The skills required for the digital economy

We are living in a digital economy. Business executives around the world worry about the future of jobs and the welfare of their employees as technology automated processes and make sections of staff redundant. According to a recent PwC study, almost half 46 per cent of CEOs globally said significant retraining is the most important initiative to close a potential skills gap, against just 18 per cent who said they would be hiring from outside their industry.

Tech companies, and indeed all organizations in the digital economy, are coming to realise that digital skills are vital for employees in the digital era. It is more important than ever that new employees are cross-disciplined and have both hard and soft skills.  Whatever the specific job you are interviewing for, recruiters will be looking out for a wider skill set and broader experience in their new hires.

This list covers the top skills employers are looking for today and in the coming years. 

1. Human skills

Human skills include communication, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and analytical skills. Since an analysis of job descriptions highlighted human skills as a must-have, they didn’t seem to warrant a premium in salary. However, the reality is that although hard to judge in an interview, lacking any of these skills might cause candidates to be deemed unsuitable for certain jobs.

An interesting thing in an analysis of human skills was the fact that collaboration, as a skill, is becoming increasingly important in the work environment.

2. Programming, Web and App Development

At the heart of any tech product or digital service is coding. The core languages that most programming and web and app development positions need include Bootstrap, jQuery, Angular, Code Igniter, PHP/JavaScript, Python and MySQL. These skills are listed regularly in the top 10 most in-demand by employers on LinkedIn. Having a portfolio of projects demonstrating your coding skills can also help to validate your knowledge and expertise and help you land your dream role. Examples of mobile and responsive web development experience will give you an edge over other candidates.

Coding is also vital for emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Coding will provide AR and VR Developers with the foundation skills needed to develop the next generation of AR and VR technologies. 

3. Digital Business Analysis

Digital Business Analysis helps organizations to make the right choices by providing an independent and objective mindset and applying a range of proven analysis techniques to make a convincing business case for investment in a digital solution.  As digital transformation is central to all organizations in the digital economy, digital business analysis skills have become the hottest skills to have on your CV in the 21st Century. Digital Business Analysts are at the epicentre of digital transformation projects. They help organisations develop a digital ecosystem of technologies that will help drive digital transformation and business growth. Much needed skill for the digital economy.

4. Data Design and Data Visualization

Websites, Apps and Digital Services have one thing in common; a user interface. Any designer with experience creating effective, dynamic user experiences will be in high demand with most tech companies.

Designers can also visualize complex data to help management make vital business decisions. This skill is called data visualization. Data visualization is useful for senior leaders to gain valuable insights from data. Tools such as Tableau and Power BI are used by designers to analyse and visualize data.

5. Digital Product Management

Another skill that is not unique to software development but one that is particularly valuable nonetheless is Digital Product Management. Software services in particular need to have a lifecycle management plan put in place. The continued growth of Software as a Service will make Product Management ever more integral to the tech sector.

6. Digital Marketing

To promote their products and services tech companies will look to digital marketing. Understanding of how to get the most value for money out of the broadest range of networks will be key here. In-demand skills for Digital Marketers include: 

  • Digital marketing tools 
  • Analytics tools
  • Social media marketing 
  • Content marketing 
  • SEO 
  • UX (User Experience Design)

7. Social Media

Some of the best PR today is carried out almost exclusively through social media. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and countless other platforms give tech companies direct access to customers, thought leaders and evangelists. The best Tech PR managers are Social Media managers.

8. Data Science and Data Analytics

Companies gather huge amounts of data that can be immensely valuable to them if they have a Big Data Analyst who can make sense of it all. Data Scientists are in-demand by employers across the world. Glassdoor constantly features Data Scientists in their Best Jobs Listing. Not only is Data Science an excellent career path for professionals in the digital age, but demand far outweighs supply, making Data Scientists highly employable. A recent McKinsey report showed that “The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers with skills to make decisions based on the analysis of big data.” As data science becomes a minimum requirement for more and more manager-level jobs, learning data science will help you position yourself ahead of the curve. 

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