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7 Reasons to Upskill in the Face of COVID

Posted on 
September 14, 2020
Utkarsh Sahu
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About The Author!
Utkarsh Sahu
Utkarsh Sahu
Director of Category Management at Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW

Have you considered upskilling yourself recently? Do you want to crack tough technical interviews at the best companies and move to greener career pastures? Do you feel the need to stay relevant, especially in the face of COVID? 

A study in 2018 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cited that about 50% of global jobs run the risk jobs of changing significantly or becoming irrelevant in the next decade. A report by the Mckinsey Global Institute pointed out that approximately 15% of the global workforce will lose their jobs because of the advent of AI and automation.

It’s no hearsay that COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the digital transformation of companies. Companies are actively seeking to secure their future in a world that has undergone transformational change. 

There’s been an increasing emphasis on upskilling in recent times, and interestingly enough, in a market environment that’s promising little to nothing. Yes, COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and impacted markets across industry and service spectrums. The impact on the job market has been particularly severe, with several workers being furloughed or sacked, as companies are finding it challenging to thrive in an uncertain business landscape. 

Does this call for upskilling oneself? Do these turbulent times present the right climate to uplevel and move to bigger/better companies and take on more challenging roles? 

There have been differing opinions around the seriousness to upskill “right now”. What could be the best thing for you needn’t be of interest to someone else. But that doesn’t answer the glaring question on the urgency to upskill. 

Employees are being affected because of the impact on organizations

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on businesses across the board, and consumer behavior has witnessed a dimensional shift. Switching to partially or completely remote-driven environments has influenced several major organizations to rethink their resource utilization, and consequently, the workforce has borne the brunt of the effects. 

Observing the importance of data-driven decision making to their very survival, organizations are increasingly resorting to big-ticket investments in analytics, automation, AI, and digitization. 

With such sweeping changes that have taken shape, the workforce has had to get on their feet. Yes, upskilling has become more important than ever for a ton of reasons, many that are fairly conspicuous.   

7 reasons why you should uplevel in the face of Covid

  1. Small companies have staggered their hiring 

A big reason why upskilling has become so relevant is that small companies have been heavily impacted by the crisis. Shelved revenues owing to a dip in consumer confidence coupled with a dramatic shift in consumer behavior and inclinations have caused many small enterprises to realign their strategies. 

Let’s take Airbnb for instance. The company’s CEO was quoted as saying that the model built over several years of toil has been disrupted severely, if not completely shattered, by a few weeks of the pandemic-induced chaos. Startup revenues are being squeezed inside out, and to instill investor confidence at a time like this can be a devil of a job.

With a magnitude of startups rethinking their ways of doing business and embracing new and innovative technologies, their resource requirement has drifted toward hiring individuals who can solve new-age problems. And how can you see yourself being of use to startups that are ready to pay handsomely? Upskill! There isn’t any other way, really.   

  1. FAANG companies are actively hiring

If you thought that FAANG companies have slowed down their hiring activities, well, they haven’t. They’re looking, in fact now more than ever, for accomplished engineers who can drive the next wave of technological transformation. 

Many experienced engineers look to get through FAANG interviews for a spate of reasons ranging from super-interesting projects to excellent pay structures. 

With the additional time in your hands, you must consider taking up an uplevelling course that will strengthen your fundamentals and guide you in the right direction to crack tough interviews at these companies.

  1. Companies are looking to become more competitive

With companies becoming more competitive, there’s a crying need to onboard competent engineers and problem solvers. 

It has become an accepted fact that in order for companies to emerge stronger, they must have a skilled workforce in their armory. And with the very survival of certain operations hanging in the air, they need a reinforced workforce capable of riding the wave. 

With employees having an integral role to play in helping companies overhaul themselves and become competitive, as an employee, the ball is on your court. If you upskill now, you’ll be in perfect stead to help companies deal with new-age problems that are evidently besetting them. 

  1. Skill has never been valued more and roles are becoming more demanding

Has skill been valued more? Not so much as it is now. Even the biggest firms that have cushioned the impacts of the pandemic are looking for individuals who are more skilled than the average person applying to a position.

Artificial intelligence, analytics, robotics, automation and Digitization are going to dictate the jobs of the future. And these are emerging technologies that the average engineer or marketer isn’t adept with. 

If you’re able to upskill yourself in your domain and possess skills to help companies battle problems presented by this changing dynamic, you can safely consider yourself ahead of the race. Problem solving comes with practice, and has been identified as the most valuable skill in recent times. 

  1. Larger companies are looking to expand their geographical influence

Expanding to newer and more promising pastures requires a reassessment of existing strategies and frameworks. New geographical locations being-in new challenges that require innovative approaches. 

An interesting thing about the pandemic is that large technology firms including Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Microsoft haven’t toned down their hiring operations. In fact, what they’re doing is reorganizing their human resource management systems to meet the demands of the present-day industry. 

With this and a lot more at stake, especially for big enterprises seeking to expand their sphere of influence in global markets, the timing for upskilling hasn’t been near as perfect. 

  1. The peer competition is stiff

Well, everybody’s looking for better opportunities, aren’t they? The corporate work culture has embraced competitiveness among employees and good performers are constantly rewarded for their exploits. With a large section of the workforce acknowledging the need to upskill and perform meritoriously to keep their jobs, the peer competition has become unrelenting, especially for positions that are in-demand and pay excellently. 

Upskilling yourself is this crucial juncture is the need of the hour. You’ll have to be at the top of your game if you wish to rise up the corporate ladder. Not upskilling yourself might prove, especially at a time when corporations are looking to reorganize their workforce to address the demanding challenges of the current day.   

  1. Upskilling can unlock better pay grades

If you’re looking for a spike in your income, a proven way to do so is to upskill and apply to positions at companies that pay. It’s no surprise that the big tech firms are ever ready to bring-in genius engineers on board, and they’re willing to go the distance as far as pay demands are concerned. 

The best way to give yourself a good shot at landing a dream opportunity at a FAANG firm is to upskill and embrace a dedicated prep approach. 

So, Do you get on your skates and steer your career to new horizons? 

Get started with your technical interview prep now! Sign up for our free webinar today! 

Last updated on: 
September 22, 2023

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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