The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, including the world of work. Many workers are forced to be laid off because the company is having financial difficulties or even bankruptcy.
For those who are currently looking for jobs, it might be time to learn some new skills. Reporting from CNBC Make It, the following skills are must be possessed by workers today according to business executives and education experts.
1. Data Science
Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly, an education company that offers classes in coding, design, data science and business, says the number one skill workers should work on is science of data.
“Coming out of this [pandemic] there’s no doubt that the world is going to become more data-driven,” Jake says. A wide range of businesses have been forced to reimagine how they sell products and services to limit physical contact — and are now using data to to make business decisions wisely.
“With the shift to shelter-in-place, we’re seeing more consumers go online to consume content, engage in an experience or buy something. As a result, there’s increased demand from employers for skill sets tied to understanding consumer patterns and behaviors in a virtual world,” explains Adam Enbar, CEO of Flatiron School, which focuses on teaching in-demand tech skills like software engineering, computer programming, data science and cybersecurity analytics.
One of the most in-demand data science languages is SQL (Structured Query Language), the programming language, which allows users to manage databases. According to LinkedIn, mastery of data science is one of the most asked for skills on job postings.
Many experts emphasized that post-pandemic jobs will require both hard technical skills and soft skills. Alyssa Merwin, vice president of LinkedIn Sales Solutions says that as more and more sales professionals work primarily online without face-to-face meetings, they will need even stronger listening and empathy skills.
“Active listening, problem-solving, critical thinking and relationship-building are the top skills and attributes required for performing sales professionals today,” says Merwin.
Vivek Ravisankar, CEO of HackerRank, a technical recruiting platform, agrees that soft skills will become more important in the years ahead.
“With less human interaction in the physical world, the ability to clearly communicate with one another in more succinct, caring ways will be more in demand. Most of our communication will be via video conferencing, phone or written communications, so people need to start honing their skills in these areas to be effective remote workers,” says Ravisankar.
“Emotional intelligence and social intelligence will also be highly valued, as we will all need to learn to be more empathetic and understanding of technical difficulties, and miscommunications when communicating with one another. These types of soft skills will be complementary to ‘hard skills,’ not a replacement for them.”
Cecile Alper-Leroux, vice president of product and innovation for Ultimate Software, a company that develops cloud-based human capital management software, adds that adaptability and creativity will also be increasingly important.
“While skills like agility and creativity have always been valued in the workplace. Adapting to changes like working from home, attending virtual meetings and balancing work-life and family are all essential to maintain productivity during this time,” Cecile says.
“Since the onset of our new work-from-home arrangements, many of us have taken on new responsibilities or shifted roles altogether. Agility helps us adapt to these changes, while creativity will help us utilize existing skills in new ways, ultimately setting ourselves and our teams up for success,” she continues.
LinkedIn analyzed hundreds of thousands of job postings in order to determine which skills companies need most in 2019 and found that creativity was the most in-demand soft skill.
Jimmy Etheredge, CEO of Accenture of North America says that as more people work remotely, and more businesses shift their operations online, cybersecurity is another field that will continue to be in-demand in the months and years ahead.
“There’s no question that we’re going to continue to see more attacks now that you’ve got more people working from home and there’s already been a number of publicized attacks on Zoom,” he says, referencing a wave of “zoombombing” attacks, where hijackers join a call to bombard others with toxic and sometimes pornographic content.
And as more people work remotely, more workers will be needed to protect digital collaboration from such attacks, says Etheredge.
According to a 2019 study from ISC2, the largest association of certified cybersecurity professionals, roughly 2.8 million professionals work in cybersecurity around the globe, but an additional 4 million trained workers would be needed.
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