Expert advice: Keep your competencies up-to-date

You should find security in your skills and competences – not in your job or company. That’s why it's important to keep your competences up-to-date.

By Career Counsellor Kim Knudsen

Highly educated people with a technical or scientific background are usually specialised within a subject area or a technology that is constantly evolving. Therefore, it's risky not to develop your competences. Because if you lose your job, you risk being left behind on the job market.

Even though it sounds paradoxical, your job is the biggest threat to your career. Many people are so busy that they don't look ahead, and don't set aside time for training and courses. Maybe they hope that their competences can last throughout their time on the labour market.

But all STEM professionals should cultivate the specialist areas they love. This will motivate them to constantly improve their qualifications and to gain new competencies.  

Competences quickly become outdated

It's all about constantly having the right competences – i.e. the competences in demand – and being aware and clarified about your own competences.

Because you should find security in your skills and competences. Not in your job or company. If you want to – or have to – apply for another job, your competences must be in demand and future-proofed.

Competences quickly become outdated, and a good rule of thumb is to divide the length of your education by two to find out how long it will remain relevant. So, if your education took five years, you’ll need new competences after two-and-half years. 

Maintain your market value

Remember to keep your competences up-to-date. Continuing training increases your value on the labour market – both for yourself, for colleagues and for the company.

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