“India may have entered quasi-recession”

“As recession fears loom, is India better equipped than 2008?”

With headlines like these, it’s clear that India is headed for an economic slowdown. But it’s not just India, the world’s largest economies, the U.S., China and Germany, are seeing all the signs that precede a recession.

As 2008 (now dubbed ‘The Great Recession’) taught us, the sectors that are hit the hardest in a recession are IT and ITES. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for IT professionals. There’s a secret to surviving the recession, something that professionals and companies all over the world realised thanks to their learnings from the last recession.

The secret is upskilling. Yes, it’s that simple.

If you are an IT professional concerned about how to not just survive but thrive in the recession, you need to seriously consider upskilling as the answer.

Here’s why:

Employers prioritise skills during recessions

A study of employer behaviour between 2007 and 2010 showed that although hiring went down, it didn’t completely subside, instead hiring was limited to highly skilled professionals. This is because in a recession, labour supply increases and as a result, employers capitalise on this situation to hire professionals whose skills would otherwise be unaffordable during a growth period.

Skills that can’t be automated are valued

The first mandate for most companies during an economic slowdown is to cut costs. In most cases, companies do this by laying off their employees whose jobs can be automated with the help of technology. That’s why IT professionals with highly developed skills that can’t be automated are not only safe but valued during a recession.

Upskilling opens you up to more responsibilities

As companies look to reduce their manpower costs during a recession, they are also on the lookout for employees who are willing and able to take on additional responsibilities. By learning new skills and certifications that enable you to take on additional responsibilities at work, you will be seen as a valuable asset.

Upskilling helps you prepare for the post-recession world

A recession is usually a time of great upheaval and often skills that were valuable before a recession end up looking redundant after it. And since the post-recession period is always a time of growth and high demand for labour, you need to be ready to capitalise on it. That’s why a recession is usually the correct time to identify the skills that you need to develop and start upgrading them through learning. This ensures that you will be eligible for much better roles and higher pay checks once the recession comes to an end.

So, now that you have opened to the idea of upskilling, how do you go about it? Remember that upskilling works best if you have a goal in mind. Do you want to upskill to stay ahead of your peers in terms of skills? Are you upskilling in order to chase down a bigger paycheck? Is there a dream company that you want to get a job in? Do you want to score a big promotion at work or do you want to change your career path altogether?

Once you have decided why you want to upskill, here’s what I recommend you do next:

Identify the right technology

When it comes to picking the best technology to upskill in, you need to consider a few things. Even if the technology isn’t wildly popular, is it likely to be more accepted in the immediate future? Are the thought leaders of your industry excited by the technology? Are you passionate about the technology and will it help you organically grow as an IT professional?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, then you’ve found the right technology to upskill in.

Pick the right learning platform

Your ideal learning platform should have features that are designed to make learning convenient and efficient. You should be able to attend classes whenever it's convenient for you and still be able to interact with the instructors. You should have access to experts whenever you need help and your instructors need to be industry-experienced and of high quality.

Remember, it’s not just about what you learn but also how you learn it.

Get certified as industry-ready

Unless you are learning just for the sake of learning, you’re learning journey is incomplete without industry-recognised certification. A valid certificate proves that you trained in that particular technology and that you have skills that can be immediately put into practice in the workplace.

Ensure that you pick a learning partner whose certificates are widely recognised in the industry and whose curriculum includes plenty of real-world practical learning.

Views are personal.

The author is co-founder, Edureka

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