With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a surge in the number of people working from home, it’s no coincidence that these future skills can not only be learned online, but can also lead to remote work opportunities.
Why should you learn skills to future proof your career?
Skills that were once essential to jobs have become automatable, creating a space where people must develop new professional skills to stay valuable.
While you might think that your job isn’t at stake, automation has found its way into nearly every industry across businesses. Nearly 47% of jobs in the US could be replaced with smart machines and automation in the coming years.
Now’s the time to think about what skills and practices you can develop to ensure that your career will be safe in the future.
What skills are people currently lacking?
Hiring organizations have reported a serious skills gap in current and prospective employees. From hard skills to soft skills, high-level executives report that they believe 92% of Americans are underskilled.
In fact, executives even believe that 44% of Americans are lacking essential soft skills including collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.
What does this mean?
It means that many Americans are lacking some of the most desired skills for the future.
What are the top skills you should learn for the future?
When considering what skills you should learn for the future, it’s important to think about what will be relevant to your career and what is most desired by companies.
Listed are some of the most in-demand skills that you should learn for the future, in order to keep your career secure.
1. Artificial intelligence
You don’t need to work in the artificial intelligence (AI) field to expect to encounter AI in your workplace.
Software like hyperautomation and business intelligence, both examples of process automation enhanced by artificial intelligence, regularly rank among some of the top business technology trends lists. These technologies are being employed across digitally transformed companies, which now account for approximately 70% of businesses.
These technologies are transforming the way businesses function, enhancing the need for employees with artificial intelligence experience across industries.
Developing artificial intelligence skills isn’t something that happens overnight, but is sure to be valuable in any company. The first step to understanding artificial intelligence is to learn how it’s developed. This is key to learning how to manipulate and inform artificial intelligence. Once you have the development skills necessary, you’ll have the ability to interact with and learn AI skills.
Coding has quickly become one of the most sought after skills people can learn. Computing languages serve a variety of purposes and can be applied to almost any job. At this point, coding has become so dominant across industries that experts argue that coding might soon be a basic life skill.
Learning to code is one skill that could take some time. The specific computing language you want to become literate in will determine how long it takes you to learn to code.
If you want to learn to code, start by looking at different types of computer languages and consider how relevant they would be to your career.
Wondering if you should learn how to code, and where to begin?
Download your free copy of our Beginner’s Guide to Development to learn more about the benefits of learning to code. It takes you through the difference between computer science & coding, language & frameworks, what to expect when working in the tech industry, and more.
3. Cloud computing
Cloud computing is a safe way to store and manage company data that also enables remote access to company platforms.
The technology has become one of the best ways to leverage and store data securely, making it popular across several companies.
If you develop cloud computing skills, you offer the ability to advise your employer on how to best manage their cloud. From remote data storage to multi-cloud computing, understanding the different aspects of the cloud and its possible uses will make you valuable to any company.
Understanding the cloud is valuable for managing company-wide data, but on a smaller scope, it is essential for effectively distributing and managing individual projects.
Developing cloud computing alongside valuable project management skills can help you secure your career in organizing and managing company processes.
You don’t have to work in finance for blockchain to be relevant to your workplace. Blockchain is characterized as a solution in search of problems, making it a desirable skill for employees to have.
Blockchain is driving deep changes to the architecture of corporations. If you understand how blockchain works, you will be in the mindset to find potential problems within your company before they develop into real problems.
If you already understand cryptocurrency and trading, you likely have blockchain skills in place. Consider reading different blockchain blogs that further explain how the technology works and can be applied in your company.
Knowing more about the way it changes and develops daily will help you advance and apply your blockchain skills.
5. UX design
The internet continues to grow as the main source for consumers to find information and products. While it’s important for companies to host a website so that consumers can find them and their products, it doesn’t matter unless they can keep consumers on their site.
User experience (UX) design is essential to keeping users on a website. Bad UX design can lead to high bounce rates, which costs companies money. Companies have shifted their focus to UX design in order to stay competitive in the future.
Having UX design skills shows employers that you are invested in ensuring users have a good experience. Companies value this skill and mindset, as it proves to be applicable across the board.
You can start by taking courses that teach you about design and how to use essential design tools. To fully sharpen your UX skills, you’ll have to do research on the users you are targeting, so that you understand what they want.
6. Critical thinking
Companies look for critical thinking skills in their employees because critical thinking indicates the ability to solve both vague and complex problems.
Management can’t always direct your workflow, which means when you run into problems, it’s likely you’ll need to take on the task yourself.
Strong critical thinking skills enable you to find a solution to almost any problem that arises in your daily work. Companies want to know that their workers can handle problems independently, which is why they desire workers with strong critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is a skill that takes self-discipline to further develop. Try thinking “outside of the box” and regularly approach problems from different perspectives. Doing so will help you practice thinking critically about problems and situations.
7. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence has been described in several ways, but to most, it explains a person’s ability to recognize their own emotions and the emotions of others.
A person with strong emotional intelligence understands how to process and regulate their own feelings while being in tune with coworkers’ feelings.
Companies look for emotional intelligence in workers because it signifies strong interpersonal skills. Employees that have strong emotional intelligence will be able to communicate, debate, and disagree without the situation getting out of control.
This is important in every company that wants to host an honest, collaborative working environment.
Emotional intelligence isn’t a skill that can be developed overnight. This soft skill takes time and plenty of attention to your surroundings. Luckily, there are online courses that help you develop your awareness of coworkers’ body language.
Taking the steps to better read and understand the situations you’re in, will help enhance your emotional intelligence.
Communication skills are important for employees at any level within a company to have.
Effective communication is essential to company-wide success. Companies where leaders possess strong communication skills are reportedly making a 47% higher return, compared to competitors with poor communication.
Companies desire employees with effective communication skills, including verbal and written, to increase revenue return rates.
Possessing strong leadership skills means that you know how to effectively motivate and direct others, setting up your entire team for success. Companies look for leadership skills in employees to promote a successful team and organization.
Research has shown that it’s more beneficial for companies to promote internally, rather than hiring externally. This means that when it comes to leadership opportunities, companies are more likely to promote their employees to those positions.
No matter what skill you have learnt, you need marketing skills to be heard and known if you must become relevent. Rememeber, no one I mean absoluetely no one hires a silent expert.
Marketers are constantly listening, looking for ways to maximize opportunities, leverage relationships, and connect to people. And while anyone can be a good listener, doing so as a marketer requires a fair amount of analysis—it’s an active process, not a passive one. By being trained in customer analysis, focus groups, and audience alignment, you’ll start to learn how to really listen to what your stakeholders want—and that’s a good thing no matter what you do.
Start securing your future
As technology continues to advance and develop, it’s important to consider what skills you’ll need to stay secure in your career.