In today's fast-paced job market, staying ahead has begun to feel progressively more challenging. Technology is changing rapidly, and it’s reshaping industries—and job functions—along with it at a pace we’ve never seen before. To stay sharp and continue advancing in our careers, we’ll need to keep up with the latest skills and knowledge through upskilling. If you’re new to the term “upskilling,” stay tuned. We’ll dive into what it means, how it's different from reskilling, and practical ways you can use it to enhance your career journey. Whether you're just starting out or looking to level up, we've got you covered with valuable upskilling resources and tips to help you succeed.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling refers to the process of acquiring new skills or enhancing existing ones to adapt to changes in the job market or industry requirements. Unlike traditional education, which focuses on obtaining a degree or certification, upskilling is more targeted and often involves acquiring specific competencies or technical proficiencies relevant to your current (or desired) role. The goal of upskilling is to improve job performance, increase employability, and stay competitive in a dynamic and evolving job market. 

In a nutshell, you can think of upskilling as essentially “skills development,” giving you the knowledge you need and enhancing your abilities so you can perform your job better than you could before. 

Why is upskilling so valuable?

The benefits of upskilling are numerous when it comes to career growth and advancement. It equips you with the knowledge, skills, and competencies that you need to adapt to evolving job market demands and excel in your role. By continuously expanding your skill set, you can enhance your job performance, increase your employability, and remain competitive in your field. 

Plus, upskilling also opens doors to new opportunities, whether it's pursuing promotions, transitioning into different roles, or exploring entrepreneurial ventures. Having the background necessary for opportunities like these can help to increase your paycheck (!) and leave you with a better sense of work-related fulfillment. 

And from the employer’s perspective, upskilling shows that you’re committed to lifelong learning and personal or professional development. It signals that you’re proactive, adaptable, and capable of driving innovation and success in your career. Those qualities make you the kind of employee that companies want to hire (and keep) for the long term.

Put it all together, and upskilling empowers individuals to take control of their career trajectory, unlock new pathways for growth, and achieve their professional aspirations. Upskilling is a smart move!

What’s the difference between upskilling and reskilling?

Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to clarify some terminology:

  • “Upskilling” is often used interchangeably with “reskilling”—but they actually have distinct meanings. Upskilling refers to acquiring additional skills or knowledge within one's existing field or profession, with the aim of enhancing your expertise or keeping pace with technological advancements. 
  • Reskilling, on the other hand, means learning entirely new skills or transitioning into a completely different career path, often due to changes in job requirements, industry disruption, or personal career goals. 

Essentially, upskilling is boosting or complementing the skills you already have, while reskilling is when you’re starting to build your skills and knowledge from scratch. Both upskilling and reskilling are essential for career growth and adaptability, but they serve different purposes and target different skill sets.

What are some ways to upskill?

If you’re looking for ideas on how to upskill, there are plenty of options out there for you! The choices available to you may vary depending on what industry you’re in, but in general, here are some tried-and-true strategies to consider:

Complete online courses and training programs

Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of online courses covering various skills, from technical subjects like coding and data analysis to soft skills such as communication and leadership. These courses are often self-paced and accessible from anywhere, making them convenient for busy professionals. 

Pursue new certifications

Pursuing industry-recognized certifications can validate your skills and enhance your credibility in your field. Whether it's obtaining a project management certification like PMP, a cybersecurity certification like CISSP, or a forklift certification, this helps to demonstrate your expertise and commitment to continuous learning.

Undergo on-the-job training and shadowing

Take advantage of opportunities for on-the-job training, mentorship, or shadowing programs that may be offered by your employer. Participating in cross-functional projects, attending workshops or seminars, and learning from experienced colleagues can provide valuable hands-on experience and insights into new technologies or processes.

Try networking

We all have a lot to learn, but we also have a lot that we can teach others! That’s why networking can be a great way to upskill. Reach out to your industry peers, attend networking events, and join professional associations or communities related to your field. Networking allows you to exchange knowledge, gain fresh insights, and discover new opportunities for learning and collaboration.

Attend specialized workshops and boot camps

If you’re focusing on a particular skill that you want to make significant strides in, you may want to consider attending specialized workshops, bootcamps, or hackathons devoted to a specific skill or technology. These intensive, immersive learning experiences provide hands-on training and practical experience in a short period, making them ideal for acquiring in-demand skills quickly.

Do your own continuous reading and learning

If any of these tactics sounded too overwhelming for you right now, or if you’re looking to supplement upskilling you’re doing elsewhere, then you may want to try taking on your own self-directed upskilling by consuming relevant books, articles, blogs, and podcasts for your industry or area of interest. Staying informed about emerging trends, best practices, and thought leadership can broaden your knowledge base—and potentially spark new ideas for how and where you’d like to develop your skills further.


Tactics like these can get you well on your way to reaching your professional goals, bridging the gap between where you are now and where you’d like to be. Whether you're aiming for a promotion, transitioning to a new role, or pursuing your passion, upskilling makes you a smarter hire, a more promising current employee, and more likely to take the next step toward success.

What resources are there that can support upskilling?

We’ve already covered some great upskilling resources above—like Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning—but there are tons of other resources out there that can maximize your learning experience. When looking around for upskilling resources, consider exploring some of the following options: 

Professional associations

You may have already explored professional associations and industry organizations as part of your networking activities, but they can also be a great resource for skills development on their own! Many professional associations hold regular webinars, workshops, and conferences that can support ongoing learning and professional development.

Company training programs

We’re willing to bet that your current employer has internal training platforms, mentorship opportunities, and other learning resources like lunch-and-learns that are already available to you. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the employee development tools they have to offer!

Professional development funds

Similarly, there may be separate professional development funds or stipends set aside by your employer for exactly this purpose. Investigate whether your employer offers funds or reimbursement for the cost of outside courses, certifications, or workshops that are relevant to your role or career goals.

Industry events and conferences

Industry conferences, seminars, and workshops can help you stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in your field. They provide a great opportunity for networking, learning from experts, and exploring how you can advance your career.

There’s no end to the benefits of upskilling

For anyone looking to boost their career, keep up with the job market, and roll with the changes at work, upskilling is a must. By constantly learning new things, professionals can improve how they work, make themselves more appealing to employers, and open up new doors for career progress. And with plenty of resources and approaches out there, you can start your upskilling journey feeling assured that you're investing in a brighter future for yourself.