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This lockdown has given us a lot of things to think about. All the time we are saving by not traveling to and from work has helped us work on other things, like our health, or spending more time with family. But even after that, we all have quite a bit of time left, which we can easily use to find skills to learn during quarantine. Thanks to WiFi, the vastness of the internet, and the expertise of the people we can find online, there’s a lot of ways to learn new things and upskill. But before we take a look at them one by one…
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is adding something new to the already existing knowledge you have on a subject. Say you are a commerce student who knows the basics of trading. Now, when you choose to upskill, you will be learning about tools commonly used in the fintech industry, like Interactive Brokers or AmiBroker.
Many institutions provide their students with the opportunity of upskilling or training. With the future job markets changing so rapidly, the more of the opportunities you take up, the better. Because trust me – there are a bunch coming your way.
Today, online courses are one of the most popular ways to improve skills. Not only do they offer the opportunity to learn your favorite subject from well-known tutors, but they also give you the luxury to do it from the comfort of your home. What’s more, even the length and the duration of the course can be based on your preference.
To figure out which course is the best for you, pick a topic of your interest. This subject could be anything – from statistics, finance, and programming languages, to architecture, psychology, and how to improve communication skills. And the more precise you are about your choice, the easier it will be to find a relevant course.
Once you know what you want to study, decide how many hours you wish to spend learning it. Then, hop on to Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn, or even Google! You will find that they offer thousands of online courses throughout the year, some of which are taken by renowned universities across the globe. And voila, you can now start acquiring all the important skills you need!
This method is my favorite way to accomplish personal development goals. When your eyes get tired of being glued to your screen, a book can offer you a soothing recluse. At the same time, reading a book teleports you and gives you somebody else’s perspective on the world, which, if you ask me, is the best way to remember something new you’ve learned.
Again, when it comes to books, the choices are innumerable. If you wish to study finance, you can check out ‘The Zurich Axioms’ or ‘The Intelligent Investor.’ In case you’re looking for self-improvement, try ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ or ‘The Alchemist.’ To learn more about the life sciences, you can pick up ‘What is Real?’ and ‘Chaos.’ And if you’re afraid you might not be able to get through thick books, start with ‘Who Moved my Cheese?’
The best part is, you can easily find PDF versions of any book you want on the internet. So, take your pick (let me know if you’re still looking for suggestions), get a book, and dive in! The things you learn will astound you.
Online lectures and books set aside, attending a webinar is the second-best way to improve skills during this lockdown. This way, you don’t only get the standard classroom experience but also have the opportunity to interact with peers online. What’s more, you can ask questions as and when the subject is being taught by the instructor.
To attend a webinar, you can check out upcoming events on Facebook, broadcasts about live sessions on Instagram, or sift through your inbox looking for a webinar invitation. Another thing you can do is research organizations in the field of your interest and subscribe to their social media channels. This way, when a webinar is coming up, you will be notified.
Take iSchoolConnect, for example. We specialize in higher education abroad. So, if you’re looking to learn more about ‘How to shortlist universities’ or ‘Build your profile for a scholarship application,’ you can register with us to get email notifications about our upcoming webinars!
Be it in the field of Architecture, Technology, or Medicine, virtual conferences are the next big thing. Through them, you’ll get to meet like-minded people, stay up to date with the latest developments in your field, and maybe even share your own work & get constructive feedback about it.
To find out about an upcoming conference, keep an eye on your inbox and check for emails from relevant organizations. You might also get notifications on your Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook about the same. Then, there are websites, like Eventbrite, where you can sign up and see a list of upcoming conferences.
The key difference between a webinar and a virtual conference is that, when attending a virtual conference, you will be able to choose who you want to speak to. There will be a bunch of panelists, each covering a different topic in your field of interest, and you can choose your room. The best part? You get to do all this and improve your skills from the comfort of your home.
You heard me – create a network. Find something that interests you, go on your favorite social media platforms, and search for the people who have similar interests as yours. This will not only help you improve skills but also find you people who will support you when you decide to do something new.
Look at it this way – if you like painting, you will find artists on Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest who do it all day. You can reach out to them, ask them for proper guidance, and learn the important skills needed to do it yourself. This way, you are learning directly from an expert, who you can reach out to for help anytime you want.
Trust me – it is this network of people who will help you excel at your goals in life. And if you’re worried about talking to them, don’t. They will be very happy to help.
Start something of your own
Do you know how they say that the best way to learn something is to do it yourself? Well, this is personal development goals 101. If you want to upskill your programing ability, build a website. In case you’re interested in learning photography, start a new Instagram account & take a 100-day challenge! Want to learn about creating and editing videos? Start your own YouTube channel!
The more you think about it, the more things you will find to do. And don’t be scared about being able to do it well. The hardest part is to begin. Once you do that, all the online courses you have taken, all the books you’ve read, and the network of people you’ve built, will step in to help and improve your skills.
But which skills should I learn?
What areas you wish to upskill on will depend on what you already know. However, there are a few universal skills that are always good to have and some other popular ones that are definitely the skills to learn during quarantine. If you’re unsure what to train yourself in, you can choose from on of the options below.
Having the ability to adapt and be flexible in new situations is a skill that can be easily learned. Look at the way we shifted our world into the online space this pandemic, and see how much that helped.
There has been a boost in technology because of coronavirus. So, you could try your hand on digital skills such as coding and web development, the likes of which are constantly evolving and gaining popularity.
With false media coverage and multiple sources of information in abundance, critical thinking provides us with the ability to think in a rational manner and understand the connection between ideas and facts.
Individuals with high emotional intelligence are greatly desired at organizations because they are able to take others’ feelings and emotions into consideration when making an important decision.
Foreign languages are one of the most in-demand skills globally. It might be a good idea to start the process of learning a new tongue during your spare time by using Duolingo!
With zoom meetings calling for all the attention, we have been forced to improve our communication skills, be it presenting online, asking questions in front of students and colleagues, or simply participating.
Time management skills
One of the benefits of transitioning to online has been having the flexibility to do things at our own pace. But add time management skills, and you will have learned to block our all distractions and be productive.
I hope that these tips to improve skills have given you some direction about where to start. In case you’re feeling stuck or are still unsure about what you want to do, feel free to reach out or drop a comment below.
Until then, happy learning!