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Skills That Cross over into Multiple Industries
From a relatively early age, a great emphasis is often placed upon specialization. We are asked what we want to be when we grow up, and we are encouraged to take career-specific education pathways. Even in pop culture, we are led to believe that everybody has a specific goal in mind, a vocational dream they aspire towards. The reality, of course, is quite different.
Many of us have no idea what the one, ideal career might look like. Life also has a habit of getting in the way of our initial plans and sending us down unexpected pathways. Industries can change, too, and the qualifications we thought would stand us in good stead may no longer be relevant in today’s workplace. This idea that it is important for us to specialize our skills is not just erroneous, but it can prevent us from seeing the true value in exploring new passions and building varied toolkits.
- So, what are the abilities that can truly prepare us to tackle a wide range of possibilities?
- What traits can we develop that can not only make us valuable in an ever-changing job market but can also hold intrinsic value in our personal lives?
- Are there skills that are truly transferable across industries that may not otherwise be related?
It’s time to delve into those qualities we can develop that empower us to cross boundaries and follow our curiosity.
The last few decades have seen us embracing technology in almost every aspect of our lives. An element of digital literacy is now an essential life skill. Many of us have the basic ability to navigate the day-to-day aspects of our technological landscape. We use smartphones, we can function in online spaces. However, there are digital abilities that we can nurture to help us thrive as our work and personal spaces become increasingly connected.
Many people still consider coding to be a niche skill. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Coding is the language we use to communicate with the devices and software upon which we’ve become reliant in many ways. Yet many of us still don’t understand this digital tongue. Of course, learning these skills can open up a wide variety of tech sector jobs, from games development to systems engineering.
However, non-tech companies are beginning to value candidates who have developed coding skills. This is increasingly reflected in salaries. Designers, c-suite business analysts, and even journalists are utilizing coding in their work. In understanding how to communicate in this digital language, they are discovering new pathways to innovate in their respective fields. On a personal level, this ability to edit and create software means coders are often less reliant upon the preferences and agendas of the companies that design our devices.
Cybersecurity, too, has become a widely sought element of digital literacy. There are very few industries today that don’t in some way utilize the internet, and it is always in companies’ best interest to invest in protection. A deficit of experts in this area has meant that those with practical knowledge of security for websites and networks are considered to be valuable. Candidates who have committed to developing their knowledge of cybersecurity have found themselves to be popular across a wide array of tech and non-tech sectors.
The visual arts have long been an area considered to have bleak prospects, except for the lucky few. This narrow and outdated view ignores the fact that those with visual skill sets offer value beyond traditional fine art environments. It should also be acknowledged that developing graphic capabilities often unlocks additional useful soft skills, such as confidence, observation, empathy and discipline. Beyond self-expression, the acquisition of creative abilities has immense practical worth.
Photography as an art form crosses genres — from portraiture to war correspondence. Similarly, photographic skills provide you with access to opportunities in a wide range of industries. Marketing departments are in frequent need of new, non-stock images for campaigns. Scientific and forensic fields that rely on the skilled recording of evidence are in need of those who possess photographic expertise. There are even opportunities for creators of niche visuals, such as food photography.
Graphic design skills are also attractive across more than just the traditional artistic spheres. If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, gaining knowledge of design approaches will help you to more effectively develop your brand. In tech industries, graphic designers have a vital role to play in user interface (UI) development, balancing attractive aesthetics with technical functions. Outside of career goals, knowledge of graphic design can be key in the effectiveness of political and social campaigns. The right combination of colors and eye-catching images can push an issue to the forefront of public consciousness.
Interpersonal and Collaborative Skills
When we talk about gaining people skills, too often this is through the lens of developing leadership potential. Our interpersonal abilities can do so much more than provide us with the opportunity to take charge. There is more value to be had by learning how to connect with our fellow human beings for mutual benefit, rather than an alternative career agenda. In finding opportunities to collaborate, we develop the soft skills that are in demand across multiple sectors and engage with a better understanding of our humanity.
We can always benefit from developing empathy. It doesn’t always come naturally to everybody, but it is one of the vital skills we need to thrive in any environment that requires we work around others. Those who make the effort to enhance this aspect of their interpersonal skills discover just how much of a cornerstone it is to the success of collaborative projects. We have a deeper insight into the needs of those around us, of how our actions affect others, and we become more adept at picking up on non-verbal cues. Empathy is being recognized as one of the primary skills businesses look for in candidates, regardless of sector. One excellent way to build these skills is through stepping outside of our comfort zone and working with charitable organizations that require close contact with people facing difficult life challenges.
It can seem like something of a cliché, but the importance of developing teamwork skills cannot be overstated. In terms of cross-industry appeal, those who have made a concerted effort to learn how to become a valuable, creative, productive member of a team will always be in demand. A lot of us think we work well with others, but a key aspect of teamwork is the ability to self-assess and adjust based on the needs of the team. There’s always scope for us to develop further. It can help to expose ourselves to different types of team dynamic and varied challenges. Become a considerate, versatile team member and we discover improvements to not only our work practices but also your personal relationships.
There is often pressure to narrow our acquisition of skills in order to fit specific industries. However, this approach often denies us the opportunity to explore different options and truncates our range of experiences. By gaining abilities that cross over into multiple industries, we can be free to discover vocational and personal fulfillment in fields we may not have previously considered.
About the Author
Magnolia Potter is from the Pacific Northwest and writes from time to time. She prefers to cover a variety of topics and not just settle on one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her outdoors or curled up with a good book. Chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.