There was a recent NY Times article with a story about how someone without a formal education, got hired by IBM as a technician. This illustrates something I have been advocating for years: For a majority of jobs, it does not matter how you acquire the necessary technical skills so “if you can prove your skill levels with an assessment and / or demonstration, then you deserve to get hired for a job”.
Here is a list of top skills for 2017 (according to LinkedIn):
• Cloud and distributed computing
• Statistical analysis and data mining
• Mobile development
• Storage systems and management
• User interface design
• Network information security
• Middleware and integration software
• Web architecture and development
• Algorithm design
• Java development
These are the most in demand skills, yet each of them can be learned through self-guided learning or alternatives to a four-year college degree. Moreover, these skills can be learned for free, in a series of Coursera MOOCs called ‘specializations’ (courses are free, and nominal fee for the certificate).
(From my personal experiences) I think many of these skills can be learned through reading books, watching videos, and downloading examples, and then tinkering with applying the concepts. For example, I learned the skill of ‘web architecture and development’ through this process. (I have over ten years of experience developing web applications.)
I think an apprenticeship / mentorship program is an ideal way to learn many of these technical skills. If you are lucky (like I have been twice in my career), you land a mentor who is a master of his skills and wants to pass them onto you. For computer and network technicians, an apprenticeship is optimal; for a java, mobile or web developer, a short bootcamp and then applied learning with a mentor is ideal.
A Skills Culture is a growth mindset to be motivated and taking action to learn and apply skills. It does not always matter how you learn the skills; though, it does matter how you apply them – the underlying methods. To conclude, from the above-mentioned article:
“Elevating skills over pedigree creates new pathways”.