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Most people have financial dreams. Some want to become millionaires, retire early, and travel the world. Others want to simply lead a comfortable lifestyle that affords them occasional luxuries. One way to make these financial freedom goals come to life is by leveraging AI to learn the occupational skills that will be most valuable in the coming decades. After all, when you have job security, you naturally have financial security.

This means taking a future-forward, proactive approach to training in both today’s and tomorrow’s most needed career paths and skills. When workers have the capabilities and experiences that employers need, they’re more likely to get higher-paying jobs. Plus, they can often snag lucrative promotions that allow them to earn attractive salaries and advance faster than their peers.

With this in mind, it’s wise for career-minded people to determine which skills are going to be most useful and necessary tomorrow. While there are certainly many, having comfort and competence around AI is a big one. It’s hard to underestimate the impact that AI is having. It’s harder still to envision just how far AI will take humanity as it continues to transform society.

Let’s put aside for a moment all the drawbacks being touted about AI. Yes, 42% of respondents in one poll felt the world would be better off without AI solutions. Yet AI isn’t going away. Quite the opposite. AI is rapidly becoming an essential element in all industries. Workers who understand AI and how to use it effectively on the job will advance their careers and differentiate themselves. They’ll also be able to enjoy the security that comes from knowing that their positions aren’t going to become obsolete anytime soon.

How exactly can up-and-coming employees leverage AI to move the needle on their occupational acumen? Depending on where they are in their careers, they can apply different strategies to transform their aptitudes and potential.

AI-Fueled Opportunities for Rising and Early-Stage Workers

It only makes sense to start by talking about younger and rising workers first. These are mainly going to be Gen Z individuals, but Generation Alpha is coming along fast.

From the moment these workers were born, they’ve been introduced to a digital world. As a result, they’re more accustomed to interacting with AI technologies. These might include facial recognition software, social media filters, ChatGPT, and virtual assistants like Alexa. Yet their familiarity with AI shouldn’t be mistaken for deep knowledge of AI. Younger people can find AI to be just as intimidating or confusing as their older counterparts. For them, learning more about what AI is and how it works can be a good stepping stone toward improving their overall skills.

AI Tools Making a Difference

This is where startups like AI Camp and services like its unique Guided Internship program can help. Designed for younger people, including high schoolers and college students, the internship program arranges partnerships between AI Camp students and mentors who guide students through real-world AI-focused projects.

By working with AI under the tutelage of professionals, AI Camp students are able to get more comfortable with the technology. At the same time, they discover how firms, entrepreneurs, and researchers are practically applying AI at work. As one intern, Rohan Joshi, noted, “AI Camp offered me the opportunity to work on a mobile app that could reach thousands of people. Overall, I learned the value of solving problems in a wide range of areas from education to character recognition in images.”

In joining AI Camp, students have the chance to engage with AI in multiple ways as well as earn scholarships for future programming sessions. They’re able to see AI from a different perspective, thereby improving the expertise they can offer to future employers. Even those who don’t get into a specifically AI-focused career path will be able to think critically and speak intelligently about AI and its promising aspects. That’s highly valuable and can look good on a resume and sound even better during interviews.

AI-Based Training for Mid-Career Workers

Individuals just entering into the work world aren’t the only ones who can benefit from upping their AI know-how and experience. Mid-career workers, including those with dreams of entering the C-suite and enjoying the financial perks of executive lifestyles, can gain an advantage from upskilling, too.

Currently, around one-fifth of workers with college degrees and about one-fourth without college degrees told Gallup they worried about losing their jobs to technology. The obvious answer to this problem is for them to become more technologically savvy through upskilling or even reskilling. A natural starting point would involve acquiring AI-related skills, given their prominence across various lucrative and stable job sectors.

AI Skills Paving the Way to Financial Freedom

CNBC named five high-paying occupations in 2023 — and all had an AI angle. The list included titles like software engineer, product manager, and research scientist. With average annual earnings hovering between approximately $127,000 and $153,000, the positions are going to be needed for years to come. This further underscores the rising importance of roles intertwined with AI. This signals not just lucrative opportunities, but also the enduring demand for skill sets aligned with technological advancement.

What’s the best way for a worker to either update their AI-related learning or even switch careers midstream? If the worker’s employer is willing to put some skin in the game, a program like Google Career Certificates could be useful. As the largest search engine and a leader in the use of AI, Google’s well-positioned to provide advanced upskilling. From cybersecurity courses to digital marketing offerings, Google Career Certificates offer plenty of variety for mid-stage learners.

For workers who are growing their careers on their own (or who have been outsourced by an employer,) Google works with Coursera to offer low-cost Certificates. Coursera also provides in-roads to degrees, certificates, and one-off upskilling programming through other partners, including institutes of higher education. Looking through their online course catalog, AI topics are plentiful. Taking a single class is unlikely to raise a worker’s AI abilities considerably. However, it can help nudge their career advancement in the right direction.

For some more courses, Maven and Landing AI also offer a variety of learning opportunities focused on AI education.

AI-Concentrated Training for More Seasoned Workers

Employees who have established long-term careers aren’t immune from the feeling that they’re losing ground by becoming out of touch with AI. Though Baby Boomer and Gen X workers tend to be more philosophical about the possibility of losing their jobs to emerging tech, they certainly would rather not lose a steady paycheck. If bumping up their AI talents helps them do that, they’ll be able to remain on a fiscal path to the retirement years they want.

Like mid-career workers, seasoned employees may want to explore Coursera and similar platforms. However, most won’t be interested in going back to school to get full-blown degrees. With that being said, older workers who have remained in office and administrative positions throughout their careers may feel compelled to increase their AI learnings by hitting the books harder than they expected.

Financial Freedom Through AI Learning Resources

At least one poll showed that older workers seeking jobs had trouble landing roles because they were perceived as not having enough technical understanding. For some workers ages 45-60 years old in that category, the natural decision was to enter or re-enter campus life. Again, this may or may not be needed depending on an employee’s industry. Nevertheless, it could be a smart financial move for mature workers who don’t intend to retire anytime soon to be able to prove they know their way around AI and technical advancements.

One resource they may consider looking into could be LinkedIn Learning. With its extensive array of courses covering various aspects of AI — tailored to different skill levels — LinkedIn Learning offers a user-friendly platform accessible to individuals of all ages. It also provides the flexibility of self-paced learning, which allows users to delve into AI topics at their own convenience. The platform’s diverse range of human instructors and real-world applications can greatly assist older learners in grasping AI fundamentals. Most importantly, it can do so while fostering confidence in navigating the evolving technological landscape.

Using AI to Learn AI and Smarter Money Management Strategies

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the conversation around workers learning more about AI is that AI can be used to augment the learning process itself. For instance, AI can help learners get a more personalized experience in a virtual classroom. AI can also be useful for helping people conduct research. This also includes research on how to invest the money they make as they begin to get higher-paying positions.

AI can be a powerful tool to help learn about nearly anything, including financial concepts. Currently, only one-third of adults consider themselves financially literate according to a 2023 survey from Unbiased. Nearly three out of 10 admit that their discomfort around finances stems from a lack of education. Leveraged strategically, AI can correct this problem. And, it can open doors for those who aren’t confident about how they spend or save their money.

There’s little argument that financial literacy is an essential — and lacking — skill set. CNBC reporting shows that individuals and families are saving less than ever. Forty-nine percent have lost part of their savings or have no savings stockpile at all. If they had better jobs and understood more basic wealth management principles, they might be able to restore their bank accounts. From that point, they could move ahead toward making choices aimed at paving the way toward financial freedom.

Is AI transforming work, the economy, and society? Absolutely. Yet, it’s not an instrument to be feared. On the contrary, AI can expand and deepen people’s understanding of many issues. That’s not to mention become a roadmap toward making more money every year. This in turn gives them the ability to feel less financial stress. And, it allows them to employ the best methods to steward their wealth.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Matheus Bertelli; Pexels; Thank you. 

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