Many large companies, especially tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, have seen mass layoffs. It isn’t surprising that some people feel they no longer possess the necessary skills for a job that once seemed cut and dry.

However, this does not mean that all hope should be lost. “Upskilling” and “reskilling” are two great methods for increasing both your job security and adaptability. These two forms of professional development are similar in method but different in their outcome: both involve learning new skills, however, their end goals are different. In this article, we will discuss upskilling vs.reskilling and when each tactic is most suitable for career development.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is focused on the expansion of an individual’s existing skillset. It helps an employee advance to the next step on their current career path. For example: a social media copywriter may have clients that ask for visual content, such as Instagram posts. To meet this demand, the copywriter may work to build some basic graphic design skills. While these skills fall outside of their current job function, they are helping the employee to expand on the work they’re able to offer clients.

Digital upskilling is a particularly relevant form of upskilling in the current labor market, especially among many older employees. Examples of digital upskilling include learning new software, coding languages, social media platforms, and more. And upskilling of any kind not only helps employees to be more successful in their current roles, but also helps job-searchers become more qualified for positions in their existing fields.

Consider the same social media copywriter example from earlier. Perhaps their company just introduced support for TikTok, so the copywriter now needs to learn the ins and outs of TikTok’s platform: how to create posts, what keywords to use, what length of video is most successful, etc. Even if the copywriter isn’t actually creating videos for TikTok, they should still be familiar with the process in order to write the most successful copy possible.

Employee upskilling benefits both the employee and the employer. Employers get an employee who is more qualified for their position and more adaptable to the company’s current needs, all without the expense and hassle of hiring a new person. Employees, on the other hand, get the benefit of more tools and strategies to help them be successful, which could lead to increased salary and job security and, often, a greater sense of fulfillment in their job.

For those looking to upskill effectively, there are several resources to help you. A great starting point is to communicate with your supervisor and ask about any professional development opportunities that your company offers. Outside of internal company opportunities, credential courses are growing in popularity.

In-person courses–such as Denison Edge’s programs in marketing, finance, supply chain logistics, and more–are a great way to build skills while earning a certificate that can be displayed alongside your resume. Additionally, LinkedIn Learning® courses allow you to upskill at your own pace. They also offer an extensive library of courses that cover just about any professional topic that you would want to learn more about, from software tutorials to coding languages, to communication skills.

The most important thing to ask yourself when upskilling is “How will this course help me achieve my goals?” Once you’ve answered that satisfactorily, then it’s time to get learning!

What is Reskilling?

Reskilling focuses on developing skills that are entirely outside of your existing skillset, and possibly outside of your job function as well. A common example of reskilling is when someone who has never worked in the tech world attends a “coding bootcamp.”

Imagine that the same social media copywriter from the first two examples wanted to make a career transition and become a software developer–a much different role than copywriting. In this case, the copywriter might decide to complete what’s known as a “coding bootcamp”–an intensive program where participants learn common coding languages and computer science fundamentals, starting from scratch.

There are a lot of benefits to reskilling programs like bootcamps. First of all, they allow you to pivot into a different industry entirely, despite lacking a formal background in that area. They also allow you to learn a lot in a short period of time. Lastly, they can make applicants more well-rounded and therefore more desirable to employers. Someone who can write the software, and write the text too? That’s an ideal combination!

Reskilling can benefit many different industries. Consider that more and more companies are beginning to automate processes that used to be entirely human-driven. One example of this is the emergence of the use of AI in writing and design fields. Companies that offer writing- and design-based services could soon see competition from AI-powered bots that do much of that work with much less human input.

In this case, our social media copywriter might reskill by taking an online credential course in business analytics. This skill set would be outside of the copywriter’s current job function, but would allow them the flexibility to pivot into a new position or field, should they have the need.

When it comes to reskilling effectively, however, it’s important to do so with intention. Hopping into a new industry just because there is money to be made will likely result in burnout and/or boredom. Learning a new skillset should involve genuine interest and curiosity, especially if you expect to follow that path long term.

If you’re hoping to pivot within your current company, start by talking to your manager about opportunities available to you. Or, if you’re between careers, consider doing some research into what skills are most desirable in your area. Then begin exploring in-person or online credential courses or bootcamps related to your field of interest. Choose something that you could genuinely see yourself doing, but don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone. You might just find the career you were always meant to be in.

Upskilling vs. Reskilling: Which is Right for You?

Now that you know the difference between upskilling and reskilling, you should be better prepared to choose the path that aligns most closely with your personal and professional goals. Are you trying to climb further on the career ladder in your current industry? Or are you looking to jump into a new field entirely? The former is more suited for upskilling, while the latter is more suited for reskilling.

It’s also important to take industry trends into account. Is there a particular software or skill that is growing in popularity in your industry? If so, it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with it. It can never hurt to be more qualified for your job.

MakeYour Next Career Move

There are many resources you can utilize to upskill or reskill yourself. Denison Edge’s various workshops and credential courses are a great way to dive into a variety of popular business subjects. We currently offer courses in marketing, business analytics, finance, supply chain logistics, accounting, and nonprofit work.

With all courses led by industry experts, anybody can walk away from one of our courses with a new skill set in their toolbox. If you would like to learn more about our available courses, head over to our programs page to browse and register for courses. Regardless of the outlet you choose, upskilling and reskilling is about working toward your goals.