Navigating Career Development: Upskill or Reskill?

  • Posted on Nov 16, 2023

What’s next for you at work? Your career development may be hinging on whether to upskill or reskill. 

Staying ahead of the curve is essential for career growth and job satisfaction. Whether you’re contemplating a career change or seeking advancement in your current field, understanding the concepts of upskilling and reskilling is crucial. This article explores the differences between upskilling and reskilling, offering insights into when to use each approach and why the current time of year is optimal for enhancing your skill set.

Differentiating Upskilling and Reskilling

 Upskilling involves acquiring new skills or enhancing existing ones within your current profession. It’s about staying relevant and competitive in your field by embracing emerging technologies, trends, or methodologies. 

For instance, a logistics supervisor might improve their skills by learning project management skills to enhance their ability to work with stakeholders from different departments, worksites, and companies. Upskilling allows individuals to deepen their expertise, making them more valuable assets to their current employers.

On the other hand, reskilling involves a more comprehensive shift in career focus. It requires acquiring an entirely new set of skills to transition into a different profession or industry. 

Technological advancements, changes in market demands, or personal career aspirations could prompt the change. For instance, journalists might reskill to become content strategists, adapting their communication skills to the digital landscape. A banking investment representative may learn the skills necessary to become an HNWI advisor. Or you’re an entrepreneur ready to launch a business or non-profit organization.

Planning Your Career Development 

When contemplating career development, start by clarifying your long-term goals. Where do you want to be in 2-3 years? Upskilling may be more suitable if you want to advance within your current industry. However, if you’re eyeing a complete career shift, reskilling might be necessary to align with your new aspirations.

Keep an eye on industry trends and technological advancements. If your current role is at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation, advancing technology or evolving market demands, reskilling may be the proactive choice. Alternatively, if your industry is adopting new technologies, upskilling can help you stay relevant and contribute to your organization’s growth.

Conduct job market research to identify in-demand skills, especially those consistently sought after across industries. If your skills are transferable, upskilling might be sufficient. However, reskilling may be the strategic move if there is an apparent demand for skills outside your current expertise.

The Ideal Time for Learning New Job Skills

The end of the year marks a period of reflection and planning for many professionals. It’s a time when individuals set goals for the upcoming year, and career development often takes center stage. Several factors make this time of year ideal for investing in upskilling or reskilling:

1. New Year, New Opportunities: As the year ends, people start thinking about the new year’s possibilities. Setting aside time for learning and skill development aligns with the spirit of new beginnings and can set the tone for a successful and fulfilling year ahead.

2. Budget Allocations: Many companies allocate budgets for professional development at the beginning of the fiscal year. By planning your upskilling or reskilling initiatives towards the end of the year, you can leverage these budget allocations for courses, certifications, or workshops that align with your career goals.

3. Reflecting on Achievements: The year-end is an opportune time for self-reflection. Assessing your achievements, challenges, and aspirations can help you identify the skills needed for future success. This introspective approach allows for a targeted and personalized approach to upskilling or reskilling.

Choosing upskilling or reskilling depends on your career goals, industry trends, and the job market demands. 

As the year closes, consider taking advantage of the reflective spirit of the season to invest in your professional growth. 

By strategically choosing the right time and approach for skill development, you can position yourself for a successful and satisfying career change in the coming year.

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