As Bob Dylan said, “The Times They Are a-Changin.”
The skills needed for a job in 2017 are going to be way different then they were 10 years ago. Specialization and specific skills (especially computer literacy) are essential to get a job these days, and the trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
In this competitive job market, employers prefer hiring those people who have the skills needed for their particular job. Most companies and small businesses no longer have the budget or time to teach someone new skills. They need someone who can jump into the position right away with a running start. They also need people who have more than one primary skill. Here are a few skills needed for a job in 2017:
1. Project Management
According to the statistics of the Project Management Institute, 15.7 million jobs will be created in project management through 2020 in industries that are project intensive.
These industries include finance, insurance, utilities, oil and gas (check out this article I wrote that mentions the best city for oil and gas jobs), manufacturing, construction, information systems and business services. By the end of this decade, there will be 6.2 million jobs in this field in the U.S. alone. A comparison of people in this field revealed that those with project management abilities earned almost 16% more than their peers.
To demonstrate your project management skills in an interview, have stories prepared that focus on your leadership, budget management, time management, project failures that you learned from, and project achievements.
2. Data Analysis and Critical Thinking (c-c-c-combo breaker!!!)
The ability to analyze data and draw conclusive results is another skill that future jobs will require. Organizations are increasingly able to collect large amounts of data on their customers and products (read more about big data here), and gone are the days when decisions are made solely on gut feelings. Basing decisions on data and being able to combine critical thinking skills with data to back them up will be preferred by employers.
Even without data, employers want their prospective employees to display exceptional critical thinking skills. These skills are something that cannot always be blatantly tested. However, when you have an interview with a prospective employer, you could tell the story of situations or scenarios in your previous job where you applied your critical thinking skills and achieved great results.
Good communication skills have always been an important skill. In the next few years, the importance of these skills is going to increase. If your writing and grammar ability is inadequate and your writing skills are not up to the mark, you may lose out on a position you are otherwise qualified for. So keep this in mind when creating your cover letter and resume and when communicating with potential employers over email. Proofread everything and get second opinions.
4. Computer Programming
If you are in college or still have time to prepare for a job, in my opinion, programming is one of the most important skills needed for a job in 2015. There are many computer languages like Python, C++, and PHP which employers and technology start-ups will require from. Best of all, there is a shortage of programmers, so with such a high demand and low supply, the pay and perks can be amazing.
For this particular skill, you can’t fake it in order to get hired. Since, this is a fast growing trend in the industry, experience, a portfolio, and sample projects are essential. Another aspect that makes programming one of my favorite skills is that a college degree is not required. If you know programming and can do the job, that is the most important aspect to employers. In fact, many programmers learned their skills on their own, without formal training. Though college coursework is not required, it may help you get management positions.
5. Bonus: Social Media Savvy
Small businesses are increasingly turning towards employees who are savvy with social media. Small businesses are using social media to retain customers and find new ones; even if they have a small budget. They need people who have social media skills that can create product awareness.
The proof of your social media capabilities could be your personal social media profiles. If you have a large number of followers on Twitter or a huge number of likes on your Facebook page (check out ours!), it could translate into the same magic for their company and product.