stuck on chewing gum

It's time to take off the blinders. If you’re stuck in some sort of rut in the workplace and are thinking of changing careers, trash the idea that you’d have to take out a second mortgage, earn another degree and restart your career on a low rung of the job ladder in order to change professions.

There’s a new job category emerging that’s hybrid in nature, according to a report released by Burning Glass, a provider of high-impact job market analytics.

What this could mean to you is that you can leverage the experience that you already have, marry it to a skill set that’s hot, and possibly get paid more than you’re currently earning. This isn’t a theory, but something that people are already doing, according to Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly, which teaches 21st century skills to workers through part-time and immersive, full-time 8 to 12 week courses.

Your Career is a Journey

The educational institution offers sprint-style classes to test the waters in new areas like its Programming for Non-Programmers and Lead Generation bootcamps. There are also weekend courses that teach you the basics of Adobe InDesign as well as intense, full time classes that just about promise to earn you a job as a product manager, user experience designer or something along those lines.

“Your career is a journey,” said Schwartz, and if you keep you keep updating and expanding your skill set, it can be extremely rewarding. The stats in the Burning Glass study just about prove it.

Consider that the call for Digital Marketing and Automation professionals has grown 145 percent since 2011. The demand is even higher — a 500 percent increase from 2011 — for traditional marketers who also know social media, marketing automation (think Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot), content management, email marketing and such. Marry high demand and low supply and up goes the compensation.

But that’s not the only the only job category that’s lucrative. User Interface and User Experience professional are also in short supply. Those jobs require a combination of research and communication skills to understand how users engage and some software and design and programming know-how in order to execute solutions. There were 29,825 jobs available in this category at the time the study was conducted with an average salary in the $100,000 range.

Product Managers are in high demand too (40,752 openings in the last 12 months), with pay rates that top $106,471. According to Burning Glass, these positions require both business and technical skills and rely on communication, presentation and agile development know how. Think business case analysis, e-commerce, scrum, market research, product research.

Building a Community

You don’t need to be willing to tattoo “geek” or “suit” on your forehead to acquire the skills that will win you a nice raise or your next job. “Our goal is to make the classes accessible,” said Schwartz.

And at a time when ivory-towered universities are rushing to bring their classes online, General Assembly, as the name suggests, is building face-to-face learning communities in cities worldwide ranging from New York, London, Hong Kong, Melbourne and 10 others.

“Education is not just about content and watching videos at home,” said Schwartz. "Of the 14,000 alumni who took our long form courses since 2011, 40 percent come back for happy hours, tutorials, VIP events and even to teach classes."

Lifelong Education

And these folks are likely to keep coming back because they already know what others have yet to learn. Namely, that regardless of what you do, adding some technical or business know-how to your skills portfolio will make you more marketable, allow you to participate in a greater context and become more valuable. And while the latter might help you rake in bigger bucks, it’s important to recognize that continuing education is now a part of your employment journey. 

What’s newer and nice is that it doesn’t mean you have to, or even should, go back to school in the traditional sense. There are things you can learn in a short term course that aren’t being taught in college.

Title image byCreative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  mahalie