Written By: Jason Field, CEO and Founder of BrainStation

It’s tough to be a Canadian entering the workforce today. Canada is losing jobs across a number of sectors. Competitive fields are getting increasingly competitive.

But there are opportunities to be had! In the tech sector, new jobs are being created faster than traditional education methods can supply skilled workers, and if you don’t believe that those opportunities apply to you, you’re wrong.

I’m going to riff on a famous quote: “Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.”

It is true that it pays to be flexible in your methods. We’re seeing more and more that the path of traditional education is time-consuming, and expensive, and may not put you directly in the path of opportunity. Eschewing old methods, and instead quickly learning the specific skills that can catapult you into the workplace, can fast-track you into a viable career, and bypass a ton of student debt.

One of the first and most disruptive lessons you learn in product management, is that it pays to be flexible in your goals as well.

I have met so many talented, bright, hard-working people that are having trouble finding work, but don’t think tech is for them. Maybe they feel like they don’t know enough about it. Maybe they don’t think they could learn to code. Maybe they have their eyes on a different prize.

Personally, I don’t believe any of those are good reasons to avoid learning digital skills. Because tech is bigger than you think.

Technology is increasingly pervasive in every part of our lives. Part of what that means is that the tech sector intersects every other kind of job in more ways than ever before. No matter what your personal or professional goals are, there’s a good chance that increased digital literacy can help you achieve them.

Digital literacy opens doors in a number of ways. It can open doors directly (ie. learning UX design, then working as a UX designer), indirectly (learning coding basics to help you work with coding specialists), or through transmission (learning JavaScript as a means of supplementing interests that are not, at their core, tech-based).

I’m not saying you should abandon your goals, but I encourage you to think critically about what your goals really are. Do you want to work in arts and culture? In education? In health or other public services? All of these fields are increasingly influenced by, and entangled with, tech. Is it important to you to help others? To create? To travel? Digital skills don’t prescribe one given career – they are tools that can be leveraged towards any number of goals. If your dream job seems impossible to achieve, there’s a good chance that you’re getting hung up waiting for an opportunity that doesn’t exist – or doesn’t exist in the way you think it does.

Product managers learn to treat goals as moving targets – because your specific goal at the beginning of a project may not turn out to be the best possible goal. If you are beating your head against the closed doors of the field you want to get into, try taking a step back, to see if there is a digital pathway to getting your foot in the door.

When you’re being stubborn about your goals, it’s important to make sure you’re picking the right goals, and if learning a new skill in the tech field moves you closer to what you want to be doing, you should do it!

Want to improve your tech knowledge and skills? Until Friday, April 22nd, BrainStation (based in Toronto and Vancouver) is offering 30% off all part-time and full-time summer courses for the Futurpreneur community. Use the promo code FUTURPRENEUR30 to redeem

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