10 New Skills You Can Learn in 6 Months. Broken into Tech Skills; non-Tech Skills and a Bonus feature
Skills are the new currency of the professional world. In this fast-changing environment where new technologies are taking over and consumer behavior is changing rapidly, skills help everyone stay ahead of the curve. Whether you are planning to enter the workforce, are new to the workforce, or have been there a while – there are skills for you to learn.
Skills are the abilities that let you do a particular job well. Learning new skills opens new opportunities for you and makes you more confident to do your job better. Skills also create an environment where you can switch from one job to another – several times at a higher tier – because you have learned to handle complexity.
New skills give you new chances. This is true whether you are just starting your career or are re-inventing or rejuvenating it. Learning new skills can help you improve your career prospects or help you to do a better job irrespective of if you are employed, are self-employed, or are a gig worker. In this article, we share 10 tech and non-tech skills that you can learn in under 6 months and expand your experience to earn more money and respect.
Tech Skill #1: Data Science
You’ve heard this before “Data is the new oil”.
As per the World Economic Forum “The amount of data in the world was estimated to be 44 zettabytes at the dawn of 2020” (There are 21 zeroes in zettabyte)
Whether it’s traditional industries or new age industries the data usage for everyone is shooting up massively. This is where a data scientist comes in and makes sense of both structured as well as unstructured data. A data scientist can help an organization find the answers to the most complex problems by combining statistics, analytics, maths, computer science, and business sense.
As per QuantHub, there were 3X job postings versus job searches for data scientists.
Tech Skill #2: Artificial Intelligence
You have seen enough Artificial Intelligence around you. Whether it’s the voice assistant in your phone, the Tesla self-driving car, that drone that avoids objects – everything uses Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is a branch of computer science that emulates the process of thinking in machines.
Those working in the field of AI develop computer systems that mimic the human thinking process by using algorithms. One needs coding knowledge and hands-on experience in computer languages to be able to work in the area of AI.
As per Livemint, 65% of AI professionals in India have transitioned to their current role from other fields in the last 2 years and the number of jobs have trebled.
Tech Skill #3: Machine Learning
Machine Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence, well sort-of. Artificial Intelligence is the science of emulating the process of thinking in machines. Machine learning is the science of improving this learning process in an autonomous fashion.
A good example is most camera or photo tools identifying a face from an image. It is machine learning and training the machine (the algorithm) to do this job and keep bettering its performance on its own. The more data that you feed the machine the more it learns. A machine learning expert helps define and refine this algorithm.
Those working in the area of Machine Learning need to have excellent math, computer science fundamentals, programming, and logic.
As per the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Survey 2020, AI and Machine Learning Specialists stood at #2 on the leaderboard by increasing job demand.
Tech Skill #4: Cyber Security
Cyber Security is now more important than ever. As per a study by Clark School at the University of Maryland hackers attack a computer every 39 seconds on an average. With remote working and increased online activity cybersecurity assumes an even greater significance in the scheme of things.
Cybersecurity is the method of defending and restoring computer systems, networks, other computing devices, and programs from cyberattacks. As attackers use new methods driven by social engineering and artificial intelligence to bypass conventional security controls, cyber attacks are becoming a more sophisticated and emerging threat to your sensitive data.
As per New York Times, there is a cybersecurity Ventures’ prediction that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014.
Tech Skill #5: Cloud Computing
Simply put, cloud computing is moving infrastructure – such as servers, storage, database, computing – to a shared infrastructure instead of having them on the premise of the company. The “cloud” is infrastructure available over the internet and allows companies to move faster and focus on innovation rather than focussing on setting up infrastructure.
Additionally, the cloud brings many other advantages to companies including economies of scale and other services such as analytics, intelligence, and the ability to scale on demand. The cloud is a big enabler of the modern economy and most new-age companies run on the cloud.
CRN reports that as per Indeed data, from March 2018 to March 2021, the share of cloud computing jobs per million increased by a whopping 42 percent.
Tech Skill #6: UI/UX Design
UX design refers to the term “user experience design”, while UI stands for “user interface design”. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together.
UX Design deals with designing the interactions of a user/customer with the product/service of a company right from the discovery to the entire customer journey. With the internet age, the need for a defining digital UX is transforming the needs of the industry and increasing the demand for UX designers.
UI design deals with designing the interaction between the user and the actual device such as a smartphone or other touchscreen. Traditionally, UI design has dealt with physical devices but now customer interaction has changed and with the advent of voice assistants like Alexa, shopping is done using voice commands, and the invention of Amazon’s self-checkout stores are changing the dynamics too. With this the lines between UX and UI are blurring.
UX Design was rated #24 on 50 Best Jobs in America for 2021, by Glassdoor.
Tech Skill #7: Mobile App Development
As per app annie, Mobile adoption boomed in 2020 and advanced by 2 – 3 years in a period of 12 months. With 218 Bn downloads and 3.5 Tn hours spent – we can safely agree that.
Mobility has completely transformed our lives. Whether its the alarm clock, a fitness app, office productivity, entertainment, shopping, or sleep tracking – our day revolves around the mobile. The industry is also rapidly moving with trends such as apps for wearables and foldables. While there are several platforms iOS and Android dominate the market.
Mobile app development is going to remain a big area for times to come. Mobile app daily says that “The demand for the number of developers is expected to increase from 17% to 24% by the year 2026.” Businesses around the world are struggling to hire and retain high-quality app development talent and there is a war for talent.
Tech Skill # 8: Product Management
As per Lenny Rachitsky, The role of product manager (PM) is the most fascinating role within tech teams right now. PMs are closest to the center of the action, have a disproportionate amount of influence over key decisions, and often go on to start their own companies.
Some people even address the role of a PM as a mini-CEO. However, it’s not an easy role given that it’s typically an individual contributor role and it’s not reporting but the influence that helps a PM get the work done.
A PM is responsible for growth/traction and designs/conceptualizes the features that UX/UI and coding teams have to deliver. The product manager has to conceptualize user needs and deliver winning features.
There is no wonder that product board says that “We are in the Golden Age of Product Management” and that the demand for product management roles in the US outpaces the average increase in demand for other roles in the US by 5x.
Tech Skill #9: Coding
We live in a digital world. Every device that we use; whether it’s our phone or our car or that device at our home uses computer code. As a result, coding skills, or computer programming, are becoming a core skill for high-demand and well-paying jobs. Coding skills are required across industries and have become one of the fundamental literacy skills of the 21st Century.
Berkeley has put out a good list of the most in-demand programming languages for 2021. Coding is also a skill set that allows for remote working the most. So, if your interest is to work from a location of your choice, earn big bucks, and create impact – coding could be a good choice for you.
Tech Skill #10: Blockchain
Blockchain technology is fundamentally transforming how business, commerce, and other transactions take place. Its fundamentals include security, transparency, speed, and traceability. Blockchain is basically a distributed ledger that is highly auditable and leaves no room for ambiguity. There is a discussion on using it for age-old use cases like maintaining land records to allow for no fudging and hence create protection.
According to Upwork’s skills index, blockchain is the fastest-growing expertise among the site’s more than 5,000. At the moment, demand significantly outstrips supply.
Blockchain is transforming many industries including Banking, Finance, Internet Identity, CryptoCurrency, Education, and many more.
Non-Tech Skill #1: Project Management
As per PMI – which is the definitive source of all things Project ManagemenThe project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is predicted to rise by 33%, or almost 22 million new employment, through 2027. Employers will require roughly 88 million project management-related workers by 2027. China and India will account for more than 75% of overall project management-related employment.
Project managers are in the driving seat and oversee the entire project. They perform key tasks that make the project successful. PMs have a leadership task at hand and drive many individuals, teams for achieving key objectives for the company’s success. Often the most complex projects are assigned to project managers and they are supposed to follow a project management toolkit to drive the project and report progress to the senior most stakeholders.
Non-Tech Skill #2: Online Marketing
There is a steep rise in demand for marketers with digital skills. With shifting consumer behavior brands have repositioned their marketing spend and increased reliance on digital channels, which has, in turn, had a massive impact on the jobs market.
With rising complexity, newer channels, increasing spend the digital marketeer’s job is in demand and companies are looking for specialist skillsets who can manage a large budget and drive revenue growth and cost efficiency together.
As per arcsncurves the modern marketing skillset needs to be at the intersection of strategic, creative, and technical skills.
Non-Tech Skill #3 – SEO and/or Google Analytics
Some people list SEO and Analytics as a part of the Digital Marketing stack – it is, but there is huge demand for the skill set and hence it deserves a separate mention. SEO and Analytics are unique skill sets and help companies with getting organic traffic and demand – or in other words, earned traffic.
In the era when digital marketing costs are increasing there is huge scope for SEO. It is the patient way to market as compared to the here and now of paid media. The likely incumbent for this skill set will have good analytical skills plus the right creative mindset to make things happen. There will be a need to learn many bespoke tools beyond Google Analytics as well.
While the statistic is slightly dated but Forbes predicted that the SEO market is worth $80 Bn and hence has a consistent demand for high-quality professionals. Do bear in mind that of all the marketing fields SEO is the one that evolves the most.
Non-Tech Skill #4: Microsoft Excel
The majority of individuals reading this page are presumably familiar with Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets. While this is a fantastic start, there are many powerful hidden features that might make your life a lot easier.
Excel is also a valuable skill to have when seeking work, as many organizations rely on it to organize and manage numerous aspects of their operations. Contrary to popular perception a whole of the world still runs on excel. While a lot of advanced analysis is done on analytics tools excel is still the backbone of everyday analysis.
There are a ton of free resources available online on excel.
“The global economy is built on two things: the internal combustion engine and Microsoft Excel. Never forget this.” — Kevin Hector, Twitter
Non-Tech Skill #5: Data Analysis and Visualization
Data-related jobs are bringing many opportunities and most of the fast-growing jobs did not exist a few years ago – which is giving a leg up to professionals in these areas.
Data Visualization is being used by big and small organizations to recognize factors that are associated or interlinked together and generate useful insights. It can be used to analyze information quickly in a graphical style or to discover trends. Management and external shareholders love the visual representation of data.
Data visualization jobs bring opportunities both for technical and non-technical skill sets and are a growing field.
Non-Tech Skill #6: Low/no-code platforms
if software was eating the world then it is even more true now. In the last few years, there has been a big wave of no-code tools allowing non-coders to enter the market for creating basic websites and applications. People no longer need software and coding background for these.
Some of the no-code platforms have the ability to create complex apps as well by using APIs but mostly no-code/low-code platforms are used for simple apps that connect a couple of things together and represent output in a clean, visually appealing format.
Companies appreciate the digital skills of employees and like to hire go-getters who bring additional skillsets that can improve efficiency. Learning to use no-code platforms is a great first step in that direction. Many people have also created freelancing careers by learning such tools.
Non-Tech Skill #7: Accounting
Accounting is one of the essential fundamentals you’ll need to succeed if you want to start your own business or get into business While you do not need to be an expert, you need at the very least to comprehend the fundamentals. Accounting is an excellent course to take for a variety of reasons. Accounting teaches you skills and knowledge that you can apply to a variety of sectors. In reality, accountants will always be needed as long as there are businesses.
Accounting can also help you keep track of your personal finances and take more control of your life.
In business accounting’s role is to track a company’s finances in its numerous forms credits, debits, receipts, and expenditures. Financial reports generated from this data can be used to drive a company’s immediate and long-term plans.
Non-Tech Skill #8: Investing and Investment Management
As per Mckinsey, $118 Trillion is invested in capital markets around the world. Obviously, it is individuals, firms, and group funds that invest money in the markets. It also means that there is an ever-increasing demand for people to manage that money or help invest others’ money in the market.
Investments are not only growing but also becoming international and global. Investment management is a lucrative career and has bright growth chances. It also gives people many options: including institutional, private, and wealth management. There is value for specialists and in some cases, such as private banking, payouts are extremely high for those working in the field.
Non-Tech Skill #9: Lead Generation/Inside Sales
Sales are what keeps the revenue lines of a company going. No wonder this is an area that has the maximum headcount in a company and with the churn of good salespeople leaving one company for another – there is a constant demand in the market.
Sales careers bring the opportunity for growth and a commission-based structure allows people to control their earning potential. Many sales professionals end up earning bonuses that are more than their fixed salaries.
Non-Tech Skill #10: Talent Sourcing and Acquisition
In today’s hyper-competitive world, talent attraction is becoming a big challenge. Anybody who learns the skills of sourcing and attracting the right talent to their company, teams, or co-workers scores big. An additional benefit of learning these skills including interviewing is that one learns these skills for their own success as well. Knowing the psyche and mindset of a recruiter can go well in your favor while interviewing for jobs.
Bonus Feature: Soft Skills that can help advance your career
Negotiating and Bargaining
This skill can not only help you in your job but can also help you in landing a better salary as well. Business negotiators are increasingly recognizing that the most effective bargainers are adept at both producing and claiming value—that is, they collaborate as well as compete. Knowing skillsets such as BATNA, anchoring, and trade-offs can make you a great negotiator.
People management is a key job in any role. Even Individual contributor roles require people management skills where you need to influence people who you don’t manage. It’s no secret that one of the most crucial soft leadership talents is people management. People management skills influence productivity and efficiency in a company. It helps in managing change and other complexity.
Public speaking skills are a great benefit in many roles and help people succeed, move up the ladder much faster. Communication enables us to connect with others, influence decisions, and encourage change. Without communication abilities, it would be practically impossible to advance in the workplace and in life.
Working in remote teams
The world is becoming remote and teams are distributed around the world, especially after COVID-19. Building the right skills to thrive in this environment will come in handy.
This is again another skill set that can help you get notices and placed in the right job for your caliber. Having a working knowledge of interviewing techniques helps you understand the psyche and mindset of a recruiter and allows you to interview better in your own job search.
Select the top skills that you want to build
You should have a fair idea of what these skills mean by now. You can supplement this information with your own research to choose the top skills that you want to build.
Search for courses
Search for courses or other resources online. You can always start with several free options available online or on youtube.
Commit to building these skills. No pain, no gain.
Create a Plan
You are more likely to succeed if you build a plan that keeps you on track instead of keeping it loose and without any milestones.
Find a buddy
Find a buddy who is in the same situation will keep you motivated and help progress meaningfully in a faster time frame. Have a daily accountability call will keep you tracking.
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