Technological creep and advancement is pushing society towards a world of automation and convenience. Our days as hunters and gathers are long behind us, replaced with today’s proverbial rat race where society’s entrepreneurial pursuits and necessity to succeed have become top priorities for us.
While we no longer face the difficulties of having to hunt for or gather our food, many now have to battle technological complexities. Those complexities have nothing to do with the consumption of content on the web, and everything to do with the creation and marketing of it. With so much competition in the world, it’s difficult to rise above the fray.
Yet, if you’re serious about succeeding in life, climbing the corporate ladder or launching that hot new startup, you’ll need some foundational skills that are virtually a prerequisite nowadays. For those who accumulate the right skills, the world truly is their oyster.
For those who hide from and ignore the digital tidal wave that’s sweeping the world, they can’t expect to make monumental progress and get ahead.
There are dozens of great skills you can learn online to further your career or business prospects. Some tend to rise above the others and should probably move to the top of your list. Whether or not you’re technically inclined, so to speak, these skills will provide you with the insights to propel yourself forward, get a better job or promotion, or simply increase your income by providing invaluable services online.
1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO provides the very bedrock and foundation for skyrocketing your sales in any industry or niche. People are far more likely to purchase from you if you appear relevant in an online search versus paying to drive the traffic there.
Clearly, by understanding and harnessing the power of SEO, you can send near-limitless traffic to your site and put your selling on autopilot. SEO is highly complex and convoluted, but if you master any of the skills you can learn online today, it should most certainly be this one.
2. Web development
As technology improves across the world – and more and more devices begin to connect to the internet – the necessity for people to understand web development is going to increase. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to simple web design and development, learning and harnessing this powerful online skill can give you an enormous advantage in the world.
Great web developers are hard to come by. However, if you’re committed to becoming a web developer, you’ve got quite the uphill climb – but that’s also the case in any other notable field.
Just remember, this single skill can give you a tremendous advantage when it comes to building and launching an online business.
3. Online marketing
This isn’t just about SEO. This is about the fundamental principles that are driving traffic through mediums like social media and ads. Learn the mechanics of online marketing, and you’ll be able to drive considerable traffic and scale out whatever business you decide to create.
This will also help you make money online through either passive income or active income activities. There’s a lot of multidisciplinary content to consume and understand here, but it’s definitely well worth it.
4. Email marketing
Email marketing is alive and well. In fact, it’s one of the surest ways to make considerable amounts of money on the internet today. If you master the skill of email marketing, and learn how to build an effective sales funnel, you can virtually skyrocket your sales and income.
This isn’t just about writing compelling sales letters; it’s also about understanding what types of emails get clicked on and lead to active interests and purchases. Email marketing is a skill that can easily be learned online, but it’s also something that will require a significant amount of practice on your end to get it right.
5. Graphic design
Today, aesthetics are an important part of business and sales. Not only do you have to focus on functionality, you also have to focus on the overall design. By learning the highly important skill of graphic design, you’ll understand the fundamentals that make things attractive, clickable and thus, more saleable.
Learning graphic design involves mastering programmes like Photoshop, Illustrator and other popular tools that will allow you to create stunning visual designs. These programmes are an important part of the process in truly absorbing fundamental graphic design skills. It will take some significant practice, but it will be well worth it in the end.
Some of the world’s leading professionals are also the best copywriters. If you can write compelling copy that sells people on whatever it is you’re peddling, you’ll be far more likely to make the sale. Imagine being able to persuade droves of customers to purchase just about anything from you.
The skill of copywriting is definitely one that takes time to acquire, but it’s also one of the best skills you could learn. Use sites like Udemy and Lynda to sign up for an online course where you can learn the fundamentals involved in this highly lucrative skill.
Photography is filled with a variety of nuances and skills that evade most people interested in this field. Not only do you have to understand the art of photography itself, but also everything there is to know about cameras, lenses, contextual settings and how to enhance the imagery itself using photo editing software.
You can use your photography skill set to not only make money by actively assisting others with event or portrait photography, but also by creating stock imagery that you can sell on a variety of popular websites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto. Find a good course to learn this skill, and be prepared to buy a good camera and practice taking as many photos as possible.
8. Translating and languages
Understanding and learning foreign languages is an incredible skill to have and one that you can use in a variety of situations. Not only is this great to have when traveling, but it’s also a useful when working to translate and convey documents from one language to another.
You can also use your knowledge of a second language to help tutor people online via Skype or FaceTime – maybe even making a little side income. It’s not difficult to pick up this skill online. Whether you take a course or download a programme through Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur’s audiobooks, for example, learning foreign languages is an advantageous skill to have no matter what the situation.
9. Statistical data analysis
Another great skill to learn online is statistical data analysis. We all know that, in order to achieve our goals, we need to get very good at analysing data. Statistical analysis and regression analysis are two ways we can help to identify relationships between variables that can then be adjusted and refined in order for us to achieve our goals.
Statistical data analysis is a great skill to have in a variety of situations. We can use it to analyse website traffic and to better gauge if our marketing efforts are paying off. It can be used in a number of other situations as well, and the more knowledgeable you are in this skill, the better you can be at just about any endeavour.
10. Psychology and human behaviour
I’ve had a mild fascination with psychology and human behaviour as long as I can remember. That curiosity has been a cornerstone in my understanding of why people do what they do and how best to leverage that information in business and in sales. This skill could benefit just about anyone out there, no matter what line of work they’re in.
This goes all the way into contract negotiations, settlement talks, buying habits and a number of other arenas. What colours do people best respond to, or where should you sit at a table during negotiation talks or meetings, or how can you understand if a person is lying by the way they hold their head or what direction they look? This single skill could offer you tremendous advantages in life and in business.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Think Global, Act Local: Business Education For Disruptors, Innovators And Entrepreneurs
As one of the largest and most prestigious business schools in Africa, JBS is focused on producing visionary leaders and managers who are geared for progress across the continent, but connected to the world at large.
Disruption. Innovation. The fourth industrial revolution. These aren’t just platitudes at the Johannesburg Business School (JBS), they’re the bedrock of the various courses and programmes on offer.
“We are authentically African, as we believe there are huge opportunities in both South Africa and Africa at large, but we are also looking at the global landscape. We have an incredible opportunity to educate and mentor the future generation of Africa’s leaders and managers by providing them with the tools they need to be true innovators and disruptors,” says Professor Lyal White, Senior Director of the JBS at the University of Johannesburg.
“Day-to-day business in Africa requires leaders to focus on — and deliver — development with a direct impact on communities. The challenges we face present an opportunity. The fourth industrial revolution requires soft skills and humanism in leading and mentoring for competitive and progressive business performance. This is particularly relevant in Africa.”
Taking on a new era
The JBS believes it has an important role to play in future-proofing Africa and her leaders, and is building programmes and a professional teaching staff with this specific goal in mind.
“The scope of the fourth industrial revolution is far beyond its digital or information counterparts,” says Professor White.
“It’s a systemic transformation that impacts civil society, governance structures, human identity, economics and manufacturing, while integrating human beings and machines.
“The underlying technologies for this shift are artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, nanotechnology, biotechnology, the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and 3D printing.”
JBS sees the humanities as playing a critical role in developing the creative and critical thinking that will be essential ingredients to success in Industry 4.0.
“UJ has the highest concentration of staff with PhDs in AI on our continent and we are more than ready to tackle this new era,” he says.
“At an unprecedented level, the global environment demands innovative business leaders with entrepreneurial spirit and government officials who can lead African businesses to succeed in Africa. With our focus on providing global management thought leadership and deep African insights, JBS prepares students for that role, giving them a critical edge for success.”
Depth and creativity
Given the opportunities and challenges presented by doing business on the continent, the JBS is developing and delivering bespoke programmes, designed with a keen focus on depth and creativity.
“We’re taking an alternative approach to the norm while ensuring we deliver on international standards,” says Professor White. “Africa needs world-class business education with a local flavour to develop the management competencies we need and to build excellence. This is the model and approach JBS has taken.
“Fortunately, we attract a great diversity of students who have the drive to succeed, confidence, a strong record of triumph and a burning desire to advance the evolution of business in our society,” he adds.
Bringing world-class education to Africa
“Our offering includes undergraduate diplomas and degrees, postgraduate degrees and programmes, and will soon include a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree. On the cards are also online programmes, blended learning and unique contact programmes with delegates from across the continent and partners from around the world.”
JBS as a disruptor in the executive education category has two goals: Designing programmes to match the demand of an emerging market, and reshaping existing programmes to meet the demand of customers as their needs evolve.
“As a late entrant to the business school market, JBS will be agile and adaptable in order to stay relevant and take advantage of the disrupted higher education environment by offering business skills for disruptors,” concludes Professor White.
“Conventional approaches and standard business acumen do not work. Preparing individuals and organisations for this context requires programmes with a difference, which is why we’re including an MBA with a difference in our offering going forward.”
Upcoming Executive education programmes and Masterclasses in 2019:
- Project Management (26 – 27 Feb)
Become proficient at project management. An essential workplace skill that can boost the impact you have on any organisation.
- Finance for Non-Financial Managers (4 – 8 Mar)
Expand your overview of financial performance from a commercial perspective across management functions.
- Storytelling and Creativity (1 – 2 Apr)
The power of the narrative is becoming more recognised across leadership disciplines. Implementing creativity in storytelling will enhance your leadership presence.
- Negotiation Skills (9 – 10 Apr)
Develop your negotiation skills to create more effective partnerships and better results for your organisation.
- Implementing Strategy (1 Feb)
Delve into the core aspects of implementing strategic deliverables and cascading these across your teams.
- Coaching and Mentoring Centre of Excellence: Session 1 (7 Feb)
Access a network of leaders and coaches to enhance your personal growth.
- Marketing Series: Session 1 (13 Feb)
Leverage marketing tools and practices to enhance your clients’ experiences.
- Generating Shared Value (21 Feb)
Implement practices focussed on business with the purpose to generate sustainable value for your organisation.
- Innovation Series (12 Mar)
Learn about innovative success stories in the context of industry 4.0 and how to prepare and future-proof your organisation for this digital revolution.
- HR Series: Session 1 (26 Mar)
The HR Series will address key issues facing HR practitioners with robust debate and suggestions to enhance this function.
English: The Language Of Oppression Or Opportunity?
We offer a wide range of courses specifically aimed at professionals who want to enhance their professional English communication skills. Some of our most popular courses are.
Having to communicate professionally in English sometimes strikes fear into the hearts of many South Africans irrespective of their gender, age or business field; the mere thought of presenting to a group of colleagues in English or submitting a report to your manager is daunting and nerve wracking. If you are one of the many, do not be embarrassed; you are in good company.
Despite South Africa’s recognition of 12 official languages and its embracing of multilingualism, English continues to be the dominant language within schools and workplaces and competence is considered a pathway to upward mobility and professional opportunities. While it is evident that one requires good English skills to excel academically and professionally, little attention has been paid to improving the English proficiency of South Africans. This may in part be because English is an official language and it is assumed that all South Africans can speak English well. However, the differences in the type of English one is exposed to and the difference between fluency and accuracy are overlooked.
South Africans are unique; we are multilingual, vibrant and dynamic individuals who utilise a wide variety of linguistic resources when we communicate. It is not odd to find us communicating in multiple languages at the same time; we code switch when we cannot remember the correct English word or when we want to express a thought accurately but cannot find an appropriate English word and we do it effortlessly and automatically. These skills set us apart as innovative language users as we mesh and blend languages in our common goal to communicate accurately.
Unfortunately, these skills do not hold us in good stead in the workplace where standard and ‘proper’ English is required and suddenly we lose confidence and nerve. We become more conscious of how much we do not know and question what we do know. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and paralysed by fear when you have to communicate solely in English and are suddenly evaluated against monolingual, Western, middle class norms. Furthermore, it is easy to assume if we incorporate more complex words and use lengthy phrases as well as adopt an American or British accent, our English language skills will suddenly improve. This is a myth; do not believe it!
In order to communicate effectively and appropriately, one needs to be cognisant of the following factors: the audience, the purpose of the message, the message itself, the grammatical accuracy of the message and the tone of the message. Simply put, one has to ensure that the meaning of the message is always concise and coherent and is phrased in a manner that can be easily understood by the reader or listener. Secondly, one has to ensure that the grammatical accuracy of the message is maintained; editing and proofreading are essential in order to win the reader’s or listener’s confidence in what you are communicating.
Here at Wits Language School, we are passionate about improving the language skills of South African second language learners and our courses are especially designed to help you improve your English language skills. We offer a wide range of courses specifically aimed at professionals who want to enhance their professional English communication skills. Some of our most popular courses are:
|Communicative Grammar||Are you interested in improving your editing skills and English grammar knowledge?
Join our Communicative Grammar course.
|English Speaking and Pronunciation||Do you want to improve your pronunciation and gain more confidence speaking in English?
Join our English Speaking and Pronunciation course.
|Business Writing||Are you interested in improving your proposal or minutes writing skills?
Join our Business Writing Skills course
|Presentation Skills||Do you want to give presentations that are dynamic and interesting?
Join our Presentation Skills course.
|Report Writing||Do you want to write reports that are coherent and well organised?
Join our Report Writing course.
|English for Critical Thinking in Business||Are you interested in improving your critical thinking skills and becoming a strategic thinker?
Join our Critical Thinking in Business course.
Climb the ladder to success and apply today. Applications for 2019 are now open. Wits Language School, changing lives and opening doors.
Read next: Tips To Becoming Fluent
“Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses
Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.
The Internet is currently abuzz with advertisements for “free” online language courses and online education. While developments in technology have undoubtedly created opportunities for more people to access education, the question still remains as to whether it is actually possible to learn a language solely with the use of an online platform. Whilst there are numerous advantages to using online platforms, there are equally as many disadvantages.
Online platforms are limited in their capacity to support group discussions, as well as the engagement with language facilitators and tutors. Many platforms are also unable to cope with the thousands of students that try to join online discussions. Language learners benefit greatly from human interaction within a classroom. Mark Edmundson (2012), an English professor at the University of Virginia, argued that online education creates a “monologue and not a real dialogue” in the learning environment.
Classroom environments allow learners to express their opinions, participate in debates, and engage in face-to-face interaction with classmates and their instructor.
Language facilitators are responsible for explaining material, answering questions and guiding learning based on students’ needs and language levels in real time. From an online perspective, this resource becomes diluted, as often there exists back and forth communication between the student and the facilitator over an extended period of time. Within a classroom environment, learners are immersed in the language and encouraged to speak. Learning takes place in a pro-active way with a balance of learner-facilitator interaction and group work. Language learners receive undivided attention from the facilitator, and the pace and content of the tuition is thus tailored to the learner accordingly.
Two of the benefits of online courses are that they offer flexibility and convenient accessibility; however, they also require a greater amount of self-discipline, reading and time-management skills. Online courses tend to make it easier to procrastinate and they create a sense of isolation. These elements are not conducive to successful language learning. Motivation levels are likely to decrease when using online platforms, as learners have no real external influences to help keep them motivated and inspired.
The quality and accreditation of online language courses is also a concern to most learners, as many online courses lack valid accreditation and certification. It is crucial to enrol in a course that provides legitimate information and that is accredited with a relevant board or organisation. A course that does not provide valid accreditation will serve no purpose or advantage to the learner.
Wits Language School was established in 1997 and forms part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the last 19 years, the school has built a reputation for providing high-quality language services and short learning programmes in a dynamic and international learning environment. Wits Language School endorses interactive teaching styles, uses up-to-date teaching methods, and employs experienced and highly qualified teachers who are mother-tongue speakers to assist all participants in their quest to learn a second language.
Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.
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