Anshu Arora, Director Customer Success & Growth, RMIT Online, shares her tips on how to switch careers.
As the world of work continues to evolve, employees are in pursuit of new opportunities, new challenges, and new career paths. We are continually thinking more flexibly about our careers and looking at ways we can execute on it.
The idea of having a single career for your entire professional life has continually eroded over many decades.
In fact, a quarter of women have recently considered a career change, a fifth have actively searched for a new role and a tenth have interviewed for a new role at another company.
At a time when cost of living, inflation and interest rates are sharply climbing, it’s no surprise adequate remuneration (48%) is the top cited reason for women exploring new roles. Flexible working and career development opportunities follow at 36 and 30 percent respectively.
And while it may seem daunting at a time of low employment, switching industries is extremely viable and the barriers are much lower than they ever have been before.
The hardest part is knowing where you want to go
Quite simply, the world is evolving with emerging technologies and the new career pathways they are bringing with them.
Jobs that are currently in high demand like data scientists, machine learning engineers, and blockchain developers – literally didn’t exist less than a decade ago. But while demand is high, supply can’t keep up.
If you’re considering a career change, consider getting advice from other professionals in that area through online forums, social platforms or networking events.
Once you’ve identified where you are looking to pivot to, you can easily identify the necessary qualifications and skills required. For example, a programmer wanting to specialise as a Flying Car and Autonomous Flight Engineer may consider doing a refresher course on programming or data analytics.
Short-form learning is powering this cultural trend towards career switching
Previously, to execute a career pivot or switch meant investing years of time and thousands of dollars going back to university and completing another degree.
However, if businesses are to be equipped with the right capabilities, we must shift our perceptions of learning. That means, learning needs to happen outside a physical campus, and it needs to be accessible through a range of modes – whether that be short course qualifications in emerging areas to master in-demand skills, or longer postgraduate qualifications such as an MBA.
By comparison, short course qualifications provide targeted, rapid and more cost-effective modes of training meaning employees can acquire new skills, deepen their expertise in specific areas, or validate already acquired skills without committing to lengthy, traditional degree programs.
Whatever the mode or size of learning, one of the biggest challenges to successful online studies is life. At RMIT Online, we know we are asking a lot of our students to give us their precious time, so we need to ensure we make our learning experience simple, intuitive, and engaging.
Critically, the online experience allows for simple asynchronous learning, where students can dip in and out, but feel a sense of progress and retention as they navigate through the modules.
Getting your foot in the door
More and more, businesses are increasingly looking for skills and are much more open to hiring candidates who have gained qualifications in short courses or with micro-credentials, but that doesn’t take away from how hard it can be to land your first job in a brand-new field.
One option to overcome this is to start freelancing in your new field or doing personal projects to share publicly.
Another option is to look at government programs like the one for digital jobs from The Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) in Victoria that matches in demand skills with businesses. In fact, more than half of candidates who completed an RMIT Online course through this program have gone on to secure a digital role.
And finally, don’t underestimate the power of a well-connected network.
When you’re looking to change careers, all of this can be difficult to establish from the get-go. That’s why, at RMIT Online, we incorporate practical assessment into our Future Skills short courses co-designed by industry leaders and led by industry mentors who provide both technical guidance and career guidance.
While studying for the next step in your career, you have access to industry thought leaders and experts to deliver the best in flexible education using the latest digital tools and technologies for a highly interactive, virtual cohort experience.
Leaning into the future of work needs to equip students with in-demand skills and qualifications, we believe a skilled workforce drives economic growth. When Australians are actively upskilling, cross-skilling and reskilling to keep pace with technological advancements, businesses are better positioned to innovate, develop new products, and enter new markets and foster a more competitive and resilient economy.