The notion of a remote worker has long been debated since the dawn of the internet. In addition to cost savings and improved productivity, being location-independent provides businesses with numerous benefits. This system has the potential to address the problem of skills shortages in the tech industry and beyond. For instance, software programmers no longer need to reside in Silicon Valley to work for the top corporations in the world. This also holds true for highly skilled individuals in other fields and industries. People who possess relevant expertise can easily find job opportunities that fit their skillset by making use of readily available remote job platforms.
In recent years, the shift to remote work has been slow-moving; however, the current pandemic has quickly changed this reality. Many have referred to this as the “new normal”. A survey recently conducted revealed that 69% of US financial service organisations anticipate having more than half of their workforce working remotely in the future, versus only 29% of these firms claiming they would be prepared to implement flexible working arrangements prior to the pandemic. Major corporations, such as Google, Salesforce, Facebook, and PayPal have adopted and will continue to use remote work due to the pandemic. Japan’s Fujitsu made a bold move by cutting their office space in half, which further goes to show that remote work is here to stay.
Getting future workers ready for remote work
As more and more of the world’s most renowned companies shift to a remote work paradigm, it leads to an important inquiry: are the students of today, who will eventually become the working population, equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in this virtual environment? Are their educational experiences training them to be able to handle and flourish in this swiftly transforming professional landscape?
After careful consideration, Northwestern University has joined the growing list of academic institutions in the United States that have chosen to begin the academic year with remote learning. Other schools, like Williams College, are employing a hybrid approach to education, combining virtual instruction with on-site classes. This transition has created an urgent need for universities to upgrade their online learning resources and technology. It has also reinforced the importance of online courses for obtaining a degree and developing the skills necessary for success in the modern workforce.
Remote learning in action
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing professions in the current job market, with an estimated three million open positions by the end of last year. To meet the increasing demand for cybersecurity professionals, many colleges are now offering full programs dedicated to this field, many of which are available completely online. These courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to handle offensive and defensive cybersecurity tactics.
Additionally, remote students benefit from being able to study in a virtual training ground, accessible from any location and device, such as Maryville University’s online cybersecurity degree program, which was built via its Virtual Lab. This Apple-recognised mobile innovation lab provides students with an opportunity to develop their technical, hacking, and analytical cybersecurity skills. Furthermore, with remote testing of problem-solving abilities in a secure and protected academic setting, students can gain the necessary technical skills before entering the job market. Moreover, due to the mobile nature of the coursework, students will be better equipped to adjust to current remote working conditions.
The Critical Role of Distance Learning
Online learning has distinct qualities that may help to prepare students for the ever-evolving nature of the job market. By pursuing their education through an online platform, future professionals can develop key communication and collaboration skills that are essential for performing remote work. Additionally, this type of learning can create an opportunity for students to become more flexible, a quality that is invaluable in the 21st century and beyond. It is important to note that the ability to adapt to the workplace includes learning new skills and being able to quickly adjust to different working environments, such as the current climate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge to the traditional academic landscape, yet it has also offered students a valuable opportunity to develop the technical and interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in an ever-evolving work environment. Goldie Blumenstyk, a noted writer, has coined the current situation as a “black swan moment”, suggesting that the pandemic has and will continue to propel the advancement of online education and the emergence of educational technology tools. It is thus essential for educational institutions to provide their instructors with the necessary training and tools to keep up with this unavoidable shift. Startups, such as Works, which connects remote software developers with large US companies, have already began to lead the trend of remote working, and academic institutions must follow suit.
At Works, we are leading the way in the creation of advanced remote teams. If you are a software developer looking to take the next step in your career, you can apply for one of our top remote positions. Furthermore, if your company is looking to rapidly increase its engineering capacity, Works makes it possible to employ highly-skilled software engineers with excellent technical and communication skills that can work within your own timezone.