We have all asked ourselves the question whether we are ready for ‘real’ life, the one after graduating from university. So far most of us have lived in a pretty protected environment, challenged only by our lecturers, getting our social commitments sorted and taking part in sports competitions. For this kind of life, we definitively had the right skills set and the needed knowledge to survive. Let’s re-phrase it: we grew into this ‘role’.
However, did university prepare us to become an invaluable part of a great organisation and an even better team? Without doubt, it did! Maybe not in the way most job specs want us to be ready, but surely in terms of social and emotional intelligence. During 3 years at university, various study abroad programmes and multiple internships later we’ve all learnt how to work with people from different backgrounds, manage our time as efficiently as possible, motivate our colleagues and, most importantly, how to be resilient. Throughout this entire time expectations towards us have changed and the bars set very high. We were constantly able to develop personally and grow with every success and failure.
So yes, university has prepared me for life after essays and exams! But while it has equipped me with the needed transferable skills, I have not been prepared to work in a digitally-driven workplace. Neither the most outstanding and world-renowned academics or the university career centre told me about the importance of technology for businesses. The word ‘digital’ and everything that it entails was a big blur. I should have at least been made aware of the impact digital has on daily life and also on my career.
I was only digital on a personal level, and had no idea how many doors it could open for me on a career level. Reflecting on my previous skills gap today – I ask myself: so what? My biggest weakness actually turned out to be my biggest strength. I wonder, if it was not for my interest and somewhat lack in digital skills, would I be doing what I am doing right now? Finally I am doing something I feel really passionate about and I see myself doing in the future.
I recommend everyone to learn and expand your digital knowledge because it is the future. It will not only help you to fast-forward your careers, but is the new way of how business is done. Start-ups and leading UK businesses are struggling to find the right people with the right skills and know-how – countless research papers and statistics confirm this reality. For instance, in the specific case of digital marketing, UK businesses are nowhere near being able to compete with their global rivals because of this skills gap. Whether it was to gain an inside into coding, agile product development or digital thought leadership, Arch Graduates taught me a variety of skills and gave me the confidence to use them in a digital environment
Everyday is different, calling for my different skills and requiring me to keep on top of the game, continuously discovering totally uncharted ‘digital’ territory. Creativity and self-management play a big part in our roles. Turning a previous weakness into an even bigger strength, especially because universities continuously fail to ‘produce’ the future generation of digital leaders businesses in the UK and worldwide are looking for, has been incredibly exciting.
Now I am equipped and ready to acquire more new skills which will enable me to make a change and help the company I work for to continue its success story (as well as my own). And not to sound too proud, I believe I have finally the competitive edge over those who entered the job market years before I did and those who are still not convinced that ‘digital’ is actually a really big deal. Working in this ever changing environment forces me to continuously learn, push myself out of my comfort zone and to become experts in our fields.
In my cohort, the roles we currently occupy range from being a Data Scientist, Partnership Executive to Operations and Digital Marketing Executives. What is it going to be for you?