Last Updated on

Big changes are coming to the workforce in the next two years — it’s expected that 42% of the core skills needed to perform existing jobs will change.

This means we’re likely looking at a future where your skills are more important than the degrees you hold. 

With this shift, more people will look to online learning to uplevel their skills and to help gain the practical, hands-on experience employers will be looking for. 

Here’s a look at why this shift is happening, and how online learning can help you get ahead of the curve.

Why Skills, Not Degrees, Are the New Focus

One of the biggest drivers of this shift is the need to enable a bigger workforce by opening up jobs to more applicants. A US Chamber of Commerce study found that 74% of survey respondents indicated that skills talent is lacking amongst the current workforce.

Another driving factor can be attributed to technology. Technology evolves rapidly, so what was relevant a year ago may no longer be. For example, Upwork’s Quarterly Skill Index reported that in Q2 of 2019, the top 20 fastest growing skills listed were all appearing on the index for the first time. 

Couple that with a rapid expansion in certain industries — like big data and artificial intelligence — and employers simply can’t afford to eliminate strong potential candidates just because they don’t have a specific degree. 

In this climate, education and skill building are both things that shouldn’t have a “stop” point. The good news is that thanks to the increasing availability of online learning, it’s easier than ever for workers to add to their arsenal of skills.  

Also, it’s important to note that GPAs and transcripts aren’t always an indication of ability. For example, certain skills, like coding, are a “can” or “can’t” scenario. It doesn’t matter where or how you learned them, it just matters that you can execute effectively and deliver the desired results.

How Can Online Learning Help?

Online learning will be essential when it comes to equipping the evolving workforce with new and needed skills. 

Online learning offers a level of flexibility that you don’t get with traditional schools. You can master new skills at your own pace, from anywhere in the world (which is key during COVID-19)— all while maintaining your current employment.

Most online learning also offers a less costly way to get the education you need, within a shorter amount of time. You can choose from a wide range of courses and program options that suit your current needs and ability to commit, whether it’s a one-year intensive or a one-time course to improve upon specific skills. 

Plus, for some roles, like a UX designer, potential employers will expect to see a portfolio of your work, so online learning offers an opportunity to get practical experience that can help you build a portfolio that demonstrates your competency.

Start Building New Skills With Online Learning

Whether you’re simply looking to advance in your current position, make a lateral move or want to enter a new field, online learning offers one of the best paths to get there. By focusing on building skills, not just collecting degrees and certificates, you’re positioning yourself to be more appealing to employers and excel in your industry. 

Considering an online program or course to uplevel your skills and education?

Udacity offers a comprehensive course catalog to help you find your perfect program and get the skills top companies are looking for. 

Start Learning