort with technology.”

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So what tech skills are we talking about, exactly?

Bite-size

“If you ask an employee to find six hours for a learning effort, that’s really hard,” said Atkinson. “But if you ask them to find 15 minutes, that’s a lot easier. That bite-size approach can make a big difference.”

Think Collectively

“Create opportunities for employees to source knowledge and learn from each other,” he said.

Create a continual learning habit

“Don’t worry too much about whether or not you are studying the right tech,” said Atkinson. “Just keep learning about subjects you are passionate about, whether it’s data visualization or coding or blockchain or virtual reality. Because the tech landscape will look completely different in three to five years.”

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