GROWING up, our parents and schools placed pressure on us figuring out what we wanted to be when we got older. In many cases, our parents kind of forced us to go down the route of being doctors, lawyers, engineers or working for the Government. Anything other than those roles were considered a failure in their eyes.
It was very hard for me to figure out what route I wanted to take because most of the career paths that were presented to me, I had no interest in. It dawned on me when I hit my 30s that the reason I wasn't interested in most of the career paths is that the skills, industries, and careers that light me up today have only been invented within the last 10 or so years.
Now, there is no limit to learning these new skills or working in many of these new industries. Whilst I was born in Trinidad and left for Canada as a baby, I'm loving the fact that I have been able to move back to Trinidad as an adult and I am able to work in anywhere that I choose because of my business as a digital and e-commerce strategist.
Working remotely from your laptop is still something that most parents cannot wrap their minds around. Heck, most companies in the Caribbean still can't grasp the concept of remote work and want you to physically be present to do your job, despite the fact that many of the roles could be done from home today.
The world has changed, and we in the Caribbean need to start embracing those changes and the opportunities that come with them. In this digital world our income has no cap, and we are no longer limited by geography when it comes to employment or getting clients.
These skills will allow you to land work as either a freelancer and participate in the gig economy, or you will be able to work for a company anywhere in the world whilst you are still physically living here in the Caribbean, getting paid in another currency. Another fun fact is that these skills will also allow you to go past "work from home" and get into the realm of "work from anywhere".
Allow me to introduce you to 12 digital skills you can start learning that are considered high-income digital skills. Now, there are way more than 12 of these available to learn but I wanted to give you a starting point and then you can go down the proverbial rabbit hole in your research.
1) Web Development
2) Software Developer
3) Search Engine Optimisation
4) Digital Marketer
5) Content Market or Content
7) Video Editor
8) Blockchain Specialist
10) User Experience (UX)
11) Project Management
The beautiful thing about any of these skills is that you can learn them from online schools, take short courses, read books, join forums, get certified online â€” and all this whilst you are still in secondary school or if you have a full-time job and are looking to make a career switch or get supplemental income.
When I started my tech blog Droid Island back in 2016 some of the first skills I learned that eventually allowed me to move from just being a tech blogger to turning it into a business were learning WordPress web development, digital marketing, e-commerce, search engine optimisation and content marketing.
Those skills allowed me to build my digital presence so that when my consumers would google anything related to smartphones, my website would show up with articles teaching them about some of the most googled topics in T&T relating to phones. They would then be able to click on the links to products I recommended and make purchases right on my website via Credit card or online bank transfers.
The reason skills like web development & SEO are so important for business owners is because of Google and other search engines.
Anytime someone has a question or a problem, they jump on a search engine to do their research and the links to a website or videos on YouTube will pop up, providing the information they need. Links to products are also displayed and then once the website is e-commerce ready, purchases can be made online without having to speak to anybody.
If you are looking to learn some of the skills mentioned, here are some of the top places I recommend for doing the courses and certification programmes.
1) HubSpot Academy
4) Google Digital Garage
Check out these platforms and go searching for some of the skills mentioned earlier. Many of the courses and certifications on these platforms are free and can be a great starting point to breaking into a new career path.
When you have these skills you can then build your profile and gain clients around the world on platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and Upwork; or regional platforms like Workii, Checkwi.com, The Hive or NCB Freelance.
If the gig economy is not for you then this is where you need to brush up on your LinkedIn profile, start looking for jobs there, and connect with recruiters. Globally, recruiters are on LinkedIn looking for remote talent to bring into their organisations, and these are the opportunities of which Jamaicans should be looking to take full advantage.
Working for international companies will expose our local market, raise our skill sets, build our work ethic, and bring in forex so that we can start seeing these things making an impact on our country.
I hope this article gave you a starting point for beginning that new career or getting those new skills to generate additional income.
Keron Rose is a digital strategist who works with Caribbean entrepreneurs to build their digital presence and monetise their platforms. To learn more, visit KeronRose.com or listen to the Digipreneur FM podcast on Apple Podcast/Spotify/Google Podcast.