In-Demand Skills That Can Help You Future-Proof Yourself
The recession is around the corner — at least, that’s the news going around. And the question may be on your mind: how can I overcome it?
Well, you can’t avoid the effects of a recession entirely, but you can do a little more to keep your employability up. One of those ways is to ‘upskill’. Take up a course to sharpen your current skill sets and to stay in touch with the latest trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) or blockchain. This will open up the opportunities available to you and help you stay relevant.
Below are 7 courses – from introductory to advanced ones – that could boost your capabilities and take you one step higher in the ladder of your career.
1. The Internet of Things (IoT) — using technology to create networks for businesses
IoT is a buzzword of our electronic century. It’s a broad umbrella term that is used to refer to everything that has a sensor and which can transmit data to a usable device. For example, consider the printer in your office. It’s connected to your computer. So at any time you want to print something, you just send the document over. Something as simple as this could be considered IoT.
The Fundamentals of Internet of Things (IoT) by NTUC Learning Hub provides a good overview of IoT and gives plenty of examples of how they are used in businesses. You will also learn how to identify sensors and map an IoT network. Since IoT is more like a principle rather than a technical skill, it can be applied to almost any kind of work, making it extremely useful in the market.
To take it a step further and entrench yourself in the subject, you can dive into technicals with a course on Bachelor of Engineering Technology: Electrical and Electronic Engineering by MDIS.
Fundamentals of Internet of Things (IoT) by NTUC Learning Hub
- Duration: 2 days
- Fee: $200
Bachelor of Engineering Technology: Electrical and Electronic Engineering by MDIS Teesside University
- Duration: 12 months (part-time)
- Fee: $12,300
2. Data analytics — exploiting data to make the smartest business decisions
In this age, data is king. If you have the right data and the right tools to analyse them, you will be able to make sound, lucrative business decisions. This is why data analysts are extremely sought after in the market — and will probably continue being so even during an economic downturn, since the inflow of data never ceases.
One course you can consider is Data Analysis Fundamentals using Microsoft Excel by NTUC LearningHub. The thing about data analytics is that it can be carried into almost any profession — government, banking, insurance, telecommunications, manufacturing and so on. So even if you’re not intending to specialise in it, it should give you quite a bit of versatility in terms of job opportunities.
For a more in-depth learning experience, you can opt for the Master of IT in Business (Analytics Track) by the Singapore Management University (SMU). Going beyond the basics, the course will teach you higher level operations like creating prediction models and pattern observations across a wide range of industries.
Data Analysis Fundamentals using Microsoft Excel by NTUC LearningHub
- Duration: 2 days
- Fee: $288.60
Master of IT in Business (Analytics Track) by Singapore Management University
- Duration: 2 years (part-time)
- Fee: S$48,150 (excl. application and registration fees)
3. Digital marketing — tracking online habits & targeting the right consumers
Digital marketers find ways to advertise their products online
The Internet is an expansive marketplace. Everyone is buzzing their bells and yelling for their products to be heard. This is why companies are willing to spend so much on digital marketing — they want their products to reach the right people.
This is where digital marketing comes into play. It allows businesses to track customer habits and zoom in on trends to better sell their product. Given how many businesses have a digital marketing arm, having knowledge of this gives you a solid edge.
For starters, you can take up the WSQ Digital Marketing Strategy Certification Course by Equinet Academy. The course will introduce you to the basics of digital marketing like how to track visits to your company’s site and how to tweak it so that it appears higher up on the Google search page. More clicks, more revenue.
Those wishing to learn more about the subject, or who find their interests peaked after the 2-day course can apply for more rigorous ones like, SMU’s Masters of Science in Communications Management, which will not only give you a mastery on digital marketing but all other aspects that relate to the enterprise.
WSQ Digital Marketing Strategy Certification Course by Equinet Academy
- Duration: 2 days
- Fee: $740
Masters of Science in Communications Management by SMU
- Duration: 15 months (part-time)
- Fee: S$46,010
*Fees may differ.
4. User Experience — making the company’s sites and apps fun and easy to use
First impressions count. This is especially so for mobile apps and websites. If we go onto a certain app or website and it confuses us with buttons and information, we soon lose interest and leave. Everything from the layout to the navigation of the page belongs to a domain called User Experience, or UX.
UX is important in this new digital era and as long as we continue to spend more time online, it will never cease to be important. The process may seem intuitive – how hard can it be right – but if you actually get to it, you’ll likely find it a lot trickier than you had imagined.
For starters, you can check out User Experience: Uncover the Look And Feel of Good Design by Ngee Ann Polytechnic. For a more immersive education, User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) by General Assembly.
User Experience: Uncover the Look And Feel of Good Design by Ngee Ann Polytechnic
- Duration: 2 days
- Fee: $460
User Experience Design Immersive (UXDI) by General Assembly
- Duration: 10 weeks
- Fee: $3,750
5. Cybersecurity — keeping the company safe from cyber attacks
Pretty much all of our information is stored online now. This not only includes personal and private information but also information that can be used against you. For example, in 2017, a ransomware called WannaCry hit computers all over the world — locking up important files and demanding Bitcoins for them to be opened again.
If this happens to a business, operations will stall. And when operations stall, money is lost. For these reasons, the security of our digital safes has become paramount. Every company that stores information online – especially sensitive ones – will need watertight cybersecurity. A mastery of this matter will therefore be extremely useful for everyday work.
Cyber Security for Non-IT Professionals by Singapore Polytechnic will introduce you to the different types of threats and malwares and how to safeguard your systems against them. If you’ve been in the IT industry for some time and want to specialise in cybersecurity, you can opt for the more advanced Master of Computing (Infocomm Security Specialisation) by NUS.
Cyber Security for Non-IT Professionals by Singapore Polytechnic
- Duration: 2 days
- Fee: $134.82
Master of Computing (Infocomm Security Specialisation) by NUS
- Duration: 2.5 years (part-time)
- Fee: $11,875*
*Fees may differ.
6. Supply chain — creating efficient chains of networks to reduce financial wastage
You order something from Alibaba, it gets packed, trucked, shipped, and finally delivered by a courier to your doorstep. All these things are part of what’s called a supply chain. And it’s not just e-commerce, but any business that has to move goods and material around.
That is what makes supply chain skills so sought after — plenty of businesses need them. In fact, the demand may even rise given how the world is becoming ever more connected and how more and more goods are being shipped from one part of the world to another.
For starters, you can go with Essentials of Supply Chain Management by Singapore University of Social Sciences, where you will be taught how to design and operate a simple supply chain. Taking a step – or more accurately, a few steps – up, there is the Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management by Kaplan, where you will go into the intricacies and complexities of the subject.
Essentials of Supply Chain Management by Singapore University of Social Sciences
- Duration: 1 day
- Fee: $650
Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management by Kaplan
- Duration: 1.5 years (part time)
- Fee: $22,898
7. Blockchain — the technology that powers Bitcoin & cryptocurrencies
We’re not talking specifically about Bitcoin — or cryptocurrency, for that matter. We’re talking about the underlying technology called “blockchain”.
A key feature of the blockchain is that it is “decentralised”. Put it simply, this means that if I want to pay my friend over the Internet, I can do so without having a middleman i.e. the bank.
Blockchain has been gathering more and more attention among large institutions of late — especially the financial ones. Even Facebook is jumping on with their in-development payment system Libra. Thus, it’s good to start acquainting yourself with the basic principles.
You can start with Blockchain: Embarking on the Journey by SMU. The course will not only help with the basics but also explain how it can affect businesses. To really specialise in blockchain, you’ll need a good grasp of coding. For this, you can apply for a part-time Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science) by NTU.
Blockchain: Embarking on the Journey by SMU
- Duration: 1 day
- Fee: $256.80
Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science) by NTU
- Duration : 4 years (part-time)
- Fee: $32,800
The list of courses we’ve given you is not exhaustive. There are hundreds of others that, some more niche than others, that will help you navigate the risky recessionary waters. But in the end, what is most important is that you keep learning. Stay still and you’ll fall behind.
Investing time and money in your job stability
Introductory courses are generally short and inexpensive. But they only give teasers of what the subject truly entails. This is good if you’re completely new to the subject and just need a short crash course on it to tell you more about what it is and what you can do with it.
Once you’re convinced that those areas are where opportunities are most abundant, and you have the intent and interest, you should definitely opt for more advanced, specialised courses.
Courses can be very expensive, especially higher level courses like masters programmes. If you’ve only just started working or have commitments, you may not have enough just yet to finance the entire course. This is where a loan will come in useful. In this way, a low-interest loan increases your financial capabilities and allows you to pursue more. After all, it’s an education that will go a long way in carving your future.
HSBC Personal Loans will give you the necessary support when it comes to furthering your knowledge and skill sets. Interest rates are low, the sign-up process is convenient with a 1 minute approval in-principle time when you apply online, and you get a choice of fixed or flexible repayment schemes.
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This post is brought to you in collaboration with HSBC Personal Loans.