Upskilling In Pandemic: What To Do When Your Degree Is No Longer Enough

Upskilling does not have to be a daunting task, especially since all quarters have made it easier in light of the present circumstances.

Let’s face the inevitable truth, the COVID-19 pandemic has utterly messed up the academic and vocational world. Schools, colleges, and universities are on hold, jobs are being lost left and right, and having theoretical knowledge only in one topic hardly cuts it anymore.  

As the world is reeling from a pathological crisis and a consequent economical one, people of earning ages all over the world are trying to find ways to adapt. Their present qualifications are obviously not enough anymore, and the myopic nature of their skills is preventing them from breaking into or crossing over to alternative income avenues. 

Why Degrees Don’t Suffice Anymore? 

What people need to do ASAP is reskill, upskill and retrain. Cross-functional upskilling is especially necessary. But more importantly, if you are fresh out of college or university, you will have to learn skills altogether. This is because an institute for education hardly ever does anything to prepare you for the brutal professional world ahead. Vocational training has never been an independent part of the degree curriculum, let alone the mainstay. Nor does it seem it will be in the cards anytime soon. 

Once upon a happier time, when people with degrees were a minority, the degree used to be the dealmaker that helped you clinch the post. Unfortunately, not anymore. With or without the pandemic, a degree alone just does not do it nowadays. There is a flood of candidates with the same degree as you. What do you have that they don’t, for companies to find you as a better option? This is exactly why amping up your skills is so necessary.  

Keep in mind that once the pandemic is under control and the economy starts regaining health, companies will be starting to employ as earlier. But the competition would be more than double. Laid-off workers, employees looking to upgrade after pay cuts, all the students who graduated during the quarantine and the fresh graduates who passed out just before the quarantine started would be competing with you. If you don’t upgrade yourself, you’ll be in for a sea of pain.  

Ways to Skill Up in the Pandemic 

Upskilling does not have to be a daunting task, especially since all quarters have made it easier in light of the present circumstances. Here are some great options you can look at: 

  • Company Initiatives 

A large number of companies nowadays are offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities to not just furloughed and laid-off employees but also to job seekers.  

Since it has become difficult to obtain vocational skills from conventional institutes right now, companies themselves have taken the initiative to teach and train people. Moreover, there is no scenario of “learning on the job” anymore. These training modules have been provided online for easy access. 

  • Digital Courses 

Online courses are the most popular option for self-motivated upskilling in the digital age and today, people are subscribing to it in large numbers. But the good news here is that there is a rising trend of course providers offering their courses for free.  

They understand that jobseekers and unemployed people are not in the best place right now - they need new skills but don’t have the money to pay and learn. Udemy, Coursera, Khan Academy, Lynda, and Edx are some of the best options. 

  • Self-help 

Many people who have basic knowledge in a field often strike out solo. They utilize e-books, study materials, tutorials, papers, and articles to self-learn a skill.  

Not going to lie, this can be more time-consuming, effort-intensive, and difficult than the other methods here. But the freedom of learning at your own pace and comfort level can be more productive for some. 

  • Open Universities 

Open universities have been the main player in skills learning and vocational training since time immemorial. Today, they are in the limelight even more.  

The intake of students for distance learning in open universities has increased exponentially as people are getting stuck at home and the job scene is becoming uncertain. Years of experience have helped them set the bar high in terms of online learning infrastructure, making it easier for students to adapt. 

  • Freelancing 

Believe it or not, the pandemic has rushed in the age of an agile workforce. Freelancing is one of the many ways to do that. But, simultaneously, thousands of people are also taking up freelancing to polish their alternative skills.  

Skills like content creation, copywriting, graphic design, programming, data analysis, and multiple other skills that many people had pursued as a hobby, are coming to the forefront on online platforms. 


While it stings a bit to learn that the many years you dedicated to your education is not enough to guarantee a job, there is no need to be afraid or lose hope. Skilling up, which everyone once hardly gave much attention to, has become significant now. And the best part? It is extremely easy to do while sitting at home, without the pandemic interfering.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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