Do You Have These Skills That Employers Want in 2019?
As the job market continues to evolve, so do the skills employers seek in candidates. If you’re in the market for a new job, adding high-demand competencies to your resume can be the difference between your application ending up in the “Interview” stack or the recycling bin.
Skills can be broken down into soft, interpersonal skills such as communication, listening, creativity, problem-solving, and empathy, and hard skills – quantifiable competencies that can be evaluated, such as knowledge of a programming language or the ability to operate a certain machine. Finding the “sweet spot”—skills prized by employers but rare among job applicants—can be a great opportunity to make yourself more competitive in job market.
So, what are the most in-demand skills employers are looking for in 2019? Linkedin Learning examined LinkedIn data to identify skills that hiring companies value most but are struggling to find in applicants. Here’s what they found:
LinkedIn Learning’s Top Three Soft Skills in 2019
The word may evoke fields like art, music, creative writing, or theater. However, creativity is equally as important in corporate environments, construction sites, government agencies, and even military and defense contractors. Creative thinking in the workplace doesn’t mean writing emails in haiku form; it’s about using your mind to challenge the status-quo with the goal of saving your employer time and money. For example, say an organization is using an outdated, manual process that’s costing untold amounts in labor hours. By thinking outside the box to come up with a new process that streamlines or automates steps—helping complete a project or bring a product to market more quickly—your creativity can make a very real impact on the bottom line.
Creativity can also lead to new revenue streams. Say you come up with a radically different design to your employer’s legacy product. If your idea is backed by customer insights and is feasible from a cost perspective, there’s no harm in testing your prototype with customers. Who knows—you may have the next iPhone on your hands! The point is that with business changing at an unprecedented pace, and innovation and disruption becoming the norm, it’s no wonder creativity is valued so highly by employers wanting to ensure their very survival by staying ahead of the curve.
Persuasion was the second-ranked soft skill in LinkedIn Learning’s study, and for good reason. After all, what good are all the creative, high-potential ideas in the world if you’re not able to present them in a way that makes others want to jump on board? Even ideas that are logically sound and backed by data need to be described in a way that overcomes people’s inherent proclivity for the status-quo.
In a piece on persuasive thinking in the workplace, the Houston Chronicle cited a study by Jay Conger, a professor who studies organizational behavior, which found that more so than logic and data, actions are needed to persuade others. The piece then lists Conger’s four steps for convincing others: establish credibility, frame your idea in a way that highlights how it can benefit your audience, be compelling, and use emotion. While no four-step process will help you become a powerful persuader overnight, practicing these steps is a good place to start.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction.” That’s especially true in the workplace. Consider a project team made up of individuals in different roles in an organization—say product development, project management, marketing, operations, and sales. Each of these team members brings to the project their own experience, area of expertise, and understanding of what it will take for the project to succeed from the perspective of their area of the business. In general, teams comprised of a diverse set of people and talents are more productive, solve problems, and generate more creative solutions when compared to working independently. Of course, not every task or project is best accomplished via collaboration. Sometimes working independently can produce results quicker and has more accountability.
LinkedIn Learning’s Top Three Hard Skills in 2019
- Cloud Computing
The explosion of cloud services and solutions continues to grow at a break-neck pace. Forbes Inc cites a prediction from Bain & Company that software-as-a-service (SaaS) will grow at an 18% growth rate by 2020, accounting for a whopping 60 percent of all IT growth. As a result, IT professionals with expertise in cloud stand to benefit immensely. Cloud computing skills include cloud security, cloud migration, monitoring and reporting automation, and familiarity with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers such as AWS or Azure.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
A Brookings report defines AI as “machines that respond to stimulation consistent with traditional responses from humans, given the human capacity for contemplation, judgment, and intention.” AI is thought to have the power to transform not only business, but society at large. And while AI is already reducing the need for some tasks that are better suited for machine learning, the field also promises to create new jobs for humans; in fact, research firm Gartner predicts the AI field will generate 2.3 million new jobs by 2020.
So, what kind of skills do potential employees need to be competitive for these jobs? According to DZone, strong candidates for AI roles generally hold a computer science degree—typically a master’s or even a Ph.D.—and have strong knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and algorithms; expertise in programming languages like Python and C++; command over Unix tools; and efficiency in distributed computing.
- Analytical Reasoning
“Big data” is among the rare buzzwords deserving of their hype. The concept seems simple enough: organizations analyze the wealth of information available to them—internal data, external information, or a combination of the two—to make smarter, more informed business decisions. But while many organizations have ambitious plans for using data to their advantage—85 percent of firms aspire to be data-driven, according to a NewVantage Partners survey—most industries are “nowhere close to realizing the potential of analytics,” according to a Harvard Business Review article. Part of the problem is a shortage of people with the skills necessary to not only crunch the numbers but to interpret and mine them for actionable insights. If you’re looking to enhance your skillset with marketable, value-add skills, it’s hard to go wrong with working on your analytical reasoning chops, such as comparative analysis, inductive and deductive reasoning, and data interpretation. Brushing up on Excel probably wouldn’t hurt either.
If you’re looking to expand your skillset with the skills employers value most in 2019, enrolling in one of the cutting-edge, industry-aligned programs at UTEP Connect can help make you a more attractive candidate for a range of positions and industries. We invite you to explore our online programs and see what it will take to make that next step into your profession. If you are interested in learning more about our team and UTEP Connect’s 100%-online undergraduate, master’s, and graduate certificate programs, reach out. An enrollment counselor will contact you directly.