Retraining the World

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Microsoft has announced a training initiative to help people around the world acquire digital skills. They are using their resources from Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Github to try and accomplish three big things: find jobs and their skills requirements, provide content to help people gain skills, and make low cost certifications and job-seeking tools. At a time when many people are worried about th future, it's good to see them making an effort to help.

You can read about this in a blog from EVP Brad Smith. In addition to using their existing resources, that are also giving cash to non profits that are working to assist people in preparing for and finding new jobs. They also have efforts to help organizations learn to retrain and re-skill their existing workers.

I think lifelong learning, especially in different areas, is a critical skill. While there may be some careers that don't require lots of new learning, many do. Some auto mechanics constantly must learn about new vehicles. Some may get by on old skills, but fewer and fewer over time. Most other professions that move beyond entry level require new skills.

Perhaps more importantly, and especially in technology, we need to continue to improve our existing skills. While changing employees is costly, if we move to more remote work, more independent work that will force more documentation and sharing for information among people, I could see job security becoming more tenuous in some ways. Certainly the ability to solve more problems, or get help from others, will be important as we may potentially be evaluated more independently over time.

Investing in learning some new skill has always been a gamble, and no shortage of people have started down some path, only to find it doesn't produce them enough job opportunities, or perhaps not well enough paying prospects. Microsoft, and many other resources, are reducing the cost in our industry. You don't need to buy a class or pursue a degree, but you do need to invest time, as well as work on your own to build and refine the skills you've learned.

Pass along these resources to others that might need them, and don't forget to take advantage of them yourself if you want to make take change and make changes in your career path.

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