The Most Wanted Hard Skills in 2020

Original article by Deanna (Lazzaroni) Pate

What you need to know about 2020’s trending hard skills:

While the most in-demand soft skills are all about how we work together, the most in-demand hard skills are the ones changing what we’re working on. 

Many of these skills will continue to evolve rapidly. For example, for the first time this year, blockchain not only made the list of top skills, but topped it—highlighting an increasing awareness and demand for the wider applications of this skill. 

Trending data also reveals that data-driven decision-making skills like business analysis (#6), up ten spots from last year, are essential in today’s workforce. As companies continue to collect and analyze more data than ever before, they need people who can help interpret and take action on that data to drive growth for their business. 

The top 10 most in-demand hard skills are: 

#1 Blockchain – New 

Blockchain was born in 2009 to support the use of cryptocurrency. But blockchain’s novel way to store, validate, authorize, and move data across the internet has evolved to securely store and send any digital asset. The small supply of professionals who have this skill are in high demand. 

#2 Cloud Computing – Down 1

Today, companies are built and run on the cloud. They need talent who have the skills to help them drive technical architecture, design, and delivery of cloud systems like Microsoft Azure.

#3 Analytical Reasoning – Same as 2019 

Data has become the foundation of every single business. Organizations want talent who can make sense of it and uncover insights that drive the best decisions for the business.

#4 Artificial Intelligence – Down 2

Artificial intelligence (AI) augments the capabilities of the human workforce. The people who can harness the power of AI, machine learning, and natural language processing are the ones who will help organizations deliver more relevant, personalized, and innovative products and services.  

#5 UX Design – Same as 2019 

It seems like the average attention span of consumers decreases every year and they have little patience for products that aren’t intuitive. Organizations need more expertise to help them build more human-centric products and experiences.

#6 Business Analysis – Up 10 

Business analysis made the most significant jump of any skill on our list. It’s one of the few hard skills every professional should have, as most roles require some level of business analysis to make decisions.

#7 Affiliate Marketing – New

With the decline of traditional advertising and the rise of social media, affiliate marketing is rapidly rising as a must-have hard skill. Affiliate marketing leverages company partnerships or  influencers that are hyper-targeted to a particular audience. 

#8 Sales – Same as 2019

You’d be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t need great sales people—those who can effectively manage a sales team, understand the sales funnel, work with cross-functional partners, and sell into the highest levels of the business.

#9 Scientific Computing – Up 3

Scientific computing skills are held by data science professionals, engineers, and software architects, and others. Companies need more professionals that can develop machine learning models and apply statistical and analytical approaches to large data sets using programs like Python, MATLAB, and others. 

#10 Video Production – Down 3 

Consumers have an insatiable appetite for video content, so it makes sense that video production continues to be a priority for companies. Cisco estimates that video will account for 82% of global internet traffic in 2022.

We hope that with insight into what companies need today, you feel ready to cultivate the essential soft skills and hard skills, and empowered to own your career.

See also Most Wanted Soft Skills in 2020 and Top 5 Things you need to know about Jobs of the Future.

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