Skills can be broadly categorized into two categories namely hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those talents and abilities that can be measured. They are usually specific to a particular job and can be learned through schooling, professional or on-the-job training. These are things that a person is specifically trained for, like a plumber who learns how to fix a leaky pipeline. Examples of hard skills are sales, inventory control, business analysis, etc.
Soft skills on the other hand, are less defined and are not specific to a particular job but are universal. Soft skills are interpersonal skills that help people get along with each other and collaborate. Creativity, adaptability, persuasion are examples of soft skills. We will discuss the most in-demand skills of each type, both hard skills and soft skills separately.
The most in-demand hard skills:
Blockchain: Blockchain programming is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s digital age. Blockchains are new types of databases which store information in a decentralized manner. Data is tracked and stored on a large number of computers across the network leaving no central point of attack for bad hackers. Walmart, Nestle, Unilever all use blockchain technology to track and protect global supply chains.
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Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI programming and design are another one of the most in-demand skills of the 21st century. AI is being used in a wide variety of fields like computing, gaming, defense, customer service, healthcare etc. AI programmers have huge salaries and get to work in some exciting fields.
UX Design: UX or User Experience is a design process that considers a person’s emotions and attitude towards a product. It focuses on utility, ease of use, efficiency and a consumer’s deeper psychological drives and motivation. UX design is suited to people who are tech savvy and have a strong interest in psychology.
Sales: Sales profile is about helping people find what they need or want. It is also about fixing problems, making people’s lives easier and making growth happen. Talented sales people are an essential part of every business. Sometimes sales people get a bad reputation as being predatory opportunists who are willing to bend the truth to increase their commission. But the top salespeople focus on helping current and prospective customers, not exploiting them.
Cloud computing: Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the internet. These resources include tools and applications like data storage, servers, databases, networking, etc. Skills in cloud computing are in great demand due to the increasing number of companies who have moved their business functions to the cloud. Cloud engineers are responsible for developing and managing cloud computing systems so users can easily store files and back up their data.
Business Analysis: Business analysts are highly systematic thinkers with close attention to detail. They are goal oriented and highly conscientious. Business Analysts can perform a wide variety of tasks for their companies. At a call center, they can be tasked with finding ways to cut customer waiting time, or to finding ways to not go over budget while delivering multi-million dollar projects. They are also responsible for implementing new business solutions, and to find ways to create additional value for customers and stakeholders.
Translation: In today’s globalised world, businesses need translators to stay competitive. Along with businesses people with second language skills play an important role in the defense and intelligence services, where they help prevent international conflicts and protect national interests. Translators can also get employed at schools, hospitals, and other public services. Working freelance is another option available to translators where they hire out their time to companies working on short term contracts all over the world.
Industrial design: Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products such as cars, home appliances and toys. They combine art and engineering to make products that people use every day of their lives. It is a field that is expected to grow hugely over the coming years which makes the field very promising. It also has great job security and financial stability.
The most in-demand soft skills:
Problem solving: Companies look for employees who are good at investigating a problem and coming up with a solution. That is why people with strong problem solving skills are in high demand. People who go beyond the job assigned to them and use knowledge, facts and data to solve problems are highly valued by their employers. These are the people who can work through challenges on their own or as effective members of a team by defining issues, finding alternatives and making sound decisions.
Creativity: Creativity is one of the most important skills employers are looking for in their employees these days. People who can think out of the box, who have the ability to devise new ways to perform a task are highly valued by their employers. Creative workers are the ones who ask why. Their curiosity is what allows them to develop new ideas and solutions.
Communication: Good communications skills are absolutely necessary to succeed at most career options. Everyone will need strong written as well as verbal communication at some point in their career to sell others on their ideas, products or services. Whether it is at the time of promotion where an employee has to explain his or her worth to their employers or whether it is while doing a presentation as part of a team project, communication skills are paramount.
Resilience: Setbacks and failures are a part of life but how a person deals with those failures is what is crucial. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures. Being resilient means not focusing on the ups and downs but staying focused on the long term goals and objectives. Resilient employees also handle stress better.
Collaboration: Given the increasingly global nature of work, how an employee collaborates with other employees, shares knowledge and contributes to teams is absolutely vital for businesses today. Employees are no longer expected to work as individuals but as a collective whole so that the teams can benefit from diversity of thinking and perspectives in ways that benefit everyone.
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