One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a post-coronavirus-world is to acquire technology skills. The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformations in companies as they are trying to become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions.
The reality is that technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position.
Whether you work in a factory or an accounting office in a post-coronavirus world, you need to be comfortable with these tech tools as well as be able to work with them effectively.
Creativity and Innovation
We have already seen the importance of creativity and innovation during the pandemic. Businesses that have been able to come up with ways to deliver services virtually (like many healthcare providers have done) or quickly shift to new products (like Mercedes F1 that have shifted from making racing cars to innovative breathing aids) have been able to better weather the storm.
In a post-coronavirus world, we will need human ingenuity to invent, dream up new products and ways of working. Human creativity is going to be essential.
As the fuel of the 4th Industrial Revolution, data is a critical asset for every company. With the right data, companies are able to better predict the impact of future business disruptions and are better able to serve customers with the right products and services during or after any pandemic.
However, the data is useless to a company unless there is data literacy—people equipped with skills to understand the data and make better decisions because of it.
Data science and machine learning-related jobs, taken together, represent 5 of the top 15 growing jobs in America today. Professionals with data literacy who can analyze raw data to find trends and answer questions will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before.
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
Another skill that will be essential as our global economy rebuilds from the damage done by COVID-19 is critical thinking.
A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 37% of employers cited problem-solving and critical thinking among the top soft skills that candidates were lacking.
During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in fake news and misrepresentations of data and studies, as leaders, businesses, and governments are trying to shift blame and divert attention and proper scrutiny.
People who can objectively evaluate information from diverse sources to determine what is credible will be valued. Applicants who can prove that they are able to think critically and find solutions to business problems will have a much better chance of being hired.
Digital and Coding Skills
The digital transformation of organizations got a boost because of coronavirus; therefore, professionals with digital skills, including coding, web development
, and digital marketing
, will become even more important than they are now.
People who can help companies build their brands and keep the digital business running and thriving during economic downturns or pandemics that make in-person business impossible or less efficient are going to be on the must-hire list.
And, basically, ALL companies are now digitally based in some way, so the opportunities to put digital skills to work are countless.
One of the changes in a world that is heavily augmented by the support of machines and where social distancing and home working might continue for the foreseeable future, is that more people at all levels of an organization will be in a position where they lead others.
The gig economy is only going to grow post coronavirus, and people will be working in more fluent teams where people are taking the lead at different times.
Professionals with strong skills in leadership, including how to bring out the best and inspire teams as well as encourage collaboration, will be in demand.
Closely linked to leadership is another skill that is even more important in uncertain and challenging times: Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The ability to be aware of, express, and control our emotions and be aware of others' emotions is what emotional intelligence is all about.
A McKinsey study found that the demand for emotional skills across all industries in the United States will grow by 26% between 2016 and 2030.
This soft skill allows workers to relate to others, recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and also understand what a company’s clients are going through, making those with high emotional intelligence an asset to employers.
Individuals with strong EQ will be coveted by organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
Commit to a lifetime of learning
According to the World Economic Forum, in just five years, 35 percent of the skills deemed essential today will change. There’s only one way to remain relevant in a post-coronavirus reality: commit to a lifetime of learning.
When faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced and expert job skills will still be in demand and will likely struggle less to find employment. The good news is that improving your skills has never been easier.
Today, it doesn’t require years of study or hefty loans to build up your skillset to be prepared for a post-coronavirus world. There are endless free and open online courses (MOOCs) available that will help you improve your skills.
Just search for the skills you want to develop on platforms such as Coursera, Udacity, eDX, FutureLearn and iversity.
See lockdown as an opportunity to improve your skills so that you are ready for the post-coronavirus job market.