You already know the value and importance of learning new skills, and this is becoming more important every day. But do you know the most in-demand skills that companies are looking for? Whether you’re thinking of making a career change or looking to learn and develop new skills to level up in your current career path, here are the most in-demand skills that employers are looking for today, according to LinkedIn trends and research.
The Most In-Demand Skills Right Now Are…
If blockchain seems like a dark art to you then you’re not the only one! it’s certainly one of the newer technologies out there and since it’s so heavily in demand, and with a skills shortage in it, blockchain is something worth getting to know.
So what exactly is blockchain?
Here’s an overview to get you started.
Blockchain is a Distributed, Ledger Technology (DLT). It’s a public electronic ledger where information can be shared between any number of parties, with each transaction being recorded, unchangeable, and connected from one to the next. What this means is that, rather than being any one thing, it’s an architectural principle. Put simply, it’s a way of recording transactions or actions in a process. Whatever that process may be. The powerful part is that every transaction that takes place is automatically recorded, and can’t be undone, amended, or changed in any way. And every transaction that takes place is linked to the one before it, with each completed transaction creating a “block” hence the name.
Here’s a video explanation:
Why is it important?
So why is all this important and why are blockchain skills so in demand?
The fact is, every business has lots of processes, and some of these processes are highly complexed. They involve a lot of people, are highly manual and administrative, and therefore take up a lot of time. Something that’s always in short supply. Not only this, the more human intervention there is in any given process the more room for error there is. Finally, human intervention and a large paper trail also means that processes are open to not just error, but manipulation
Blockchain addresses all these common process challenges.
The fact that actions are time-stamped and recorded in a way that can’t be undone or changed means accurate, real-time tracking. This removes the potential for error or manipulation.
Since the system is shared between all parties, with everyone having visibility of everything, this means that processes requiring lots of sign-offs, reviews, and approvals, can happen significantly faster.
And since these processes and the parties sharing the process can be in different organizations, there are lots of varied potential applications for the technology.
Examples of blockchain applications:
Some examples of how companies in different industries are using blockchain include:
- Wallmart– using blockchain within its supply chain to track produce from farm to table. This is becoming more and more important with consumers wanting to know where their food comes from.
- DeBeers – Using blockchain within its supply chain to track diamonds for authenticity and to ensure they are not from areas of exploitation
- Maersk is piloting a blockchain-based cargo tracking system since the shipping of goods involves many inspections and sign-offs
- JP Morgan-Finally, JP Morgan has created one of the largest blockchain payments networks, the Interbank Information Network (IIN), which was created to reduce the number of parties needed to respond to compliance and other related queries.
Each of these examples is in a completely different industry and many other industries are starting to invest in blockchain for the long term so the need for blockchain skills will likely only increase in the long run.
While it’s still in the early stages, and no one can foresee the future, learning these skills will likely equip you for in-demand, highly paid jobs now and in the future, as others come on board.
For a more detailed read on blockchain check out this article on Computerworld.com
2. Cloud Computing
What is it?
Cloud computing is something that you’ve probably made use of at some point. It’s the delivery of different services through the Internet. This includes tools and applications like data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software. Put another way, it’s the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer ( Definition from Oxford Languages).
Because the services are provided over the internet, it makes them available on-demand and from anywhere, since they’re not kept on a local device.
There are three types of cloud computing services available. These are – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Why is Cloud Computing important?
There are lots of benefits to using cloud computing services. These include:
- Possible cost reduction- since you might no longer need to manage some of these IT systems
- Business continuity- if anything happens and everyone has to work from another place, everyone can still access what they need from anywhere
- Better collaboration- Lots of business collaboration tools are cloud-based which makes them more efficient, examples include Google Drive, Basecamp, monday.com, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Asana, and many others.
- The flexibility of work practices
- Quick and automatic updates
- And this list is by no means exhaustive. Companies can benefit from cloud-based services and therefore cloud computing in many different ways. What’s more, there are three models of cloud computing which companies can take advantage of, and many use all three.
The 3 Cloud Computing Models:
Public Cloud – A public cloud environment is owned by an outsourced cloud provider and is accessible to many businesses through the internet on a pay-per-use model.
Private Cloud – Larger companies will often have some of their It within a Private cloud. This cloud deployment model is a bespoke infrastructure owned by a single business. It offers a more controlled environment.
Hybrid Cloud – Uses a combination of public and private clouds.
Each cloud deployment model has advantages and disadvantages. While the public cloud model can be more cost-effective, easy to manage, and reliable, it might not provide the level of security and control a company’s looking for. On the flip side, there might be more control in the private model, but you’d also need more people with the relevant skills to manage it.
You can see why the demand for cloud computing skills is increasing. Find out even more in this article by Leading Edge Tech.
3. Analytical Reasoning
What is Analytical Reasoning?
Analytical reasoning is the ability to look at information, be it qualitative or quantitative in nature, apply logic, and identify patterns within the information.
In an interview or test situation, Analytical Reasoning (AR) questions are designed to assess your ability to consider a group of facts and rules, and, given those facts and rules, determine what could or must be true.
Why is it important?
What makes analytical reasoning skills so critical and desirable is that having these skills means you have the ability to solve problems. And all every business has problems that they need their teams to solve.
Of course, some jobs require more problem-solving skills than others.
Examples of jobs requiring highly developed analytical reasoning skills include:
- Business Analysts
- Computer Programmer
As you can see the list is varied and spans many industries, and this list could definitely go on! There are lot’s more great jobs for problem solvers according to this article from Business Insider
4. Artificial intelligence
Next up on the list of the most in-demand skills right now is Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI.
So what is AI?
If you use Google Assistant, Microsofts Cortana, Alexa, or Siri, then you’re working with AI.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart”. AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform human-like tasks.
AI is often confused with Machine learning. According to an article in Forbes, Machine Learning has evolved from AI and is the current application of AI, based around the idea that we should give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.
This video from Accenture explains more about Machine learning:
Why is AI important?
There are lots of ways businesses can benefit from AI. According to a survey by Deloitte of 250 Executives the most cited benefits of AI in Business were as follows:
- Enhance the features, functions, and performance of our products
- Optimize internal business operations
- Free up workers to be more creative by automating tasks
- Make better decisions
- Create new products
- Optimize external processes like Marketing and sales
- Pursue new markets
- Capture and Apply scarce knowledge where needed
- Reduce Headcount through automation
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It might be surprising to see that reducing headcount was at the bottom of the list of expected benefits.
Another area where the use of AI is fast growing is E-commerce. According to Juniper Research, retailer spending on AI is set to grow to $7.3billion by 2022, another sign that the need for the skill is set to rise.
The Most In-Demand Skills Right Now
5. UX Design
Another skill that’s highly sought after by employers today is UX Design or User Experience Design.
What is UX Design and what do UX Designers do?
User Experience Design is about creating the best possible experience for users of all types of technical interfaces. Its focus is on the interaction between human users and everyday products and services. These could be websites, apps, and even coffee machines. This makes the applications highly varied, although, for most of us, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of UX designers is websites and Apps.
So what exactly does a UX designer do?
UX Designers work as part of a multidisciplinary team. They’re usually focused on activities such as :
- Conducting user research
- Creating user personas
- Determining the information architecture of a digital product
- Designing user flows and wireframes
- Creating prototypes
- Conducting user testing
Why is UX Design important and so in-demand?
Have you ever been on a clunky website, where nothing seemed to make sense or flow in terms of getting to where you wanted? That’s an example of when UX Design isn’t done well.
Ultimately UX Designers improve customer experience, and given how important this is, this is what makes it so good for business. making it an excellent career path and skill to learn.
Here’s a great video from Career Foundry that explains UX Design in detail as well as the difference between UX and UI Design.
6. Business Analysis
What is it and what do BA’s do?
Business Analysts help improve processes, products, services, and software through data analysis. They are the bridge between IT and the business by assessing processes, determining requirements, and delivering data-driven recommendations and reports to executives and stakeholders that help drive decisions.
Business Analysts (BAs) must have excellent interpersonal skills since a key part of the role involves not just working with leaders, but also users, to understand and evaluate how any data-driven changes to processes, products, services, software, and hardware can improve efficiencies and add value while balancing this with costs and functional feasibility.
According to Robert Half, the typical responsibilities of a Business Analyst will include (From CIO):
- Creating a detailed business analysis, outlining problems, opportunities, and solutions for a business
- Budgeting and forecasting
- Planning and monitoring
- Variance analysis
- Defining business requirements and reporting them back to stakeholders
What About Pay?
According to PayScale, the average salary for an IT Business Analyst in the United States is $68,994. In the UK the average salary according to PayScale is £35,714. In both cases, these salaries are median.
Image Source- PayScale
What is the highest salary a Business Analyst could earn?
You might be looking at the salaries and wondering what’s the highest you can earn as a Business Analyst? Well, these figures are for permanent salaries only. One of the perks of having the most in-demand skills is that you have many options when it comes to how you work and how you use your skills. Lots of people with these in-demand skills, Business Analysts included, will often work as contractors. In the UK this means that they operate as a limited company and are paid on a daily rate, and this could be anything from £350 per day – £600per day. So there’s definitely the opportunity to make good money, even if it’s not on a salaried basis.
Why is Business Analysis important?
While a large part of the role of a BA involves communicating with many parties during requirements gathering and analyzing data, and identifying and prioritizing technical and functional requirements, one of the critical elements of the role is making recommendations based on findings, hence, BAs play a key role in strategic business decisions and change.
In fact, according to this article in CIO the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), a nonprofit professional association, has described the business analyst as “an agent of change,” writing that business analysis “is a disciplined approach for introducing and managing change to organizations, whether they are for-profit businesses, governments, or non-profits.”
7. Affiliate Marketing
What is Affiliate Marketing?
You’ve probably heard of many of the most in-demand skills listed so far, but are you familiar with affiliate marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is the marketing of products or services of one company by another. In this model, a business will reward its affiliates, which could be one or many, for any referred customers, visitors, or sales generated from the affiliate’s own marketing.
Put another way, as an affiliate marketer, you would promote the products or services of another company and make a commission for any customers that bought having come through you.
So it’s a win-win. The affiliate partner can sell a product or service without having to create their own, and the company can increase its reach and sales through its affiliates without having to hire and manage a huge salesforce.
The model is well known and common in the online business space and is how lots of people get started with making money online. For example, Amazon has an affiliate partnership program called Amazon Associates, by placing links to Amazon products on your site, you can make money when readers of your blog purchase the products you recommend via your links.
Here’s a nice summary of how affiliate marketing works from Thirsty Affiliates.
Why it’s important:
E-Commence is huge and growing by the day. Companies are therefore increasing their online marketing efforts, and companies who might not have an online presence are moving online. With that, there’s a need for companies to market their products to potential customers online, and that’s where Affiliate marketing can come in.
As a marketing channel, affiliate marketing has some great benefits:
It can reduce costs of advertising since affiliates are only paid on performance
It can be easily tracked and measured which is critical for keeping tags on ROI ( That’s the return on investment, which every business cares about)
And it can increase brand awareness by making new audiences aware of your brand via the affiliate’s audiences.
To go deeper into the world of affiliate marketing check out Affiliate Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide, by Neil Patel and another amazing place to learn about affiliate marketing, is from Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income, especially if you’re thinking of starting a business and want to make money from affiliate marketing.
Of all the in-demand skills on the list, sales skills are something we’re all aware of. Every business wants to make more sales. And good Salespeople get rewarded s such.
We don’t need to think too hard about why sales skills are so in demand. A business without sales will soon die and so, hiring great salespeople is critical to the success of any business.
The thing is, great salespeople are hard to come by. One of the reasons for this is that since Salespeople bring in money, literally, any business with a good sales team will do everything to keep them, making it hard for companies to hire.
What is Scientific Computing?
Scientific computing, also known as Computational Science, is a rapidly growing multi- and interdisciplinary field that uses advanced computing and data analysis to understand and solve complex problems. (Journal of Computational Science, Elsevier)
According to MathWorks, scientific computing uses computational methods to solve science and engineering problems. The modeling of natural systems using numerical simulation is an important area of focus within scientific computing. These models are often computationally intensive and require high-performance computing resources.
To you and me, this means that scientific computing can be used as a way to simulate real-life complex systems and environments and then test solutions and scenarios within them.
Why is it important?
The fields of science and engineering have plenty of complex problems that need to be solved. For example, in medicine, or Biochemistry, you’re dealing with the human body, one of the most complex environments out there.
It’s no wonder that Biomedical Science is a key focus area of research within scientific computing at Yale University, as this article explains.
Just think of all the trials and tests that new drugs must go through as an example, could scientific computing reduce or even remove the need for these in the future?
Ultimately, testing products is a big cost to companies and scientific computing could significantly reduce these costs, which makes it such a desirable and in-demand skill in 2020 and beyond.
What is video production?
Did you stop to watch the video above? Or in fact any of the videos in this post so far? If so, then this leads us nicely onto the final skill in the list of the most in-demand skills right now – video production. It’s not hard to see that video has taken off and with that, there’s an ever-increasing demand for people who are skilled at creating great videos.
Video production is the skill of creating video content from start to finish. It involved 3 stages:
Pre-production: The pre-production phase involves coming up with ideas, storyboarding, writing, and scripting. In other words, this is stage is all about planning.
Production: Then comes the production stage. This is where the actual filming takes place
Post-production: Finally, in the post-production stage, this is where all the editing takes place and anything else that needs to happen before the video goes live and is complete.
You might be wondering what the difference is between film production and video production if anything.
While in the past, the key difference was that video production involved recording videos digitally while fit production used film stock, today, there are digitally-produced films. The main difference between video and film production now is in the timescales and resources required to produce each one.
Films tend to be much longer and involve a much larger “crew” of people. And if you’ve ever waited for the release of a sequel then you know that fits can take years to produce.
Video production on the other hand can involve as few as one person, takes much less time to and the videos are often much shorter than the length of a film.
Why is video production important?
So what makes video production such an in-demand skill and why is it important?
To answer that question, you only have to look around you. A quick scroll through any social media feeds and you’ll see videos from companies in every industry. But that’s not all. If you’ve ever been sucked into a Youtube rabbit hole, then you also know how captivating and compelling video is. In short, people take note of videos. People stop and stare, literally.
This is what makes videos so powerful and is why video production is such a highly sought after skill.
Companies of every size, from individual entrepreneurs to global multinationals are using video to catch the attention of their audiences and potential customers.
Videos are also a great way to tell stories, and since we love a good story, people are more likely to pay attention.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that advertising and promotion is the only way that video gets used. If you’ve taken any online training, then you’ve experienced one of the other ways that video is being used. For online, on-demand training courses. This, as well as product launches, in-house training materials, and even recruitment materials, where companies use video as a way to showcase what it’s really like to work there.
These are just a few of the ways that video is being utilized, and there are plenty of other ways as well.
As you can see, from marketing to talent attraction to Learning and Development, there’s a huge scope for anyone with video production skills.
Here are some more great examples of the power of video, and as such, the power of video production skills to enhance your career!
And according to this article in Inc, there’s a lot more to come where video marketing’s concerned, so learning these skills now will put you in a prize position for a long time to come.