5 ESSENTIAL SKILLS FOR A SUSTAINABLE CAREER
by 42 Heilbronn
... WHICH YOU WON'T LEARN AT UNIVERSITY
Technological change means that the skills you learned yesterday are already outdated today - and will never be able to solve tomorrow's problems. On the other hand, progress only occurs where the necessary skills are available. "Imbalances of skills can slow down the adoption of new technologies, cause delays in production, increase labour turnover and reduce productivity," according to the OECD (LINK). It is therefore becoming increasingly important to ensure that the skills of workers and individuals are aligned to the needs of the job market, according to the organization.
It is not enough to teach the needed skills in school. Today, acquired knowledge often becomes obsolete quickly. That is why skills that typically do not appear in the curriculum and are independent of sometimes short-lived expertise are gaining in importance, such as practical experience in project work or smart cooperations that help us work independently and motivated on problems and their solutions. In a study by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (LINK), 91 percent of all companies and NGOs surveyed stated that critical thinking, problem solving, and good communication are crucial for a successful career. And in the Linkedin Skills Genome (LINK), too, "soft power skills" along with digital skills are among those whose importance is growing most significantly.
Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of skills that - in addition to coding skills - support you in a sustainable career in the digital world.
- SHOW COURAGE
How do you face a problem for which there is no obvious solution? By leaving your comfort zone! In an ever-changing world, you need to be able to develop previously non-existent solutions to emerging problems. This applies to new technologies as well as to related tasks. It always takes courage to leave the familiar. How can you do that? Try out a new hobby and see how it improves your skills. If you make this courage a part of you, you will learn to grow on obstacles and setbacks. The will to complete your own projects with all their challenges and to learn something for yourself at every step is the top priority. If you accept change and remain open to new skills, you will expand your future potential.
- LEARN TO ORGANIZE AND SET PRIORITIES
The wealth of information, tasks and content that make up our working lives today can be paralyzing. Put an end to it! Categorize and structure your everyday life, separate the unimportant from the important. That way you not only know what to do, but also what matters and you can say "no" to with a clear conscience. Don't rely on ready-made schedules, but set goals: for every day, for every week, for every quarter - in the way that makes the most sense for you. If you keep these goals in mind, you will soon realize that your pointless social media hopping is not going to get you anywhere - even though there are so many entertaining things to explore…
- THINK CRITICALLY, THINK CREATIVELY, SOLVE PROBLEMS
Always look critically at processes and structures. "Somehow this has to work better" is the starting point for every innovation. The combination of critical and creative thinking discovers hidden problems in old routines - and finds new solutions. Billion-dollar companies such as Uber and Airbnb were created because their founders used new technologies to rethink old ideas. You are valuable to any project if you overcome challenges by defining problems, working out alternatives and making informed decisions to achieve improvements. For example, look into a completely different industry and try to apply problem solutions to your specific task. Maybe this is the solution!? Or maybe it will come to you in the shower. In any case: be open for creative ways.
- BE PART OF A TEAM
Your team often makes you look at things from different perspectives. You become inspired and inspire others to give their best and to rise above themselves. The old saying "There is no I in team" is certainly not wrong. But globally distributed, networked, asynchronous teams ensure that "teamwork" does indeed have "work" in it: teams and their collaboration must be actively designed. Keep looking for projects that actively call for teamwork and grow together with others by tackling new tasks.
Interdisciplinary, complementary teams cannot function without communication. Basically, nothing works without communication: speaking, writing, listening, reading, making yourself understood and understanding others – these seem simple, but they require respect and attention. From dealing with non-verbal signs to clear coordination within the team and convincing sales talks, your communication set should be complete and applicable. Here, unconventional learning methods that focus on team-based learning and joint projects can be an ideal alternative to traditional study formats, because practical team projects challenge you and take you further. Always test your empathy and put yourself in the shoes of your counterpart. Ask yourself: Can you explain your professional expertise to a child?
- ALL IN COMBINATION
These basics can add up to skills that can only be found in few courses or curricula. Networking is teamwork plus communication. Specialized knowledge is created through the ability to learn and think critically. Coupled with your already acquired knowledge, your experience and your general qualities as a person in community, they make you a real asset to any organization. The important thing is: Don't stop. Develop yourself further. This is how you make the future your future. Openness to and willingness to learn about digital transformations in companies are more important than ever today, as companies are constantly looking for employees who have the ability to develop along with new technologies.
This approach is exactly the basis of what we do here at 42. We deliberately want to create an environment in which a variety of skills are promoted and developed. In an environment where teamwork, communication, cooperation, organization and creative thinking are on equal footing with excellent coding skills. Because in the end you need a healthy mix and the complete package to be successful.