How Often Should You Upskill As An Independent Professional?

Although you may have learned many competencies since you started your career, markets constantly evolve, so obtaining new skills or refreshing current ones will ensure your capabilities remain relevant. To maximise your potential, and indeed your rate of pay, as an Independent Professional, you need to aim to achieve expert status within your field.

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As an Independent Professional Contractor, you rely heavily on your own skills as an income generation tool. It is a major part of what differentiates your work from others.
Although you may have learned many competencies since you started your career, markets constantly evolve, so obtaining new skills or refreshing current ones will ensure your capabilities remain relevant.
To maximise your potential, and indeed your rate of pay, as an Independent Professional, you need to aim to achieve expert status within your field.

What is ‘upskilling’?

Upskilling is elevating existing skills to the next level or acquiring new skills. Upskilling ensures your skillsets won't become obsolete and shows your commitment to further expanding your skillset and expertise. 

How often should you upskill?

The simple answer to this question is as often as you can or as often as the market you work in demands.
There is no exact timeframe suggested but refreshing an old skill or picking up a new one every six months is a great goal. This can help you stay ahead of the market and ensure that you are not left behind when the new talent arrives.
Simply committing to just a few hours of training can boost your confidence and help you thrive as an Independent Professional.

Where to start?

The most important thing to remember is there is no need to panic, there are numerous ways you can upskill regardless of how busy your schedule may be, flexible learning is bigger now than it has ever been before.

1. Start an online course 

Now more than ever, a wide range of online courses are available at our fingertips. Post-pandemic is an ideal time to get started on your upskilling journey. Countless programs and classes are available, some of which you will need to pay for but may well be considered a business expense. There are also many that are free.
There are plenty of topics to explore online, so you are bound to find one that suits you.
For example, you may want to familiarise yourself with contemporary tech trends, such as AI or bitcoin. If so, there are thousands of courses to choose from. 

Not sure where to find effective online courses? Start your search on iPerks or LinkedIn Learning. 

2. Sign up for webinars, podcasts and live events

Webinars and podcasts are both effective and efficient ways to get information. You can sign up for or tune in at the time that best suits you. Many organisations will also record webinars and provide the highlights for all who signed up but couldn't make the live event. Additionally, you’ll find a wealth of pre-existing content across numerous subjects. Once you’ve decided on the topic you want to learn, do a narrow search to help you hone in on the specific skill you want to master. Many free online resources offer valuable information within short and easy-to-digest sessions.

3. Work on building your network

Joining groups with other professionals inside and outside your industry — both online and offline — will help you to build a pool of connections while learning from their professional experiences. Networking can also help you get other perspectives on what skills are essential in your industry and, as industries evolve, what might become indispensable in the next few years.

4. Get reading

This one might seem obvious, but a great way to expand your awareness is to research the leaders in your field. You can find books written by industry leaders and learn a lot from their past failures and successes. You can also read blogs or scan through industry forums. In time, you could even write in yourself and share your key learnings with others.

5. Find a mentor

Why not learn directly from someone in your industry? You can find out how they got to where they are and what they learned along the way. They can also help you avoid common mistakes or advise you on the particular skills they believe you need to move towards your professional goals.


Did you know that as an Icon Accounting client, you have access to iPerks, a contractor platform giving you access to countless benefits? You can use the platform to upskill with access to our over 4,000 courses, many of which are university accredited, ensuring you can thrive in your role without spending a penny! Upskilling has always been pivotal for contractors to attract the best daily rate opportunities. Thanks to iPerks, you can now fine-tune your skill set around your availability, making it a real possibility for all our clients.

The biggest benefit of using iPerks for upskilling is the possibility of complete flexibility. Not only can courses be completed at your own pace, but they are also available in different languages.

With the Icon Accounting App, it couldn’t be easier to access iPerks — simply log in to your profile on the app and start saving, learning, and practising wellbeing.

Here are 4 examples of courses available to you as a client of Icon Accounting that are in high demand today!

1. Engineering the Future – Creating the Amazing

About this Course:

You will learn how the disciplines of maths, biology, computing and physics come together with creative thinking and people skills to produce cutting-edge engineering projects. You will also explore the impact of modern engineering on a diverse range of industries, from healthcare to artificial intelligence. Delivered by the University of York, it’s the perfect course for any of our clients that have a passion for physically creating and engineering.

Time to Complete:

This course should take no longer than 12 hours to complete but also offers flexible learning, so you can complete it as quickly or as slowly as you feel necessary.

2. Project Management & Other Tools for Career Development Specialisation

About this Course:

Project management has proven to be the most effective method of delivering products within cost, schedule, and resource constraints. It is an essential skill in the modern, digital, and constantly changing world. This intensive and hands-on series of courses will give you a blend of skills and a strong working knowledge of the basics of project management. You’ll learn the key roles and responsibilities of the project manager and project team and how to answer key questions upfront to help you meet project objectives and manage project risk.

Additionally, this course will cover essential career success skills that have become indispensable, like business writing, negotiation and effective problem-solving.

Time to Complete:

The course from the University of California takes approximately 6 months to complete at a suggested pace of 1 hour per week. It can be completed 100% online and is available in various languages.

3. Preparing for Google Cloud Certification

About this Course:

Provided by Google Cloud Training, this course teaches you what you need to advance your cloud architecture career while offering a direct path to earning the industry-recognized Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer certification. Through different demos, labs, and presentations, you’ll learn, explore and deploy solution elements, including infrastructure components like networks, systems, and applications services. You'll also gain experience applicable to the real world thanks to several hands-on Qwiklabs projects that you can share with potential employers.

Time to Complete:

Overall, there are 6 mini subjects in this course which will take up to 4 months to complete if you commit to 4 hours per week. It is also available with subtitles in many languages.

4.Advanced Cyber Security Training – Network Security

About this Course:

Cyber-attacks have been one of the most common worries for companies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and can have devastating results on your business or home network. Provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), the world’s largest cyber security technical certification body, this course gives you the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent these attacks while helping to increase your network security.

Using a practical approach, you’ll learn how to deal with the growing problem of network attacks and understand how malicious hackers could break into your network.

Time to Complete:

This course takes approximately 4 weeks to complete with a commitment of 3 hours per week, but again can be completed at your own pace.

Now that you’re armed with all everything you need to know about upskilling, you can put it into practice.
We cannot stress enough the importance of upskilling as a contractor (which is precisely the reason why we developed iPerks for our clients in the first place).
Transform your professional life by expanding and building on your expertise to ensure you don't miss out on the next, possibly unique, opportunity.

If you are an Independent Professional and would like to hear more about the Icon Accounting service offering and iPerks, please contact our team by emailling or by calling 01-8077106.


Sean Piggott

Business Development Manager

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Swords, Co. Dublin, Ireland, K67 R2Y9
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