How to Learn Career Skills at Home
The modern world is perfectly set up for people who have no dependents or social responsibilities – people who can move easily from place to place to find new opportunities and develop their skills. For millions of people, however, life is not like this, and traditionally this has presented a barrier to learning and career development. The good news is that this is now changing. Thanks in large part to the development of the internet, it has become possible to acquire the sort of skills that employers really value from the comfort of one’s own home. This means that single parents, carers, and people who just have very little time left at the end of the working day all now have the opportunity to increase their employability.
There are always opportunities out there for people who can speak multiple languages. Learning a new language at home is easy to do: there are books, audio tapes, and online courses available; there are translation apps to help deal with difficult texts in the early stages; and, in most common languages, there are endless websites that can be read for practice. Watching films or listening to songs in the target language is also good practice, as is seeking out native speakers to chat to through social media. The key to learning a new language is to practice a lot and to connect with it in lots of different contexts, which leads the brain to build up a network of associations that improves memory.
Playing a musical instrument can lead to work in the entertainment industry, provide an opportunity to go into tutoring, or impress employers by showing that an individual is ambitious and capable of serious commitment. There are lots of great tutorials online and in books that can get new learners through the basics and teach specific techniques. Private tutors are generally flexible about the hours that they work and are often willing to provide tuition at home – they’re invaluable when it comes to overcoming difficulties and fine-tuning advanced skills. Again, though, most of what is necessary to succeed is serious practice.
Few skills are as widely applicable in the modern working world as IT skills, and taking the time to build these up can be of enormous value when looking for a job. General courses are offered by companies such as Microsoft and can provide a good bit of flexibility, but to really make an impression, nothing beats having IT skills that are focused on a specific sector. For instance, the University of Southern California offers courses focused on the healthcare sector, so those who are interested in that area may want to take the time to learn more about their executive MHA program. IT jobs don’t just point to careers in administration but can be a useful adjunct to many other roles.
Today’s education generally focuses more on white-collar careers and does less to promote learning a trade than was the case a few decades ago, but traditional tradespeople are still needed, and work of this type can be extremely lucrative. One trade that is practical to start learning at home is carpentry. This can begin with repairing one’s own furniture, move on to building furniture for one’s own home, and then lead to building items for other people and seeking commissions. There are lots of useful videos online that teach basic techniques, and though some investment in tools is needed, this is another case where it’s practice that makes perfect.
Another field in which people are always in demand is bookkeeping. This can be a route into a more complex financial career or simply a chance to earn some extra money as a contractor, connecting with local businesses. There are lots of short courses available on a learn-at-home basis, aimed at teaching the important foundational skills and the regulations with which practitioners need to comply. Learning requires diligence and good basic numeracy but not a great deal more. Hard work will pay off, after which the most important thing is to keep an eye out for changing rules and keep using those skills to stay fresh.
With all these opportunities available, and many more besides, it should be clear that time spent at home doesn’t need to be time wasted. People who are genuinely dedicated to making themselves more employable can find the means to do so and, when they’re ready to start looking for work, will have much stronger resumes to show for it.