Level up your skills for the future
I grew up spending hours playing MapleStory, Guild Wars, and Diablo. It wasn’t just all fun and games because I picked up one of the greatest life lessons ever - in games, just like in real life, there are limited “skill points” to be distributed.
Except in real life, the “skill points” we have is time and there's no reset button when you realise your character isn't strong enough. Thus with the limited time we have - especially in Singapore’s competitive job market - we’ll need to upgrade our skills so that we remain viable in both current and future jobs.
Here are the best 11 skills:
1. Pick up multiple languages so you’re indispensable in inter-country business negotiations
Mark Zuckerberg impressing everyone with his fluent Mandarin. Image Credit
Being able to speak more than one language in a professional setting could be a HUGE dealmaker when working with new markets and business opportunities opening up in the future. According to a British Council report, these are the best languages to learn based on trading opportunities and market growth:
Spanish | Arabic | French | Mandarin | German |
Portuguese | Italian | Russian | Turkish | Japanese
The more languages you know, the more opportunities you'll have to get involved with corporate dealings around the world. Use online apps like Duolingo to get yourself started with a different language, or enrol yourself in one of these language schools in Singapore.
2. Protect clients from nasty hackers with some cyber skills
With the recent cyber attacks on NUS and NTU, Singapore needs more knights in shining armour to rise up and stop black hat hackers from attempting to steal secret information. You just need to know how to prevent information in the Cloud from raining down into public scrutiny.
Having a working knowledge of information security will allow you to build your own great Firewall with the building blocks of coding and programming.
If regularly changing your password is the only way you know how to keep information on your office desktop safe, it is imperative that you go for a course that can teach you about something like Data Protection: Firewall and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and Data Encryption to protect your company’s trade secrets from being stolen by competitors.
3. Hype-up new products with engaging keynote announcements.
There’s a fine line between having a presentation that can sell or one that will bore the audience and leave them less convinced. In huge business deals and new product launches, this is what will make or break it. With a working knowledge of presentation skills, you can DIY an engaging presentation with visually-pleasing and informative infographics.
While visuals play an imperative role in sustaining attention throughout the presentation, an attention-grabbing and relevant narrative aspect to your presentation will be perfect to pique the interests of your audience.
4. Learn how to create unique selling points to attract customers
To avoid having gifts chucked away into a corner, many of us resort to stalking potential giftees on Facebook to see what they like. Similarly, you’ll need to know what will leave your target audience sold.
With content marketing, you learn to create and promote relevant content to attract a specific group of people. Be it the latest hypebeast clothing that people go gaga over or popular hipster cafe culture, they are all part of good-to-know factors for marketing.
A prevalent medium in this age is social media, which has become the go-to place for people to open the floodgates of consumerism. This ropes in digital marketing, where you need to know how to script sellable content, just like how all the Youtube stars do it.
You can also take it a step further and harness the art of compelling storytelling to capture the attention of people who matter the most. Through initiatives such as Story Lab, one will be able to learn how to use ideation, research and communication skills to create compelling narratives to drive your message home.
5. Master the next level of research: Data Mining
Being able to predict behaviours and projecting future trends might sound a lot like powers straight out of the fictitious world of superheroes. If you see people in real life who have done that to boost the prominence of the company they're working for, you can be sure there were no amount of superpowers involved. It just means that they’ve mastered the art of research with data mining.
Data mining is not just about the collection of data from sources such as sales reports, transactions and even social media data. You’ll have to analyse and deconstruct all the information gathered, using it in predictive modelling to construct a trend.
Through data mining courses, you will be able to identify associations through multimedia data mining. In all, you will have a clearer view of the industry and its trends, that will give your company a competitive edge.
6. Manage virtual teams to collaborate and complete projects remotely
The technological age has made things so much easier for our generation. With apps like Google Docs and Skype, physically meeting up to work on a project may soon be a thing of the past. Though convenient, collaborations online can fall apart too, and someone needs to take charge of virtual collaboration.
The best minds in the world don’t work 9-6 - sometimes, they wear sweatpants and work from the comfort of their homes. Knowing how to execute virtual collaboration is what you need to bring a team together, and also gives you a competitive edge over traditional corporate teams that still meet up over coffee.
7. Manage social media crises without them backfiring
Spot the grammatical errors. Source
Pentel Singapore’s Internet boo-boo made the headlines among netizens with their online post screaming ‘bad grammar’ and the poor follow-up apology, which unfortunately had another grammatical error.
But with better crisis management, Pentel was able to bounce back from this mistake with an online apology.
Crisis management is important for the future as the digital age will be less forgiving towards online crises. You’ll learn how to handle the kaypoh press and angry public during a crisis, and also come up with a plan to solve the problem.
8. Understand other cultures to smoothen intercultural facilitation
Help mediate conflicts. Image Credit
Just like the Singaporean woman who bravely stood in the crossfire and mediated a misunderstanding between an African-American tourist and some Chinese tourists when the latter referred to a signboard behind the former as 那个 ("nei ge", which translates to "that one"), you can prevent miscommunication with a strong grasp on cross cultural communication.
This skill goes beyond just learning a new language. If you’re able to learn the differences between low and high-context cultures and understand how people from different backgrounds communicate with each other, you'll drastically increase the chances of cooperation and reduce the risk of business meetings turning into a free-for-all royal rumble.
9. Learn to develop an app within 2 days
Buy a car in Singapore from your phone. Image Credit
With mobile devices becoming an indispensable accessory, being able to do things on-the-go is the future. You can get an app for almost everything - ordering food, making payment, and even one for translating your dog’s barks.
It doesn’t take a degree in any form of engineering to design an app - here are 2-day app development courses that can lead you to make the next Snapchat.
10. Make technology user-friendly for everyone, from toddlers to grandparents
The very first iPhone was so successful because of its amazingly intuitive User Interface (UI). Image Credit
The success of User Experience Design has solved problems of confusing interfaces that used to fuel ahgong and ahma’s distaste towards modern technology.
In the future where everything will mostly go digital, speed and accessibility is everything. User Experience Design involves an entire process of research, problem solving, creating initial prototypes and visual design.
With this skill you can optimise websites and apps like Google, making them user-friendly such that people will rave about how good the interface is.
11. Design AR/VR just like in Pokemon Go
Just sitting through lectures and flipping through a thick textbook might not be as effective as participating in hands-on learning. In fact, Augmented Reality's already made a major breakthrough into public consciousness with games like Pokemon Go.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are widely employed by many companies to improve the process of learning by leaps and bounds. You’ll be able to “dive” to the deepest ends of the sea to learn more about marine life or blast off to Mars to learn more about space, all in the comfort of your classroom with Google’s Expeditions Pioneer Program.
Clinical training has also seen advances with the introduction of VR, by recreating real-life scenarios with mass casualties to train clinical students’ response to such massive accidents with low risk.
To make these work, you need to know how to operate hardware and displays, and learn how to capture content and project it from a 2D to 3D plane. There’s even an app - Aurasma - to help you create your own AR.
You might not be the first AR expert to aid in the creation of the first Iron Man suit, but learning to make simple holographic objects like a sphere or a cube might just get you there someday!
Stop clicking on ‘remind me tomorrow’, update yourself now
It’s vital for us to keep up with the ever-changing times - and while there’s no need to toy with evolution for us to grow a set of gills or learn how to fly just yet, the next best thing we can do is to equip ourselves with relevant skills for the future.
The infocomm sector is one of the fastest growing industries - especially with mankind headed towards the future at lightspeed - and we’ll need to keep up with that. So whether it’s coming up with fresh content or being an app-creating genius, there’s a skill for everyone to learn today.
Don’t panic if you realise you’re lacking the relevant skills as of right now because you can find out more about the easy-to-pick-up skills here and kick start your learning.
This post is part of an initiative to encourage upskilling and professional development.