We acquire “hard skills” by studying and working. Combining them with soft skills will help us stand out in the eyes of companies. 

Woman working at home office

Katia has worked in human resources for over a decade. Three years ago, she became head of talent and culture at a tech SME that uses devices powered by renewable energy to optimize farming techniques.

Now, she’s looking to hire someone with a degree in electrical engineering and at least two years’ experience in energy efficiency projects for large infrastructure. Applicants need a strong command of English because the team works with people in other countries. They should also be well-versed in office automation and database software to make sense of data and table improvement proposals. 

Those requirements are examples of their “hard skills”, i.e., the knowledge and experience they’ve gained from university, other courses, living abroad, etc. However, candidates should complement them with “soft skills”, like teamworking, communication, adapting to change and others to enhance the workplace dynamic. 

Which hard skills are in high demand?

New technologies mean constant change in the jobs market. According to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2020, more than 80% of companies will have a digitalization plan in place by 2025, while automation will disrupt 85 million jobs globally. 

The Report also highlights upskilling and reskilling to boost employability, which has been hit hard by the covid-19 pandemic, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Employment Outlook 2021 report. The OECD estimates that 114 million jobs were lost in 2020. 

The so-called techies are at the heart of the most sought-after hard skills of recent times: 

  • Data analysis: The ability to gather and study swathes of data to make decisions. 
  • Blockchain: Experts in this cutting-edge technology use coding and encryption to transfer data and capital securely. 
  • Cloud computing: Experts manage storage infrastructure efficiently to make data available anytime, anywhere. 
  • Cyber security: Staying safe is just as important online as offline. This skill has become crucial due to a rise in fraudulent activities like phishing
  • Web programming: E-commerce has brought a wealth of opportunity to small businesses, which can now operate seamlessly across borders. Programming is a pivotal part of building a robust website. 

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