Skill Sets in Demand

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The type of skills you need for the workforce is becoming more diverse and demanding for jobseekers, the days of a “job for life” are gone, and changing jobs every few years is much more common, so we have to prepare to keep our skills fresh based on what employers want as the job market evolves. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and it can be frightening to wonder where that English lit, psychology or anthropology degree will take you. Journalists now need to almost be experts at personal branding and social media management in a world where they were once known for their working-class, hard-drinking culture chasing down leads before deadlines. And it’s not just the liberal arts who are finding this transition difficult, STEM subjects, once thought of as the socially awkward nerdy rich kids of the DotCom era are facing demands to have better “soft skills” like communication, and emotional intelligence. The tech industry will continue to shape the future, create jobs, and generate revenue, so this will be an area people want to focus on. But what else is on the table, and what do employers want?

Outer Audio is a leading authority on audio tech and they search high and low to provide users with professional opinions of gear, but Outer Audio does much more than just review, it is a business much like any other with multiple components to bring readers a full offering to better help satisfy their needs. This list is kindly provided to show the current skills demanded in the workforce to better help you prepare for your future. 

Data Analysis

An interesting approach to job market skills was taken by Bentley University, a Massachusetts business school. They looked at trends in job advertisements to see what skills were being requested in applications, and one stood out: data analysis. IT sector job postings requesting data analysis skills increased a massive 3,977% from 2011 to 2016, and with an average salary coming in at over $120,000 it might be advisable to get your analytical brain working. This skill set is also increasingly being sought out in HR and marketing departments as it transfers into other areas of management.

Mobile App Development

As long as we are glued to our smartphones, there will be a market in apps to keep our attention. The demand for developers is predicted to soar higher and higher. To be competitive this means being fluent in Python, Swift, Java, HTML and basically every other mainstream computer language you can get your hands on. But be careful, once some skills become so common, like Word or Excel, employers will simply assume you know them.  As “digital natives’ have entered the workforce, demand for social media specialists has dropped because employers expect their young, dynamic workforce to have been active users of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook etc for years.

Cyber Security

Instagram, Facebook, T-Mobile, and even the British National Health System are a small sample of some of the companies that have suffered major hackings where the private data of customers and clients has been leaked to the black market. The WannaCry ransomware targeted computers in over 150 countries and was a global wakeup call to the dangers of large scale hacks. Cybersecurity is now an absolutely booming job market with particularly lucrative contracts offered by state departments and multinational companies. The jobs can be as exciting as combatting e-terrorism, or as mundane as firewalling corporate accounts. But rest assured, this is a skill set that will not lose its importance over the coming years as even governments have been harnessing the power of cyber-attacks as a form of non-conventional warfare.

Language

Computer languages are just a new type of language needed, but old-school French, Spanish, and Chinese are still needed to be extra competitive. If you really want to exceed, think of what languages you might want to be learning, if you’re reading this then you probably have English ticked off the list. Official UN languages target some of the largest populations of speakers in the world and are incredibly valuable for a wide range of diplomatic, writing, engineering, humanitarian and business careers. It might be a good idea to look to the rising BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nations and consider how far some fluency could take you in these emerging markets. If you’re looking to get some experience abroad many jobs will require you to speak at least two languages, and “Spanglish” is not widely accepted on job boards!

Critical Thinking

Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of computer science at Harvard. But some liberal arts courses would have helped him expand his awareness of the social impact of his company. Other companies are learning from PR scandals and criticisms of algorithmic bias and responding by hiring social science and humanities graduates with backgrounds in sociology or more niche critical race theory and literature that teach students to think from multiple perspectives. Engineers think “how can I make this product work”, while critical thinkers ask “what unknown effect will this have on us”. As for now, critical thinking is a skill set that resists automation, computers simply can’t think as abstractly as us …yet.

In the end, some jobs are about selling yourself, know how to present your skillset in a way that employers want. A summer you spent laying brick or telemarketing can be presented as resilience. All those dumb Youtube videos you made for fun are production and editing skills. The demand for some skills and the access they grant might surprise you. The much-desired Australian visa has a special category to deal with their shortage of skilled barbers and hairdressers because people will always need haircuts! One thing is sure though, in today’s job market, employers are no longer looking for a single skilled candidate who can do the exact job description, jobseekers are expected to offer a holistic skill set that is both personable and professional, and one skill that will get you further than any is likeability. Bosses will hire people they think they’d like to work with, so make sure to enjoy life, have fun, and build up those social skills. Life is for living, but all those hobbies and contacts will also give you a boost in the job market.

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