In the past, technology companies were the primary employers of people with technology skills. Today, nearly every company is a technology company. Organizations in industries such as education, healthcare, finance, and government now leverage all kinds of technology to work smarter, improve productivity, and remain competitive. As technology becomes even more ingrained in our society, demand for technology skills will continue to grow across all industries.
For example, digital innovation in the healthcare industry is progressing at an unprecedented scale, according to the World Health Organization, with virtual reality, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence (AI) all being key areas of innovation. Technically skilled employees will be needed to drive the transformation of this industry. “While AI developments may support human judgment and make diagnoses more efficient, human interaction and engagement with technology will remain an important aspect of these roles,” says Kory Kantenga, Ph.D., senior economist at LinkedIn. “Therefore, we can expect technical roles in healthcare to grow steadily in coming years.”
That’s good news for those entering – or returning to – the job market. Though big tech companies made significant layoffs in the first few months of 2023, opportunities for those with technology skills will continue to grow across a broad range of industries now and in the future.
Develop skills for many industries with Microsoft Learn
As more industries search for employees with technical skills, the focus shifts to how to prepare talent for these technology jobs. The Microsoft Learn for Educators (MSLE) program provides educational institutions and educators with a suite of comprehensive tools and resources to augment students’ existing degree paths with industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications. For example, Weston College in Somerset, England, which provides education and vocational training to approximately 30,000 learners, uses MSLE to offer Microsoft technical skills training and industry recognized certifications to students and faculty across the college.
“We want to make sure everyone is developing digital skills aligned to a strong standard, so we encourage people to complete training, take exams, and scale up on certifications,” says Louise Pratten, digital education manager at Weston College. “The power of technology is being able to educate in a way that meets learners where they are, while also meeting industry demands.”
MSLE content is now critical to programs taught throughout the college, including healthcare. “People don’t necessarily look at an organization like the National Health Service (NHS) and think about technology jobs, but the NHS has jobs in engineering, technology, software, hardware – ranging from all ends of the spectrum,” says Heidi Oliver, training and development manager in Weston College’s Healthcare and Sport division. “Technology is now a huge part of every aspect of health services, and that will continue moving forward.”
Weston College also recently launched a new continuing professional development program that invites all faculty and staff to learn the technical skills they need to pass on to students when using the MSLE program.
“Technology is infiltrating everything, so it’s important that every learner at every level who comes through the college is engaged with IT skills because most of them will use those skills in their careers,” says Pratten. “If we’re doing our jobs as educators, we help empower students who can go out into the world and be prepared and successful in every area of their lives. Digital literacy is a vital part of that.”
Microsoft Certifications change the game for university graduates
The University of Salford, a public research university in Salford, England, has been on a journey of implementing MSLE throughout its business school, specifically in business management, digital business, international business, accounting, and finance courses.
“As a forward-thinking business school, one of our key commitments to our students is to provide them with digital literacy skills,” says Professor Vish Maheshwari, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Student Experience at Salford Business School. “We don’t know what the jobs of the future will look like, but we do know most of those jobs will require digital skills. We are committed to ensuring that every student has some type of digital certification as part of their learning journey with us.”
Salford Business School began integrating MSLE into its courses 12 months ago. The embedding of MSLE into all new curriculum development has been ongoing, making at least one certification mandatory for students across all subject disciplines. Currently, about 500 of its students are enrolled in at least one of the Microsoft Fundamentals courses that prepare students for certification. Additionally, Microsoft Office Specialist certification training has also been undertaken by various cohorts of the Business School students.
“Higher education combined with digital credentials and certifications definitely makes a graduate more valuable to employers,” Maheshwari says. “It will certainly play a big role when students compete against peers who have a similar degree but don’t have those digital skills or certifications.”
Microsoft Learn to enhance workforce development efforts
According to LinkedIn Learning’s latest Most In-Demand Skills Report, global talent shortages have reached a 16-year high with 75 percent of employers reporting that they can’t find the talent they need with the right blend of technical and soft skills. In response, some businesses are hiring people without tech skills and using content offered through companies like Microsoft to train them. For example, Avanade is a Seattle-based global professional services company that provides IT consulting and services to customers in healthcare, banking, insurance, life sciences, retail, and other industries.
“Like many businesses, it’s difficult to find talent to support our growth,” says Mirjam van Olst, global business applications talent lead at Avanade. “Because of this, we created a comprehensive global academy program that allows us to hire for potential and then provide on-the-job training rather than try to hire for existing skills.”
Avanade uses Microsoft training and certifications to provide early career, career switchers, and employees looking for new opportunities, the technology skills they’ll need to work in a broad range of industries.
“The world around us changes incredibly fast, as does technology,” says van Olst. “We must ensure everyone at Avanade is always learning and adjusting and preferably doing so ahead of the curve. The only way to do that is to ensure everyone has a growth mindset and embraces change so that they are energized by it and not afraid of it.”
While providing training is a big priority at Avanade, the company also looks for potential employees already certified in specific technology skills that can be fast-tracked to an Avanade client engagement, additional evidence of the benefit of becoming certified while still in school or otherwise.
“Someone that already has a certification gives us the confidence that they are eager to learn, motivated, and truly interested in using Microsoft technology,” says van Olst.
Keeping pace with a rapidly changing job market
“LinkedIn data shows that skills for today’s jobs have changed by 25 percent since 2015, and that number is expected to double by 2027,” says Andrew McCaskill, career expert at LinkedIn. “Keeping up with skills will give you a competitive edge when applying for new jobs or promotions.”
As that evolution continues, training programs and certifications can provide employees at any stage of their career the skills to keep them current, while potentially moving them closer to the job of their dreams.
“Grab every opportunity you can to get more skills and training,” advises Oliver. “Being comfortable with all kinds of technology can put you at the front of the pack when it comes to landing many types of jobs now and in the future.”