Pandemic-Proof Positions and Certifications

Pandemic-Proof Positions and Certifications

Reinvention, resilience, and being prepared for anything are a few things that might be on people’s minds. Another might be what exactly to prepare for in the “future of work”, post-pandemic workforce.  

Impact of Automation & AI

Staying curious about the future of work is a good idea because according to Forrester Future of Work Research, by 2030, 29% of jobs will be gone and there will be only 13% growth in job creation as a result of continued automation. So how can mid-career professionals remain relevant in a post-coronavirus reality?  The answer is to commit to a lifetime of learning. When faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced job skills will be in higher demand.

Automation generated by artificial intelligence technology is accelerating faster and will significantly reduce the number of mundane tasks and jobs available.  While this will allow people to spend more time on complex problems and more engaging work, those mundane jobs will go away forever. Technology skills will continue to be popular for employers but not all tech skills are created equal. For example, Forrester also predicts coding skills will be replicated through automation. Technology areas that will be in demand are in artificial intelligence and data science. Forbes talks more in-depth about the impact of AI here: AI Will Obliterate These Jobs by 2030, Forbes

The Non-Techie

Not all companies are looking for someone with an artificial intelligence or data science background, however.  In fact, the more “human” the position, the more likely it will be in high demand. Companies are realizing the importance of an employee’s potential and assessing soft skills that are less likely to be automated such as leadership skills, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

McKinsey & Co has identified several trends and careers that will be in demand in the coming years as a result of accelerated technology and automation. Here are some of the non-tech careers and industries that have been listed:

  • Writer/Content Strategy
  • Human Resources/Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We found some incredible free resources that are aligned with these three industries and wanted to share them so if you’re interested and want to learn as much as possible about these areas during this crazy time, we hope it’s helpful.

Writer/Content Strategy
  • In this course, Shani Raja, a former Wall Street Journal editor, will teach you the four ingredients of good writing: simplicity, clarity, elegance and evocativeness. It’s on Udemy, it’s free and it’s an hour long.  To get it, you’ll need to give them your email address. Well worth it: Secret Sauce of Great Writing by an ex WSJ Journalist

Human Resources & Diversity Equity & Inclusion

Demand for human resources professionals is higher than the national job growth average for all other professions. Take a look at the job growth projections predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics over the next decade:

  • Human Resources Managers — 7%, a little faster than average
  • Human Resources Specialists — 5%, as fast as average
  • Training and Development Managers — 8%, faster than average
  • This course is a good primer to find out if you want to move forward and get certified by the Society of Human Resources: Recruiting, Hiring, Onboarding Employees, Coursera
  • SHRM is the gold standard for the HR industry and although they do not allow a newbie to take their certification courses, there are other specialized courses that can be taken for a fee (and yes, they can get expensive).  Here is that link:  SHRM Inclusive Workplace Culture Specialty Credential

Diversity Equity & Inclusion 

As a result of Black Lives Matter, it’s shined a light on many inequities in the workplace, including age bias at the hiring level.  Now more than ever, companies are being more forthright about their DE&I initiatives and holding themselves accountable. Measuring it and making a commitment to change helps to attain talented job candidates and can increase the morale of one’s organization.

  • Once we’re all aware of our own bias, there are ways to manage it so that we can better channel the diversity potential in the workplace for greater performance and innovation. This course is by ESSEC Business School and it’s free: Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Microsoft teaches a free course on bias. While it’s not exactly DE&I, it’s related and helpful in conversations about this important topic and how technology created by a certain demographic is inherently biased:  eLesson: Unconscious Bias

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Resources

We’re located in Portland and the forest fires have been a sober reminder that climate change is advancing and we need to make urgent changes.  Whenever there is a need for policy change, it’s ideal to be at the forefront of the problem and dig into the areas where certain skills could be needed.  This course is by SDG Academy and it’s free of charge (takes 1 week to complete).  The goals include a set of key areas of focus, as well as detailed targets to put our planet on track.

What you’ll learn:

  • What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
  • How modern advancements and connectivity can help us achieve the goals
  • The importance of sustainable development
  • Why you should care about the Sustainable Development Goals – as a corporation, as a university, as an individual
  • The  SDG course is here and it’s free: What Will It Take to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 

To pique your overall curiosity, Oxford University offers free lectures and courses called “Curious MindsOxford University Curious Minds.  If you type “free certifications” into their search engine, loads of amazing free lectures and content appears. 

For those who are pressed for time but still want to learn something new every day, check out the videos on TED-Ed of the infamous TED talks. There are also mini-courses on technology that can be emailed to you created by Google, such as free, 5-minute lessons for finding jobs and advancing your career.  And last but not least, there is a site that focuses only on free courses (many created by universities), doing the heavy lifting for you.