The Importance of CPD in Non-Traditional Careers

The Importance of CPD in Non-Traditional Careers

20 Feb 2024

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In today's rapidly transforming job market, non-traditional careers such as digital influencers, eSports athletes, and freelance creatives have become ever-more prevalent. As these new career paths rise in popularity, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has become increasingly important for growth and adaptability. This article explores the relevance of CPD for professionals in these emerging fields. It covers the overall benefits of CPD and how it helps address common challenges unique to non-traditional careers, offering practical steps for using CPD to support career progression.

What are Non-Traditional Careers?

Non-traditional careers refer to job paths that diverge from conventional roles typically associated with structured career progressions. These often emerge from evolving technologies and changing societal trends. Examples of non-traditional careers include digital influencers, who leverage social media platforms to build a personal brand and influence consumer behaviour; freelance creatives such as graphic designers and writers, who offer their skills on a project basis in a flexible work arrangement; and eSports athletes, who compete professionally in competitive video gaming.

Why is CPD important in Non-Traditional Career Development?

When it comes to non-traditional and less defined career pathways, it's important to consider their unique nature. They often involve rapidly evolving – or emerging – industries, a high degree of uncertainty, unique challenges and a need for diverse skill sets.  Often professionals working in these fields are required to cover multiple roles and solve challenges for themselves. CPD provides a structured approach to learning, helping professionals in these fields fill any skill gaps they may encounter on their journey and stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies.

Additionally, CPD fosters a mind-set of lifelong learning, encouraging professionals to continually develop their skills and adapt to new challenges. This adaptability is key in non-traditional careers where career paths and job security may be less defined and have fewer clear rules on how to thrive. As a result, CPD can prove to be an invaluable resource for those who wish to succeed in any non-traditional job or field.

Benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Non-Traditional Careers

The non-traditional field is expansive, but it often tends to be found at the intersection between technology, creativity and entrepreneurship. Here we’ll provide some examples of popular non-traditional careers and demonstrate the benefits that CPD can bring to them.

CPD for Digital Influencers

  • Social Media Strategies: Courses focusing on the latest trends in social media can help influencers stay ahead by giving them practical knowledge of how best to utilise these platforms.
  • Personal Branding: Understanding how to build and maintain a personal brand is crucial for influencers to attract sponsorships and maintain audience engagement in the long-term.
  • Media Production: Skills in producing high-quality content are important in an area with so much competition. CPD can offer training in video editing, photography, and graphic design.
  • Negotiation Skills for Sponsorships and Partnerships: For digital influencers, negotiating sponsorship deals and partnership agreements is a useful skill. CPD courses in negotiation can equip them with the techniques to effectively communicate their value, understand contractual terms, and navigate discussions for favourable outcomes.

CPD for Content Creators & Streamers

  • Content Strategy and Engagement: Courses on content strategy and audience engagement are vital for creators and streamers. These can cover topics like understanding audience demographics, effective content scheduling, and using analytics for growth.
  • Community Management: Content creators often build their own communities. CPD in this area can focus on strategies to build, engage, and maintain healthy online communities including conflict resolution, fostering inclusive environments, and using feedback to improve content and interaction.
  • Monetisation and Brand Partnerships: Understanding how to monetise content and forge successful brand partnerships is critical. CPD courses offer insights into negotiation tactics, contract management, and brand alignment strategies.
  • Legal and Ethical Aspects: Knowledge of legalities, copyright laws, and ethical considerations in content creation and streaming is essential. CPD can provide guidance on navigating these complex aspects.

CPD for eSports Athletes

  • Team Dynamics: Training in team management and communication is essential for success in team-based eSports.
  • Psychological Training: Mental resilience and focus are key, and courses in sports psychology can be highly beneficial for eSports athletes.
  • Self-Reflection and Performance Analysis: Courses that focus on self-reflection and performance analysis are crucial for eSports athletes. These programs teach athletes how to critically assess their gaming sessions and identify areas for improvement.

CPD for Freelancers

  • Adapting to Market Trends: Courses on market analysis and trend prediction to help freelancers stay relevant in their respective fields by offering skills and services that meet changing business demands.
  • Business Management Skills: Training in financial management, client relations, and project management to enhance business operations is an important skill suite for freelancers who are responsible for all aspects of business development and finances.
  • Technology Proficiency: Keeping up to date with relevant software and tools specific to their area of expertise allows freelancers to ensure they’re delivering the best services with the most efficiency.

CPD for Entrepreneurs

  • Innovation and Creativity: Workshops on fostering innovative thinking and creative problem-solving skills will not only help Entrepreneurs to crystallise their vision but can provide valuable networking opportunities through CPD events.
  • Strategic Planning and Execution: CPD courses in business strategy development, market analysis, and effective implementation help Entrepreneurs transition from ideas to actions and realise their business idea.
  • Leadership and Team Building: Training in leadership skills, team management, and employee motivation techniques will give Entrepreneurs the skills they need to put together - and get the most out of - their start up teams.
CPD supports skill diversification

How CPD can Help Tackle the Disadvantages of Non-Traditional Careers

Professionals in non-traditional careers often face unique challenges such as the absence of formal career pathways, rapidly changing industry standards, and the necessity for a diverse skill set. These challenges can make career progression unpredictable and demanding in the following ways.

The Lack of a Formal Career Pathway

Unlike traditional careers with well-defined progression ladders, non-traditional careers often lack a clear roadmap. CPD solves this by providing structured learning opportunities with clear opportunities to help professionals set and achieve any career goals.

Rapidly Evolving Industry Standards

In fields that are technology-driven and constantly evolving, staying current is crucial. CPD offers relevant knowledge and keeps professionals up-to-date with the latest industry developments.

The Need for Diverse Skill Sets 

The versatility required in non-traditional careers can be daunting. CPD supports skill diversification, allowing professionals to acquire a broad range of competencies, from technical skills to soft and transferable skills. CPD addresses these challenges by fostering lifelong learning, enhancing professional networks, and ensuring that individuals are well-equipped to adapt to in the dynamic landscape of non-traditional careers.

Steps to using CPD resources for Non-Traditional Career progression

As non-traditional careers do not tend to have a defined career progression, it can be difficult to know where to start the learning journey. As a result, navigating CPD resources involves a few key steps.

  1. Start by identifying the specific skills, knowledge gaps or areas that require improvement to guide the search for suitable CPD courses.
  2. Create a learning plan based on these identified areas to address and track the desired development goals.
  3. Focus on selecting courses from certified CPD providers to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the training.
  4. Aim for a diverse range of CPD courses that provide both a broad understanding and specialised knowledge for comprehensive skill development.
  5. Keep an accurate record of all completed CPD activities to monitor progress and support future career advancement.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a key building block in bolstering career growth and adaptability - especially in non-traditional careers. These dynamic career paths benefit from the targeted learning and skill enhancement that CPD offers. Ultimately embracing a proactive approach to professional development is beneficial irrespective of one's career path. The commitment to ongoing learning ensures individuals are well-equipped to stay competitive and seize new opportunities.

Where to Find Suitable CPD Courses

If you are interested in undertaking CPD courses to boost your skills in your chosen career, please visit the CPD Courses Catalogue. Here you will find thousands of accredited courses and events from across all industries and learning types, which would be beneficial for fulfilling any wider personal and professional goals. All the certified training has been reviewed and recognised as meeting the required industry standards and benchmarks. To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, you can complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider.

How to become an accredited CPD provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, workshops, eLearning or educational events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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