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Ask Lawrence: How do I know what area to do more training in?

25 Jun 20:00 By Lawrence Akers


One of the things I’ve been telling everyone lately is that they need to be spending this down time right now to focus on ‘becoming a unicorn’.

What I mean by that is simply this; businesses have had to let go of their teams.  Over time as we move closer and closer to an economic recovery, these businesses will be in a place to bring people back on however with budgets being tight, the four people they’ll most likely require will have to be only one person initially.  Often what happens is that they take the job descriptions of the four people they wish they could get and take the most important skill set from each and mash it all together into one brief that I used to call a ‘Frankenbrief’.  Essentially, they’re looking for a unicorn.  You need to become a unicorn.

How do I know what skill sets I need to learn?

The obvious thing is this; if you can’t use your time right now to make money then you should be using your time on learning a skill that is going to make you money once things pick up.

This involves doing a bit of self reflection on your skill set and determining what gaps exist for you.

My recommendation is to look online and to look at the job descriptions that are currently going up.  Take a moment to observe where you do match but pay particular attention to where you don’t.  If you can see a theme forming in what is missing, then this is the most obvious place to focus your attention.

Otherwise, looking online for what the trends that are happening in design is going to be another smart move.  Clearly we’re moving more and more towards an integrated designer mentality where traditional print designers are expected to have skills online.  “Digital” is such a broad term though and could mean anything from UX/UI, Web Design, App Design, Landing Pages, EDMs, Social Media Graphics, Motion Graphics, Videography plus more.  Clearly spending some time to explore some of these areas is going to be time well spent, especially when you consider that applications like Sketch and XD are very popular right now.

How do I upskill into these areas when budgets are tight?

Most people are watching their budgets at the moment.  You really can’t blame them for that.  Having said that, there are always going to be ways to train in new areas for any budget.  

Inexpensive options like Youtubeudemy and Future Learn exist.  Yes, you can’t necessarily vouch for their quality nor do you get any form of qualification at the end however if you’re putting the learning into practice straight away (which you should be doing anyway), then these could be great for getting your head around these areas.

Next up are platforms like Lynda or even organisations like General Assembly.  These are more premium priced however you should expect greater quality control on the content and potentially even some form of accreditation at the end.

Of course, outside of that you have options like books, podcasts or even approaching someone to be a mentor.

Creative Recruiters Virtual Meet Up

This week's virtual meet up was all about upskilling and using the work in personal projects.  You can check it out below.

After this week, the meet ups will be moving to fortnightly on Wednesday at 1:00PM with the next one being July 1st.

For more information and to be kept informed, sign up here.