By Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer at Coursera

In our rapidly evolving world, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into our professional lives is now an increasingly inevitable reality. For women in particular, this holds great significance.

A recent UN study has suggested that women face a heightened risk of their jobs being automated by AI, highlighting the urgency of the imperative to proactively upskill for careers that adapt to the technology and its impacts upon the world of work. To provide insights into how you can successfully navigate this increasingly AI-driven professional landscape, we turned to Marni Baker Stein, Chief Content Officer at Coursera, who offers actionable tips for women seeking success in this new era.

1. Embrace AI Education

To adjust to the evolving skills requirements of the modern workplace, the importance of education and continuous learning cannot be overstated. AI technologies and tools are advancing at an unprecedented pace, and to remain adaptable, regular upskilling and reskilling are essential.

Recent insights from Coursera underscore this point, revealing that 67% of UK bosses say it is now ‘important’ for job candidates to possess AI skills, while 83% believe AI will change the skills required by their company. Yet there is a glaring skills gap, with a recent survey by analytics firm SAS found that 63% of decision-makers report a shortage in AI and machine learning skills.

Embracing AI education is not just a pathway by which the skills gap can be reduced but also a means of mitigating the risks associated with job displacement. By continually developing your skills and knowledge, you can position yourself as a key contributor to the increasingly AI-driven world of work.

2. Consider Online Certifications for Upskilling Flexibly

One way women can embrace AI upskilling to propel their careers forward is by taking advantage of online certifications and micro-credentials. The popularity of courses like DeepLearning.AI’s “AI for Everyone” among British women underlines their relevance to learners seeking to thrive in the modern workforce. This course has shot up to become the sixth most popular course for the 1.58 million British female learners on Coursera, from only 59th in 2022, while Google’s Foundations: Data, Data Everywhere – an introductory Data Science course – remains the second most popular offering among British women on the platform.

These resources offer practical, in-demand technical skills that align with the changing workplace. By embracing online learning, you can gain a competitive edge and equip yourself with important skills and micro-credentials in a flexible way that suits your personal needs and schedule. This is particularly valuable for women who may need help accessing in-person learning alongside work commitments and caregiving requirements.

3. The Importance of Networking to Identify Career Growth Opportunities

Upskilling through online learning is essential to remain ahead of the curve, but don’t forget the importance of networking to identify and seize career growth opportunities. Building strong connections with mentors, peers, and industry professionals can provide valuable insights and open doors to opportunities.

Doing so can also help you stay informed about burgeoning industry trends and skill requirements before others. Joining groups and initiatives that promote diversity – such as women in AI groups – can also help you to access resources, support and guidance from those with similar backgrounds and experience. Attending workshops, webinars, and conferences has been essential for me and my colleagues as we have sought to stay informed about the latest developments and technologies in our field. This proactive approach ensures that your skills remain relevant as AI continues to develop, allowing you to adapt and thrive in this dynamic field.

4. Showcase Your Abilities to Increase Representation

Despite ongoing efforts to nurture greater gender diversity, women currently account for just 28% of the STEM workforce. However, the changing landscape driven by the new wave of AI holds significant potential for altering this imbalance.

To enhance your career prospects, alongside helping to build representation, seek involvement in relevant AI projects within your workplace to showcase your AI skills and expertise. Achieving success in these projects develops your practical knowledge and bolsters your portfolio, and will also serve to normalise, and highlight the value of, diverse AI teams.

It’s important to recognise that norms and biases continue to affect women’s self-promotion tendencies. Harvard research highlights that women are often less likely to proactively highlight their accomplishments, which can hamper progression in competitive career domains, and thus perpetuate underrepresentation. Don’t let being one of the few women in the room hold you back! Advocate for yourself, and continuously strive to ensure that your achievements and skills are acknowledged by your colleagues.

The era of the AI-driven workplace offers numerous exciting opportunities for women to thrive and make their mark in this essential field. By taking action to continuously upskill, reskill, network, and raise consciousness about the fruits of your endeavours, you can position yourself for success in the AI age. Don’t just adapt to AI – lead the way in shaping its future.

About the author

Marni Baker Stein is Coursera’s Chief Content Officer, where she oversees the company’s content and credential strategy and partner relationships. Marni has more than 25 years of experience in producing and scaling online and hybrid education programs. Prior to joining Coursera, she was Chief Academic Officer and Provost at Western Governors University, where she led its four colleges serving more than 135,000 students with programs that improved access and affordability without compromising academic quality. Before that, Marni held several leadership positions focused on access, student success, and program design at institutions such as the University of Texas System, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her PhD in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

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