Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
Keeping up with changes in technology can be tricky, but it’s not impossible
I’m a designer who has been working in various industries around Asia for 20 years. Recently I was made redundant and found most companies are now looking for "digital" specialists, something I’m not too familiar with. I’m at the age where I don’t feel like going back to school. How else can I keep up with technology to remain employable?
In my 12 years working in Hong Kong, I have seen many changes in the employment market, but none with as much impact as the rise of the digital age and its associated technologies. Social media and online tools are changing the game when it comes to how companies market themselves to their customers and promote their brand. This is creating an entirely new workforce of highly specialised digital professionals, who have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of digital technologies and their impact on business.
Without a more detailed understanding of your background as a designer, it is difficult to provide exact advice on what your next career steps should be. However my advice for anyone who is looking to change careers or has been made redundant is to:
1. take an objective and realistic appraisal of your current career options by taking guidance and advice from professionals and people around you whom you trust
2. develop a career plan and a list of target roles/employers and
3. be persistent, positive and pro-active in your job search process to maximise your chances of success.
As far as keeping up with the digital world and technologies go, it’s not always necessary to go back to school but I would highlight that it is very important for professionals to keep up with modern technologies, depending on the type of design you specialise in. It may well be the case that you can still use traditional design methodologies to gain employment and be successful as a designer and that you just need to target the right roles and employers.
However, if you feel there are technologies you need to upskill and improve on to become employable in the sector you are working in, perhaps look into taking online courses, conducting research online and attending relevant industry seminars.
There are thousands of online courses out there, which will coach you from the basics to an advanced level on almost any technology you care to mention as well as a plethora of social networking sites and online forums to interact with and learn from.
The digital age has presented a variety of new ways to get ahead in the professional realm, but it’s also important to remember that, in Hong Kong, none of these replace the need for a strong resume, strong interview skills and a positive attitude when searching for your next role.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Re-wiring your skills for the digital world.