The Path to Becoming a Sustainability Professional

Sustainability is no longer a fringe issue. Organizations and people who care about protecting our environment now outnumber the skeptics. Government and company policies are starting to reflect sustainable social expectations. The days of businesses chasing profit without considering environmental issues could be over soon. Many modern companies include corporate and social responsibility as a key component of their plans. Enhancing society and the environment rather than harming it is no longer a debate at many companies. At the very least, businesses do not want accusations around unsustainability to tarnish their brand image. What does this mean for you? There are many new opportunities for those interested in becoming sustainability professionals. Moreover, industries that were once unconcerned about their environmental impact are now seeking job applicants with sustainability qualifications. Employees in real estate, manufacturing, marketing and public relations, building, food science, the law, engineering, and teaching are adding sustainability credentials to their resumes. If you are passionate about creating a sustainable society, there are several things you can do to set you on the path.

Introductory Courses

One of the first things you can do to improve your sustainability credentials is to complete a course that imparts knowledge and skills in the discipline. Introductory environmental courses cover the fundamental concepts of sustainability and provide a strong base for future studies. Students build their understanding of the nuanced connections between society and the environment. There is also a focus on developing strategies to limit environmental impact. These are important skills for people working in diverse industries such as construction and marine biology or even social media and risk management.

In their mission statement, the United Nations Environment Programme identifies six key areas to focus on. The areas are leadership, disaster management, eco-system management, governance, harmful substances and resource efficiency. These broad areas underscore how sustainability now intersects almost all professional careers. For one thing, business leaders must consider sustainability in their business plans. Engineers and product managers must consider the environmental impact of their product designs. Lawyers and company managers must be aware of environmental laws to ensure compliance. People who work in marketing, human resources or public relations must understand sustainability to support corporate and social responsibility. The list goes on.

Sustainability influences how we go about our business. Having a fundamental understanding of sustainability practices is now an important responsibility for teams. Try taking an environmental course to get you started.

Advanced Courses

People who are eager about sustainability can take environmental science courses. These more advanced courses cover specialized concepts such as social, environmental or economic sustainability. Whether you are an architect, tradesperson, social researcher or financial accountant, the knowledge can help your career. Sustainability skills can improve your job performance and future prospects.

Policies to limit the impact of climate change continue to shape business philosophies. Integrating sustainability into the structure of organizations is more and more important. Understanding renewable energy, biodiversity, waste management and green building is becoming vital for many engineers, designers and builders.

One effect of social media is the immediate, negative impact when corporate brands slip up. Companies get slammed when their business practices are incompatible with sustainability philosophies. PWC Canada reports that their 2019 Consumer Insights survey, “clearly demonstrates that manufacturers and retailers need to pay attention to what consumers are saying about environmental sustainability if they’re going to keep current customers and attract new ones”. Does that mean sustainability affects customer loyalty? It is not enough to have a conversation about sustainability and make sure that employees do not make too many photocopies or leave the lights on. Employees need sustainability skills to do their jobs in a conscious and critical way. Businesses will hire qualified people to ensure they meet the expectations of their customers.

LEED Green Associate Certification

Aspiring sustainability professionals should also consider getting certified as a LEED Green Associate. What does that mean exactly? LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Canada Green Building Council says that the “credential shows a clear commitment to your professional growth.” Furthermore, certification “[underscores] your value to LEED project teams and sustainability-focused organizations”. Certification is particularly necessary for people considering a career in the building industry. It also benefits people working in real estate, landscaping, marketing, sales, engineering or design.

To get certified, applicants must pass the LEED Green Associate Exam. The exam focuses on building practices and support services for LEED project teams. You can take the exam regardless of your occupation or past experience. However, some of the questions are quite technical and challenging. Taking a LEED green associate exam prep course is a great idea, especially if you are new to sustainability. Prep courses cover the LEED rating system, green building strategies, and energy and water efficiency. Students will also learn about environmental quality, sustainability thinking, and the certification process. Sustainability professionals who want higher LEED certifications must first pass the LEED Green Associate Exam.

ISO 9001 2015 Certification

Are you someone who cares a lot about quality? Consider ISO. The International Organisation for Standardisation is the largest quality management system in the world. The system regulates business practices to ensure rigorous processes, production and quality control. Impressively, over one million companies are certified by ISO. That said, the ISO 9001 certification training courses can be taken by individuals. Prospective sustainability professionals who get certified will make their resumes stand out. This highlights your credibility and training in quality management systems that ensure products and services meet regulatory and customer standards.

Where Do You Go From Here?

Sustainability policies will continue to impact the decisions made by governments and industry. Organizations are starting to work towards harmonizing the needs of society with the need to protect the environment.  For people hoping to advance their careers, Sustainability skills will become more and more important. Employees with a sustainability background are more attractive to businesses hoping to implement best practice strategies to maintain their legal commitments and to protect their brand image. Becoming a sustainability professional is no longer a niche in the job market. Around the world, people recognize that sustainability is a key to the future. Be proactive by adding sustainability credentials to your current resume. Many people are stepping up, not only to live in a sustainable world but to have a sustainable career.

Stand Out from the Crowd with Future-Proof Technology Skills

Even before the internet revolutionized our workplaces, everyone was told to learn computer skills to enhance their future employability. Information technology is everywhere and it continues to drive the future in many industries. But which IT skills will be in demand in the future? The breadth and diversity of courses plus the dynamics of the industry can make the choice overwhelming. New technologies are always in development. Many of these technologies are already part of the future of visionary businesses. Savvy professionals can secure their futures by upgrading their skills today.

Cloud Computing

Most people know the cloud as some ethereal data space in the internet sky. However, few people are aware of how it works and why it is such an important component of doing business. The impact of cloud computing on how we do business and how we work and play will continue to grow. It helps to know about data storage, computer system resources and computing power, which are all future areas of growth. Job applicants with skills in these areas will continue to be in high demand. But, if you want to be a cloud software engineer, developer, architect, or someone who works in cloud operations, you will need certification to get the best and most lucrative jobs. When selecting courses, prospective students with less background knowledge should take an introductory cloud computing course. One of the most highly regarded certifications in cloud computing is the AWS certification. Taking an AWS certification is a great way to get future-proof skills and prepare for AWS certification tests. Students can also take advanced AWS courses to further improve their employability and gain new skills as the sector continues to advance.

Many businesses also prefer that cloud computing staff are Microsoft Azure certified. Azure certification can even put your career on an upward trajectory. Students who complete the introductory course often take advanced azure training for a deeper understanding of administrative and security functions. Then, students will often immediately take the Security Engineer Associate or Administrator Associate certification exam for Azure managed by Microsoft.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is often defined as getting a computer to do something without it being explicitly instructed. The process is used in many industries as new research continues to push the boundaries of possibility. As such, machine learning is already a highly regarded qualification for professionals interested in artificial intelligence and robotics. Machine learning courses are helpful for people interested in cybersecurity, logistics management and predictive management. These are all areas of IT with a high demand for qualified workers. A machine learning course gives students an understanding of how machine learning helps provide cutting-edge business solutions in the modern world. An important part of most machine learning courses is understanding how AI automatically learns and adapts. With a broad understanding of machine learning, students can add to their skillset. They can even extend themselves with future studies in data science, software engineering and development, and computational linguists. Professionals in these areas all need a deep understanding of machine learning.

Robotics

According to the World Economic Forum, there were 113 industrial robots per 10,000 employees in 2020. That marks an increase of more than 50% since 2016. There were fears that robots would replace human employees for years, countered with arguments that robotics would increase employment. The only certainty is that the use of robotics in manufacturing will continue to grow along with the demand for robotics experts. Robotics is now much more sophisticated than the technology that first welded together car parts on an assembly line. Robots make and deliver food, perform surgery and even care for the elderly. Science fiction can make us think of robots as replacements for humans, but the reality is pretty different. For people who want to future-proof their skills, an understanding of robotics could help your career take off. An introductory robotics course builds knowledge of robot structures, workspaces, operation systems and sensor feedback control. Such a course allows students to develop practical skills with electronics, sensors and actuators. You can also learn about microcontroller programming languages. Some courses also engage with the ethics surrounding the use of robotics in society. Advanced robotics training usually gives students an opportunity to develop projects and gain a thorough understanding of programming, electronics and prototyping. These courses suit anyone with a passion for making robotics their career.

Python Programming

Python is a diverse programming language that is powerful and easy to learn. The language is used for web development, data extraction, robotics, blockchain and even machine learning. Python is versatile, fast, efficient, and has an extensive online library. It also shows up in AI, cloud computing, data science and automation. The benefit of Python is that most students learn it quickly and efficiently. Because it is modular, students continue to use it on more complex work as they develop their skills. Many business names that are synonymous with the technology sector use Python. Python for beginners is great for those new to programming. Students learn the core concepts and flexibility of the language. You also learn about its adaptability, which is the main reason Python has remained an important programming language since its introduction in 1991. IT professionals often complete Python certification to improve their proficiency and take their Python learning to the next level. Advanced students learn Python 3, used by many businesses for object-oriented programming, databases, and graphical user interface programming.

Summary

The world does not stand still, and this is no more evident than in the technology sector. The above courses are a great way to future-proof your career and help you stand out from the crowd. Beyond these qualifications, it is important that you can clearly and effectively communicate your ideas to colleagues and business associates. A business communication course is an excellent way to ensure that your brilliant ideas come across to others.