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4 careers for great problem-solvers

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 29 July 2019


In an interview for Smart Company, Stephen Barnes – a business strategist from Byronvale Advisors – states that “everything in business is about providing a solution to a problem”. The ability to problem-solve is an undoubtedly valuable skill among employers on a worldwide scale, ranking as number one on the QS Global Employer Survey for 2018. 


Why is problem-solving a good skill? 

Providing solutions is a core ingredient to all successful business ventures. It is the skill that delivers excellent customer service, drives workplace efficiency, and births invention and innovation in the workplace. However, it not only lends itself to corporate needs – but to everyday life as well.

Problem-solving requires observance, and the keen ability to identify areas of improvement. It’s thus a trait that influences positive change, allowing you to fix elements of an environment or system that are flawed, broken, or not operating to their full capacity. 

Why is problem-solving important to employers?

Problem-solving skills are essential for any employee, as they point to one’s resilience, quick-thinking, and ability to adapt. Being able to move with changing trends in technology, consumer demands, and the industry landscape is essential for the growth and evolution of any business.

On a much larger scale, problem-solving also spurs opportunity for industrial creation; allowing workers to come up with bigger, better ideas that can very well change the business environment itself. Think Elon Musk, for example – his current companies (Tesla, PayPal, and SpaceX) were environmental, financial, and technological (respectively) solutions that were once deemed unattainable; yet delivered a high level of social change that have made lives easier for many.

However, problem-solving provides just as much value in everyday work tasks, highlighting other skills such as logical reasoning, independence, and of course – creativity. 

In Australia, natural problem solvers can optimise their skills in a myriad of high-demand career paths, four of which we’ll discuss below.

4 career options for great problem-solvers.

  1. Accountant.
  2. IT Programmer.
  3. Logistics manager.
  4. Event planner.

1.Accountant.

male accountant calculating

Accountants provide financial services to businesses and individuals, related to matters such as budgeting, taxation, auditing, and cost management. You’ll be analysing, evaluating, and reporting on monetary activities (i.e. revenue and expenses of a company), and provide advice for the betterment of your clients’ financial health. 

Since saving your client of unnecessary expenses will be primary responsibility, one requires proficient problem-solving skills to mitigate as much financial cost as possible. This is an especially well-suited career for those well-skilled in maths. 

The minimum qualification for this career is diploma, though many opt for a bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting. The industry offers plenty of job prospects, predicted to experience strong growth over the next few years to 2023, and plenty of workers located all over Australia. 

2. IT Programmer.

The programming field is all about logic, with workers constantly researching on and analysing digital problems – designing and implementing computer code in response to such issues. Problem-solving skills are thus a must for this profession, as you’ll be creating, testing, and troubleshooting software in accordance to client instructions. 

Additionally, you may be required to update and build upon existing programs, along with debugging and fixing any errors that arise. You might also be advising others in their software design activities, or provide your expertise in developing proposals. 

According to Job Outlook, the future of IT programming is promising, with around 80,000 jobs likely to open in the years to 2023. Workers in this field typically hold a bachelor’s degree, but for those looking to have a feel of the industry, Upskilled offers plenty of certificate and diploma-level qualifications, such as the Certificate IV in Programming (ICT40518) and the Advanced Diploma of Information Technology (ICT60115). 

3. Logistics manager.

logistics team at warehouse

Logistics managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day processes of warehouse operations, ensuring all tasks and systems are running at optimum efficiency. As with any managerial position, the ability to problem-solve is crucial for maintaining smooth, high-quality worker activity. 

In this profession, you’ll be tasked with planning and coordinating the supply, storage, and distribution of goods, along with collecting and reporting data on operational performance. Logistics managers must be well-skilled in handling customer demands and providing the best business experience possible. As a leader in your field, you may also need to brainstorm effective solutions for improving existing working procedures. 

The future growth for this industry is strong, with 22,000 job openings predicted to pop up over the next four years. Most in the field hold a diploma or advanced diploma; for those interested in pursuing this career path, Upskilled offers a Diploma of Logistics (TLI50415) qualification to get your foot in the door. 

4. Event planner.

If you consider yourself a people-person and a natural problem solver, you may find your ideal career in the event management industry.

Event planners are responsible for the preparation and organisation of special affairs, including conferences, functions, weddings, and conventions. Much of the job involves discussing with clients on their needs for hosting the event, such as any services, technical equipment, decorations, and catering they may require. Once they’ve outlined their demands, you’ll then coordinate with the necessary people to carry out their requests.

If this sounds like the role for you, you’re in luck – the event planning industry is expected to grow strongly in the years to 2023, with much full-time work available. Many enter the industry without formal qualifications, though courses in event management may prove useful. 

How can I improve my problem-solving skills at work?

Problem-solving may be an innate talent for many, but like all other skills – it’s also one that can be learned. 

One of the easiest ways to get better at problem-solving is to learn from those who exhibit it best. Welcome advice from colleagues with greater experience, and observe how they deal with common workplace problems; or those specifically connected to your role. This not only provides you with hands-on guidance, but it demonstrates your proactiveness as an employee and willingness to learn. 

Another useful method of upgrading your problem-solving skills is to use the “5 Whys” technique. This simple, yet highly effective process involves repeatedly asking yourself why a problem exists, until you arrive at the root of the problem. For example, if you were dealing with recurring unsatisfied customers, you may ask yourself why this is. It may be due to them being disappointed with your service – and you’ll ask yourself why this might be, and so on. The method requires you to ask why on at least five levels, leading you to the heart of the issue, from where you can start to take action.

Finally, recruitment agency Robert Half gives the simplest advice at all: continue tackling problems when they come, make mistakes, and learn from them. Problem-solving skills can be refined and developed over time; but only with consistent practice can you effectively improve the process. 

Ready to put your problem-solving skills to work? 

As mentioned, Upskilled offers plenty of courses that cater to the natural problem-solver, including those in logistics, information technology, and event management. The best part is that they’re 100% online, flexibly delivered to suit your personal and professional needs. Enquire today, and start training in the industry of your choice. 
 
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