6 Future-Ready Functional Skills for Fast-Track Careers
‘Future-Ready Functional Skills’ is Pillar #2 of the 10X Career Foundation Program. Here is my article, which should get you started, on a fast-track career.
Functional skills are what we call as the ‘Hard Expertise’. It is a combination of your knowledge, experience and your ability to apply that knowledge & experience, which makes you an expert.
In the real world, there are two categories of skills-
- First- ‘Present-Ready’ skills, which are needed for you to perform in your current role.
- Second- Future-Ready Skills. These are the skills that shape your future and that of the companies that need them. These skills are highly rewarding
For example in ‘Inventory Management’, futuristic skills could be related to real-time inventory optimization with logistics and vendor networks, advanced multi-location stock management, RFID based inventory bin tracking, etc..
In-short Present-Ready Skills will help you get a good salary increment. Whereas, future-ready skills will help you get a significant increment, new job opportunities, and faster career growth
Here are the key categories of future-ready skills with
Future-Ready Skill Category #1: Business Systems for Transformation
For all non-IT professionals, an extensive knowledge of one or more of the following platforms will always be in demand:
- Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
- Customer Relationship Management Systems
- Business Process Management Systems
- Data Analytics and Reporting
- Product Design and Development Systems
- Project Planning and Management Platforms
There are hundreds of tool categories and thousands of platforms on which you can train yourself. Apart from generic tools, there are sector-specific systems like banking systems, claims processing systems, mining management systems, Loan management systems and so on. Apart from that, there are highly specialized systems like Engineering Systems, Trading, and investment management systems, and Route Management systems.
Organizations have no option but to automate and automate quickly. There are reasonably good software tools and technical specialists available. Organizations need business people who can implement these systems to help companies become cheaper, faster and better.
Future-Ready Skill Category #2– Digitization and Internet-Based Businesses
Digitization, E-Commerce and Internet-based Economy is integrating every possible operation of a company with its customers, and suppliers Here are the key skill areas, which you can choose from to develop your digitization expertise.
- Digital Marketing
- E-Commerce Management
- Customer E-Portal and E-Integration
- Vendor E-Portal and E-Integration
- Online Real-Time Sensor-based Integration
- Online Collaboration
If you are capable to help a company conceive and implement its digital online strategy, you will be chased by great Job opportunities, within and outside of your company.
Future-Ready Skill Category #3-Latest Software Tools
Here are some areas which are HOT, and are expected to be HOT over some years to come:
- Machine-Learning and Artificial Intelligence
- Mobile App Development
- Search Engine Optimization
- Data Visualization Development
- User Interface and User Experience Design
- Network and Information Security
- Wired and Non-Wired Network Communication
- Cloud Computing
- Internet of Things
- Data Science and Analytics
- Latest IT Tools for Business Systems Applications
Gaining expertise will skyrocket the value of any programming, design, and architecture professionals. Here is why?-
- They are core to the way the businesses are going to be run in the future.
- Each of these areas has further sub-skills- So if you are multi-skilled, you will be pitched for a team and project manager.
- The technologies in all these categories are constantly changing. As long as you are continuously upgrading, you will be on a fast track.
Future-Ready Skill Category #4- New Sector-Specific Technologies
Every Industry has a set of leading-edge technologies that will occupy the future of that sector. Few examples are:
- Electric-Vehicles in Automotive Sector
- Lithium-Ion Batteries in Energy Storage Devices
- Virtual Reality Devices in Entertainment Sector
- Decomposable plastics in packing Industry
- 3D Printing in Fabrication
- Image Recognition in Security, Entertainment and Warfare
- 5G technologies in Tele-communications
- Smart Devices in Consumer Durables
There are thousands of new technologies emerging in hundreds of sectors. Not every technology becomes successful. However, there comes a tipping point when a new technology starts growing exponentially and nearly every player is looking for experts in that area. Now all examples which we have shared here are going through explosive growth. So if you are smart, you will sense on which technology is getting hot in your sector, and work on developing your skills on the same.
So this is what you need to do- Research on the product technology in your sector, which is tested and now is in the fast expansion mode. It will take you a couple of years to develop some expertise in tech, so start investing early.
Future-Ready Skill Category #5 -Business Management Skills
Business Management Skills is a unique category, which is among the oldest set of skills identified by the corporate world. Here are some of the highly sought-after management skills which can be applied across functions and sectors.
- Project Management
- Business Process Management
- Performance Management
- Data Analysis and Reporting
- Communications Management
- Strategic Planning
You can develop business management skills in many different ways. It includes a full-time management degree, a part-time management degree, short-term execution management programs, online courses, and in-house training programs organized by your company.
What you need to understand is that organizations are struggling to find people with effective management skills (mind you, not only education). A good manager at any level (be it a first-line manager or senior management executive) is always well-rewarded.
Future-Ready Skill Category #6 – Advanced Function-Specific Skills
Unless you are the CEO of a company, you would mostly be working within a specific department or a function like Sales, Finance, Marketing, Project Management, Production/Operations, Supply Chain Management and Human Resources.
Every function today is going through a tremendous change. New and transformational practices are evolving in every possible department. So while a normal function-specific skill could be ‘Present-Ready’ skill, there are new or ‘advanced’ skills in that function which can provide you a big boost, if you develop expertise. We have discussed an example of inventory management skills at the beginning of this post.
Here are some more examples;
- Sales- Making Contracts and Proposals for large strategic Client, how to negotiate and close big-ticket sales
- Finance – Activity and component-based expenses, financial control software, an algorithm based investment
Pick 1 Future Ready Skill Each for Short-Term (3 Months), Medium-Term (12 Months) and Long-term (24 Months). Start investing in them, and also find opportunities within your organization to practice those skills.