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20 Skills in Demand in Today's Workforce

February 14, 2020

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The job market is constantly changing and technology-driven careers are becoming more and more popular. No matter what field you choose, having certain career skills can increase your likelihood of success. Determining which skills are most in-demand can be helpful as you select a career path. In this article, we will review some of the most valuable modern skills to develop while searching for a job.

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Top skills in demand in the workforce

To push your career forward, you will need to pursue in-demand skills to expand your knowledge and capabilities and to set yourself apart from other candidates. To help you remain a competitive job candidate, here are some of the most in-demand skills you should look to develop:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Artificial intelligence
  3. Sales leadership
  4. Analysis
  5. Translation
  6. Mobile app development
  7. People management
  8. Video production
  9. Audio production
  10. UX design
  11. SEO/SEM marketing
  12. Blockchain
  13. Industrial design
  14. Creativity
  15. Collaboration
  16. Adaptability
  17. Time management
  18. Persuasion
  19. Digital journalism
  20. Animation

1. Cloud computing

Skills in cloud computing are in great demand due to the increasing number of companies moving business functions to the cloud—the global network of remote servers. Cloud engineers are the people responsible for developing and managing these cloud computing systems so end users can easily store files and back up their data.

Cloud computing requires technical skills to perform migrations, as well as the ability to negotiate terms with the cloud service providers, ensure data security and implement best practices throughout the process.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

2. Artificial intelligence

Due to the growing number of companies that want to streamline their workflows and derive insightful data while minimizing costs, experts in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are in high demand. These professionals usually handle the development of AI. They build, test and implement AI models, as well as maintain the organization’s underlying AI infrastructure. If you want to develop these skills, you’ll need a strong foundation in software design, statistics, coding, engineering and similar fields.

3. Sales leadership

Sales is ultimately what keeps most companies profitable, which means having sales leadership experience will give you opportunities in many different industries. Sales leadership is the ability to close business deals and coach others. Outstanding sales leaders are strategic, looking at the overall view of an issue and identifying patterns to be improved or areas of opportunity to boost revenue. Key characteristics of high-performing sales leaders include excellent communication skills, the ability to motivate, a drive to achieve results and skills in coaching and team building.

4. Analysis

Companies look for employees who are great at investigating a problem and finding the ideal solution in an efficient and timely manner. That’s why people with strong analytical skills are in high demand in many industries. Analytical skills refer to your ability to understand and analyze a problem or situation and make a decision about what actions to take next. Developing this skill not only helps improve your work but also helps you achieve company goals.

You may already use analytical skills in your day-to-day work. Brainstorming, detecting patterns, interpreting data, observing, theorizing, integrating new information and making decisions based on multiple factors and options available all require the use of analytical skills.

Related: Analytical Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Translation

With more companies creating localized content for global markets, you can find an increasing number of work opportunities as a translator. If you want to become a successful translator, you will need to be fluent in both the language you’re translating from and the language you’re translating to. You must also be familiar with the cultural differences between the country or countries in which the source language and the target language are spoken. One way to accelerate your translation skill is to spend time or live in a country that uses the language in which you plan to translate to.

6. Mobile app development

The industry for mobile application development continues to grow as mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets become the center of communication and work. Business and technological development have emerged at an impressive pace, resulting in an increased demand for people with experience in app development.

Mobile app development is a set of processes and procedures involving programming and creating applications or software designed for fast-operating mobile devices. If you want to learn how to develop a mobile app, you’ll need a few specific skills, such as coding and light graphic design. Because mobile apps are so common, you can find plenty of tutorials or guides for app creation. You can check out coding boot camps to start your app development skills.

7. People management

Strong people management skills are about building and strengthening relationships, keeping the team on track, giving the right motivation, understanding the needs of a person on your team and helping others achieve their goals.

People management includes the use of both hard and soft skills. If you haven’t been in a management position before but are looking to enter one, try to focus on improving the softer sides of the skill, such as dealing with work stress, clear communication and empathizing with your team. Developing these skills will help you demonstrate that you can successfully manage a team.

Related: Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

8. Video production

The ability to record, edit and produce a video is a valuable modern skill. While video production usually requires a more in-depth education, you don’t have to go back to college to learn the basics. You can learn video editing at home with a camera, a computer, a good microphone and video editing software. Many professionals use paid applications, but you can also choose from a number of free programs if you’re just starting out.

9. Audio production

Similar to video, audio production is becoming a more valuable skill in a wide variety of fields. While radio, music and entertainment are the most common industries that utilize audio production skills, you may also find jobs in large companies that produce their own marketing materials and advertisements. While audio production usually requires a lot of training, there are many online resources that can help you learn the basics. You will need a computer, a good microphone and software for recording and editing to get started.

10. UX design

User experience design is the key to making a digital world work for people. You can find an increasing number of growth opportunities in this field. Getting into this promising industry requires the right skills and training to meet increasing business demands. If you want to gain an advantage when developing your UX design skills, you can enroll in an online degree program, follow UX experts or build a network.

11. SEO/SEM marketing

Many companies are realizing the importance of digital marketing and are regularly looking for people with strong search engine optimization marketing skills to increase their company’s visibility and web presence. This tech skill is in great demand for obvious reasons: increased visibility means more site traffic, and more site traffic leads to increased conversions, customers and revenue.

12. Blockchain

Companies of all types and sizes are increasingly leveraging blockchain—the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies like bitcoin—to reduce costs, cash flow discrepancies and transaction processing time. Blockchain helps companies to coordinate with each other and make transactions smoothly without interference from banks and other financial institutions.

13. Industrial design

Industrial design is the professional practice of designing products, such as cars and smartphones, used by millions of consumers around the world. Most products undergo multiple design iterations before they reach the market. These product iterations typically involve several decisions on design and function. Employers usually need the skills of an industrial designer during these steps. Industrial designers focus on the functionality and appearance of a product, though they are usually involved in far more during the development process.

14. Creativity

Creativity is one of the important skills you can develop in the workplace. Being creative means you have the ability to devise new ways to perform tasks, meet challenges and solve problems. This way of thinking can help companies move in more productive directions. Thus, creative employees are extremely valuable to a company.

You can develop creative thinking skills through recreation, being aware of your assumptions and solving riddles. Recreational activities include anything relaxing and unstructured, such as walking or reading. If you know a highly creative person, try to ask them for an informational interview, or ask to shadow them at their job for a couple of days. This can help you learn to be more creative yourself.

Related: 10 Jobs That Require Creative Thinking Skills

15. Collaboration

Almost every type of job requires at least some level of teamwork at certain points. This makes collaboration an extremely important skill in most sectors of the professional world. Collaboration refers to working with others in order to produce or create something. This skill allows you to engage with others efficiently and productively.

Building collaboration means building trust. People who are effective at building trust know how to understand a variety of viewpoints, manage priorities from everyone on the team and quickly meet expectations as a reliable member of a team. Successful collaboration entails mutual respect and cooperative spirit. Companies usually look for employees that work effectively as part of a team and are willing to balance personal achievement with the team’s goals.

16. Adaptability

Adaptability is important because as technology continues to advance, companies that embrace new processes can often stay competitive in their industry. Companies are seeking employees who can show strong adaptability skills and become company leaders.

Adaptability means being able to change in order to achieve success. Employees in a leadership role usually have to manage unusual situations where there are no explicit instructions. They must learn how to rely on their own judgment and be confident to make difficult decisions. If you are a person who learns quickly, it means you know how to adapt. You can improve your adaptability skills by trying new things or practicing your ability to solve problems in various circumstances.

17. Time management

Like other soft skills, time management skills—such as prioritizing, scheduling, task management and delegation—are in high demand. Time management means working efficiently. Companies in every industry look for employees that can make the most of the time available to them on the job.

If you can manage your time well, you may find it easier to be more productive and more likely to finish your projects by the deadline. Developing time management skills will help you focus on time-sensitive tasks and reduce wasted time.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

18. Persuasion

Persuasion in the workplace entails convincing others to agree to a commitment, to follow a course of action or to purchase a product or service. Companies especially value persuasive skills in their employees because they can greatly influence several aspects of the workplace, which can help increase productivity.

While persuasion is often an innate personality trait, it can certainly be improved with the right training. You can participate in sales programs that offer on-the-job training that help you perfect your powers of persuasion.

19. Digital journalism

Digital journalism skills are in high demand for many roles that previously required a person to understand conventional reporting skills such as writing, interviewing and researching. While journalists are still required to research and report stories, they will need to deliver updates via social media, as well as capturing and editing photos and videos before, during and after filing news reports.

20. Animation

Demand for animators is increasing due to the growing need for visual effects in television, movies, video games and online outlets. Animation skills are most commonly required for creative and technical occupations, such as computer software engineers, multimedia artists, graphic designers and web developers.

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