Posted on: Monday 2 November, 2020
During four years of studying at the university, you may have gained a lot of academic knowledge, but what about the skills required to pursue your desired career path? If you want to be an outstanding candidate who can confidently apply for different jobs, you should figure out the skills in demand and find ways to improve them, especially now that we are facing such a competitive job market following the pandemic crisis.
As a result, training and skills development has become more essential than ever. Let’s see how you can access these resources and find ways to stay ahead of the competition, even if you are still an undergraduate.
The Gap Between the Educational System and the Job Market in Egypt
Theoretical learning has a significant influence on building a strong academic background in your field. However, there is a gap between what you learn in college lectures and the experience you need in the job market. That is where the value of practically applying this knowledge lies.
By getting exposed to the labor market needs early on, you get to increase your competitive skills and learn the job requirements in your field. For example, if you study business administration, you will find that the job market conditions may require additional knowledge in accounting, marketing, or financial management.
We spoke with many undergraduate students about the challenges that they encounter. Randa Khoury, a senior student at Helwan University, Faculty of Applied Arts, replied: “Internships might help me get familiar with real work life. I learned a lot from my university, but now it’s time to link this education with the actual job market.”
“I need to know how to apply my knowledge, and what skills I need to deal with my workmates, especially that, in the Graphic Design field, the salaries are not stable, so I need to know how to expand my network and have the ability to evaluate my salary and display my work in a better way.”
From here, we could grasp the specific needs and fears that many students go through at the beginning of their professional life, and we gathered some of the skills they need to acquire to help overcome all these worries.
What Are the Skills Required in The Current Job Market?
According to the Skill Up Project, funded by the European Union that aims to develop graduates’ skills and prepare them for the job market, the skills you need to develop are cognitive, social, and methodological skills, besides digital skills and knowledge of specific topics.
Cognitive skills are considered one of the most vital abilities that differentiate people in the current labor market, and it includes analytical and creative thinking as well as speaking foreign languages.
- Analytical thinking is the ability to collect, analyze, and formulate information from various sources and use them in a distinct way to solve problems and make decisions.
- Creative thinking is the ability to think outside the box and find new solutions to different situations.
- Understanding a foreign language indicates listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a language different from the mother tongue.
The methodological skills include self-management, and problem-solving, in addition to digital skills which would be a great addition to any employee, especially when associated with social skills, like solving conflicts, communicating, and working as a team to manage stress.
Among all the above, the importance of digital skills prevailed with the pandemic. Digital solutions appeared to be the refuge for a large proportion of the businesses I and it is expected that the reliance on digital solutions will continue even after the crisis is entirely over. For example, many companies have decided to transfer all their activities online including “Zara” stores, that declared investing 3 billion dollars in e-commerce, so that a large portion of their sales can rely on the Internet rather than stores.
And Skill Up is not the only project that stresses on the importance of digital skills, many other platforms dedicated to job search like Robert Half, stated that you must have basic knowledge of some digital tools whatever the field you want to work in. For example, if your field is graphic design, you must know how to use Adobe Illustrator, and if you are passionate about accounting, you need to know how to use Excel. And thanks to the Internet, all the educational resources are now attainable.
In addition, Indeed, specifically mentioned some digital skills that you need to learn to be an outstanding candidate in the job market, on top of them were cloud computing, industrial intelligence, and sales leadership.
Benefits of Virtual Training Sessions
After the pandemic, and the quarantine conditions, many people tended to develop through online educational courses. In response, large educational platforms like Coursera and Udemy have decided to offer academic courses completely free of charge to keep pace with the new conditions, allowing people to pay attention to the many advantages that e-learning offers.
Online training is not only a way to help you learn and excel in the labor market skills, it also provides you with suitable and comfortable conditions for education, so you can learn at any time, through your mobile phone or your laptop, without wasting your time on tiring transportation or going to lectures at times not suitable for your schedule.
In addition, e-learning is now available for almost all types of development, starting from academic knowledge to courses in cognitive and social skills as well as foreign languages.
How to Develop Your Skills with The Current Job Market Needs
Many institutions provide training that prepares undergrads and fresh grads for the labor market and helps them reach job opportunities suitable for their skills. NP Explore program, brought by NilePreneurs initiative, is one of those institutions.
The program aims to enhance your skills and connect you to exceptional training opportunities that can provide you with a great experience by working with innovative business leaders. It also allows you to learn the skills required for the labor market in one of the 6 main fields, most of which depend on digital skills:
- Business Development
- Digital Marketing
- Software development
- Branding & Advertising
- Embedded Software
- Industrial product development
After completing the virtual training sessions in one of the chosen tracks, the NilePreneurs initiative connects you with various internship opportunities in startup companies. That way, you get to know more about your field in a practical way. NP Explore concluded its second cycle, with more than 200 university students matched with internship opportunities in startup companies after receiving extensive training. Follow us to learn more about the upcoming cycles.