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Drew_Westra

Digital nomads are reshaping work as we know it – with the help of continuous learning

Today’s workforce has access to unprecedented levels of freedom in when, how and where they choose to work. Learn more about the adventurous lifestyle of digital nomads and the integral role that continuous learning plays in their success.

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The pandemic has altered the manner in which humans learn—not just for students in schools across the country, although that dominates today’s news, but for all of us. In particular, we are adapting the way we learn the skills that are critical to our jobs and careers. Great change inevitably creates great opportunity. Like flowers emerging in the springtime, creative and innovative people are demonstrating new growth and the ability to adjust to new environments. One of the most inspiring examples of living on this “edge”— and fast becoming a new global symbol—is the digital nomad.

Imagine yourself checking email from a scenic resort in Bali … or taking your lunch break at a quaint Parisian café … or ending your day admiring a view of the northern lights. In the past, this kind of lifestyle was a fantasy constrained by traditional work models and antiquated technology; it was achieved in only a few cases by the mega-rich, travel bloggers, or those on work sabbatical. But with innovations in telecommunications technology and access to blazing fast mobile Wi-Fi, it’s increasingly common for people across many fields to keep up with work demands while they travel the world.

Mixing adventure and productivity

Digital nomads work remotely, while traveling, with virtually the same efficiency, collaboration and performance as in a traditional office. Some crave constant excitement, hopping from country to country—or even continent to continent—for short periods of time. Others stay in one area for longer, taking time to thoroughly explore and experience a new place.

A special type of digital nomad, Vanlifers, live in vans or RVs while roaming the country. These rolling offices are now outfitted with the latest integrated wireless networks, cellular boosters and off-grid power systems—providing the same, if not better, tools than traditional home offices. Since they don’t need to stay in hotels, take airplanes, or conduct unnecessary in-person interactions, Vanlifers have had enjoyed added bonuses throughout the pandemic—including minimized exposure to the virus and reduced inconvenience from closures and cancellations.

Jennifer, a 30-something marketing consultant from California who is new to VanLife, says: “I’m more productive, happy and engaged than ever before. Being able to wake up every day in a place that fuels my soul allows me to pour that passion and clarity back into my work. To be honest, the more life I experience, the more life shows up in my work. It's truly a win-win.” 

Sound intriguing? If so, you’re in luck. The digital nomad lifestyle is becoming more popular. Several studies suggest that there are millions of American workers who are self-described digital nomads. This number will likely rise as new 5G technologies and satellite-based internet services deliver enterprise-level connectivity—even in rural areas—and improve remote access capabilities. 

Now to answer the million-dollar question: Is the digital nomad lifestyle as nice (and achievable) as it sounds? It appears so—MBO Partners report that 81% of digital nomad respondents are “highly satisfied” with their work and lifestyle and 9% are “satisfied.” (See COVID-19 and the Rise of the Digital Nomad.)

Continuous learning: a crucial function for digital nomads

Even in the most beautiful locations throughout the world, digital nomads must have discipline around job performance and the activities required to keep careers on track. For example, they need dedicated work hours based on the company’s “work day”; seamless collaboration and communication with peers, managers, and customers; and sharp, relevant skills. The MBO Partners study reports that 68% of digital nomads claim their work “requires specialized training, education, or expertise” compared to 48% of non-digital nomads.

In addition to the competencies needed for their jobs, nomads must have skills in virtual collaboration and communication technologies to work effectively and efficiently from a variety of locations. And they need to be proactive regarding innovations that drive work practices and processes. It’s in digital nomads’ best interests to be as self-sufficient as possible—organized and technically proficient with workplace tools—so that time zones and access to company resources (such as IT and administrative support) aren’t an issue.

Many digital nomads are freelancers. They are solely responsible for maintaining and growing their businesses. Robust, comprehensive skillsets in new technologies may be required to capture the attention of new clients and remain competitive.

Most digital nomads have recognized a fundamental need for continuous learning. Many favor subscription-based continuous learning—affordable, flexible, anytime, anywhere solutions for refreshing existing skills and acquiring new expertise. Continuous learning platforms offer training across a wide variety of topics and are accessible from anywhere, based on the learner’s schedule, and in right-sized chunks of consumable content. These platforms curate content based on learners’ unique needs while tracking progress that can be used to authenticate personal and business competencies. Learners can even earn verifiable digital credentials to promote on social media platforms like LinkedIn.

Learning services to fit your lifestyle

Work to live” or “live to work?" The choice is yours. But for those who want to make the most of their travels, HPE Education Services offers multiple ways to learn so that you can conveniently accommodate your schedule and lifestyle. Gone are the days when you needed to arrange your day around a training session that takes place at a designated time and place. Now you can make learning fit into your life—and your adventures.

HPE Digital Learner is our subscription-based online learning platform that provides 12 months of access to thousands of online courses. During their subscription periods, customers can take an unlimited amount of self-paced training on HPE technology (servers, cloud, networking, and storage), IT industry trends (AI, blockchain, and virtual reality), and business or personal skills development (marketing, finance, leadership, productivity). This option is great for digital nomads because they can:

  • access the portal from anywhere
  • choose classes that fit their needs and abilities (see the HPE Digital Learner Content Library for more information about available courses)
  • utilize post-training learning checks to test their knowledge
  • submit any remaining questions to expert HPE instructors, and
  • share digital badges (available with select courses) on social media.

For those who want live training delivered by an expert, virtual instructor-led training (VILT) may be a great option. VILT courses take place in HPE’s online, virtual classrooms, and are taught by experienced instructors who can answer students' toughest questions.

Finally, HPE offers individual eLearning courses that are available for à la carte purchase. These online courses cover technology subjects like servers, storage, deep learning, cloud, and VMware. They are perfect for busy IT professionals who want to acquire or advance specific skills.

Find out more about the different ways to learn with HPE or start your free trial of HPE Digital Learner today

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Drew Westra
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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About the Author

Drew_Westra

I'm a Worldwide Marketing Leader in HPE Educational Services, with over 25 years' experience in the information technology, telephony and wireless industries. As an entrepreneur, I have also successfully developed several small businesses into thriving organizations.