Albert Einstein, the world-renowned physicist best known for his general and special theories of relativity, had a remarkable number of achievements throughout his lifetime. You could argue that this was attributable to his ongoing dedication to learning.

You may recognise two of his quotes below:

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and case only at death”

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”


While not many of us aspire to win the Nobel Prize in physics, there’s a lot that we can learn from Einstein’s approach to continuous learning. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, although our formal education officially “stops” once we attain our diplomas, university certificates, or even doctorate degrees, that doesn’t signal the end of our learning journey.

Every stage of our lives after formal education requires some type of learning, whether we see it as such or not. A fresh graduate quickly learns that the life of an employee or budding entrepreneur is vastly different from that of a student. For this group, learning about personal finance can also seem like a brave new world.

New parents (and pawrents) soon learn that the responsibility of caring for another life is a new experience. Even a new retiree who’s had a star-studded career with many enviable accomplishments has to learn how to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

The examples of learning above are what I would call learning by necessity or “life” skills i.e. there’s simply no alternative to obtaining this knowledge. However, the great thing about this sort of learning is that there’s no correct way to go about it and different approaches and work for different people.

In contrast to the skills above, there are also skills that can have a quantifiable impact on your personal outcomes, specifically in how they improve your employability and career trajectory. In the rest of this article, I’ll list out what I think will be the key skills to consider picking up, regardless of the industry you’re in.


Data Analysis

By the year 2025, it has been estimated that about 463 exabytes of data will be created every day. That’s 463 million terabytes of data created each day! You may have come across the phrase “Data is the new oil” which was first coined by the British mathematician Clive Humby in 2006. Just like oil, data requires refining before it can be meaningfully used. 

Essentially, data analysis is the process of collecting, modeling, and analyzing data with the end goal of gleaning meaningful insights. With the ever-growing amount of data generated each day, the need for data analysis is even more apparent. Regardless of the industry you’re in, you would have noticed that data is becoming increasingly important, whether you’re a marketing manager figuring out the best approach to running your campaigns, an LnD manager figuring out the best way to deliver training content to engage your learners or you’re in logistics and need to find the most efficient way to transport goods from point A to B.

There is a huge number of data analysis and analytics courses available for you to consider enrolling in, and perhaps it’s time to dip your toes into the area.


Personal Branding

Personal Branding is another skill that I see as important regardless of your industry, your seniority at the workplace or the scale of your business. Essentially, it’s how you tell your story and it represents the culmination of your knowledge and your experiences.

You might be thinking to yourself, why is it important to put yourself out there, especially if you could be an introverted person? As it turns out, having a strong personal brand has important implications for your career, and you may just land your next big opportunity as a result.

If your Personal Brand is strong enough, it even has the ability to influence people to act on a global scale. If you’ve got any interest in cryptocurrency at all, you’ll know that Elon Musk’s tweets have the power to move prices dramatically.

Personal Branding also affects how the world at large perceives you, even among people you’ve never met. A comparison of U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump should make this apparent, regardless of your thoughts on the outcomes of each president’s respective terms in office.

A final reason for the importance of personal branding is the rise of the distributed workforce. The increase in remote working globally means that you’re not just competing against the peers in your country, but a global workforce. A strong personal brand might just be the differentiating factor that gives you an edge over the competition. 


Effective Communication

I think it goes without saying that unless you’re living alone on a desolate island and live off what you can catch, you’re going to have to interact with other people to get things done. In a career context, effective communication can make all the difference in successfully negotiating a raise with your employer, landing a huge client, helping your team members achieve their potential and more.

There are a ton of articles out there on what exactly goes into effective communication, but I found this one to be a good summary. If you feel that you aren’t currently an effective communicator, it might be time to pick up some courses or attend some workshops. Even if you think you are good enough, chances are you still have blind spots to address.

An important point to note is that effective communication isn’t limited to written and verbal communication. Nonverbal communication is equally important and is something we should strive to pay attention to in our interactions, whether they’re in the context of the workplace or not.

As mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard to overstate the importance of learning as a continuous process that lasts throughout one’s lifespan. Constant learning keeps you curious and always improving. Regardless of which skill you decide to learn or hone (even if it’s not career-related), the process of continuous learning is an investment that always pays off.


Are you interested to find out how you can help you can support continuous learning on SmartUp? Get in touch with us here and let’s have a chat.