As professionals get on in years, it is only natural to become concerned that developments in their fields may be passing them by. This is often highlighted when younger colleagues join the team, carrying with them a better grasp of newer concepts and technologies than some of their senior peers and managers.
While the drive towards self-improvement may be partly driven by the existential angst being experienced by some people, continuing education and skills upgrading is a worthy pursuit for many other worthy reasons, professional or personal alike. Whether they’re aged 20 or 65, there is plenty of value in professionals undergoing retraining or taking on new subjects and certifications.
Here are some of the reasons professionals may want to invest in continuing education:
It Can Be Key to Climbing Career Ladders
While work cultures here in Singapore can be different from elsewhere, one thing most people have in common is the value they give to higher educational attainment. Advanced degrees and certifications are now basic requirements for most supervisory, management, and C-suite positions today, across virtually every established organization.
This is because most organizations will see individuals with higher educational attainment and recent skills updates as a much less risky choice for promotions. While this may be less important in smaller, more intimate startups, the presence of degrees and certifications certainly carries weight almost everywhere else.
It Increases Opportunities
Acquiring degrees and certifications during one’s professional career can also open up new opportunities outside of one’s current employment. These additional skills updates may allow individuals to build uniquely compelling resumes that will help get them noticed, should they choose to gun for a promotion or find another job. The knowledge earned from continuing education may even be the impetus for experienced individuals to innovate in new and interesting ways.
Continuing Education May Help Mental Health
If you feel that you’ve been in a rut recently, pursuing continued education may just help you get out of it. There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests mental health could be improved by regularly giving individuals surmountable challenges. The key, it seems, is to not make the challenge too easy and neither so difficult that it causes frustration. Educational courses that update skills that one already has tend to fit these requisites.
Earlier studies have already pointed to a link between happiness and adult education. While it was conjectured that this happiness was the result of higher earnings, there is evidence to show that at least part of it may be from the sense of fulfilment individuals derive from learning.
Higher Education May Help Bring Unique Insights
Continuing education can effectively increase the value of an experienced employee in the organization. One benefit of learning later in life is that earlier experiences can bring context to newly introduced concepts. This gives older learners a significant edge over students who have only encountered the concepts in a theoretical sense.
This wider understanding may allow professionals pursuing continued education to easily bridge gaps in their knowledge and make intuitive leaps that would be difficult for other learners. This also means that they may be able to develop insights that would not be easy for less-experienced learners to come up with.
Education Expands Professional Networks
Unless they are in a field that brings them into contact with a lot of other people, many older employees often find that their personal and professional networks tend to shrink with time.
This can be deleterious, as the size of one’s network of colleagues and friends can have a direct effect on the chances of long-term professional success. In some circumstances, the positive effects of networking may be more significant than the degree or certifications one earns. By periodically upgrading their skills, seasoned employees can ensure that they continue to benefit from having a healthy network of friends and colleagues.
It Helps Increase Average Salaries
It has to be said that virtually all of the benefits mentioned above can help one increase their income. Broadly speaking, there is a direct correlation between degrees and salary levels in Singapore as in most other parts of the world. For individuals who want to earn more to build their own business or raise a family, upskilling may be the path to doing this sustainably.
Should You Continue Your Education in Singapore?
The great thing about learning later in life is that one’s professional experiences can serve to give the knowledge context, making it both enjoyable and useful. If you can make the time, continuing your education can be a path to not only upgrade your skills and improve your professional career but your personal and social life as well.
Singaporeans who have already established their professional careers are fortunate to be presented with a wide selection of options for continuing their education. State-sponsored initiatives such as SkillsFuture and private courses are readily available for professionals who want to enjoy the many benefits of continuing education.