#Asia Top 5 tech trends you should leverage on to future-proof your career in 2016

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To adapt to disruptive technologies and industries, the workforce of today needs to be nimble and acquire skills to fit into the new economy

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Singapore’s current employment market forecast is looking bleak. According to a report by Asiaone, last year the country experienced the highest number of layoffs since the global financial crisis in 2009; slow demand and sluggish growth in industries such as manufacturing and construction have led to rising redundancy in these sectors.

To remain gainfully employed, the workforce needs to pivot – and fast. The new economy is powered by the proliferation of the Internet; Singapore’s Economic Development Board has identified some of these up and coming jobs – many IT-related, they include: data analysts, user experience designers, and future advisors.

However, even if they are in the right field, many Singaporeans — graduates and experienced workers alike — are facing problems keeping up with the shifting paradigm. At least 15,000 vacancies in the IT sector could not be filled in 2014, according to a report by The Straits Times.

Indeed, the disruptive nature of Internet flows quickly and with nary a warning; for example, some programming languages that were taught in schools just a year before have become obsolete.

The government has recognised the urgent need to update schools’ curriculum – Singapore Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic have introduced courses on in-demand tech tools such as social media marketing, cloud computing and mobile computing.

Also Read: 6 digital marketing mistakes every startup should avoid

In this year’s budget plan, the government also outlined plans to grow skills and jobs in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector through the setting up of TechSkills Accelerator.

e27 has compiled the top 5 trends in this evolving Internet economy, and what strategies you should adopt to future-proof your career in 2016.

The ubiquity of social media

Social media is not just a platform for folks to post selfies with their cats; it presents a unique opportunity for marketers to push products and services to potentially millions of users instantaneously at a low cost.

While Facebook may be the dominant social media tool, there are other platforms such as WeChat, SnapChat, Instagram that offer marketers different and new ways to boost their companies’s presence, cultivate brand image, and gain a competitive advantage.

In Singapore, social media penetration stands at nearly half of the 5.5 million population, and Singaporeans spend a staggering 2.1 hours per day on these platforms. Both marketing students and professionals need to grasp the significance of social media and learn how to wield it quickly and effectively, or risk being rendered obsolete.

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This may be daunting to someone who is more used to traditional marketing mediums as there are a plethora of new tools and jargon that you will need to familiarise yourself with in the age of social media. These include terms such as clickbait, conversion rate, engagement rate, and hashtags.

Also Read: Keep an eye out for the ‘I’s of digital marketing

Thankfully, there are several courses out there that will bring you up to speed quickly.

Lithan Academy’s Digital Marketing bootcamp is one of them. It encompasses the fundamentals of digital marketing campaigning and optimization, and offers personalised coaching from experienced mentors – giving you the opportunity to validate your digital marketing plan and receive tailored advice.

Singaporeans lacking in spare cash need not worry, for the government has got you covered. Through the SkillsFuture incentive, every professional is given S$500 to offset course fees offered by approved training providers such as Lithan.

Mobile-optimised branding

Flick a stone in any direction in Asia and you are bound to hit someone engrossed in his or her smartphone. With a wide variety of apps that one can download and utilise on his or her phone, the smartphone has become the de-facto platform for content consumption.

Therefore, it is vital for developers and marketers to optimise their sites to fit into behaviour patterns of a smartphone user. This could mean re-learning UX principles and design layout; including the rewording of content to be digestible in a small screen format.

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For developers, it may require learning a new programming language, as well as rejigging website layouts to enable fast load times on a slower connection.

Marketers would need to pick up skills such as SEO best practices, principles of in-app and mobile advertising, and understand the mobile user behaviour to elicit the best engagement, conversation and Call-to-Action (CTA) rates.

Also Read: 5 of the greatest digital marketing pitfalls

Acceleration of globalisation

When it comes to goods and services, consumers now are spoilt for choice. Established brands are being subverted by a multitude of disruptive technologies and services that sometimes transcend geographical boundaries – Cable TV is losing ground to international video providers Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

In Singapore, before the explosion of mobile apps, the only food delivery service we had were fast-food chains; now there are disruptive alternatives – Deliveroo, Grain, FoodMatters are a few such examples.

How then, do you cut through all the noise in a complex environment; and sell your service effectively to consumers, as well as future investors?

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Consumers’ attention spans are short – salespeople need to keep their sales pitch punchy and more concise. It’s also important for it to be clear and unambiguous. Display just the pertinent information, don’t overwhelm your consumers, help them make a decision fast, and close the deal.

Lithan Academy offers a Sales Mastery course which helps salespeople develop techniques cut through a competitive landscape. Some of these include: learning how to identify your Unique Value Proposition (UVP), understanding a buyer’s process, and creating effective sales scripts and sales kits.

The power of data

Launching an online marketing or sales campaign is only the first step; to understand how it has performed, you need the skills to dissect the data, and use it to optimise your next engagement strategies in your next campaign.

Also Read: 7 ways to supercharge your startup’s email marketing campaign

Think of it this way – to sell effectively, you want to have privy to who your customers are, what kind of content they will consume and what kind they will shun. In the world of digital sales, data miners are the special ops, swooping in to gather intel before the main assault. And naturally, the demand for Big Data analysts, naturally, is skyrocketing.

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The entry barrier to become a data scientist is understandably high; Big Data is a highly complex field and the skills to analyse takes years of training.

But that doesn’t mean you need to use another four years to get to a post-grad degree for data mining. Tools like Google Analytics provide an intuitive way to measure the metrics of your campaign.

Adopting lean startup methodologies

When the tightening economic outlook, companies looking to stay ahead or stay afloat are looking towards the model of a lean startup. In fact, just last week, Samsung announced that it was moving towards a startup approach.

Also Read: How to create an iconic brand in the digital era

This means trimming of redundant resources or processes, and also the adoption of a flexible strategy involving bold experimentation and reiteration – a company-wide disruption – to create innovative products and services.

Future Ready Strategy:

For mid-career professionals struggling through this transition phase, Lithan Academy also runs a bootcamp on understanding the lean canvas model and effective go-to-market strategies. This is especially important for seasoned managers, who are usually reliant on time-and-tested old-fashioned management models.

The lean startup methodology requires a radical shift in the workplace mindset to adapt and scale in a rapidly evolving environment. Professionals have to understand that failure is an acceptable option – as long as you fail fast and learn fast.

Conclusion

Future-proofing your career is not a flu shot, it’s requires regular diagnosis and treatment; attending one-off courses may teach you the essentials of staying relevant in the new economy. But ultimately, if these are practices are not applied consistently, you will still end up disadvantaged. It’s also equally important for professionals to stay up to date with the latest trends, learn new skills and take on new roles when necessary.

Disclosure: This article was produced by the e27 content marketing team, sponsored by Lithan Academy.

The post Top 5 tech trends you should leverage on to future-proof your career in 2016 appeared first on e27.

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