In the last three months, I have given a lot of thought about what trends and in-demand skill sets turned careers will be needed to succeed in 2018. Working for myself, I constantly think about new ways to innovate, stay ahead of the competition and understand the critical skills that I need to learn to stay relevant.
As I write this, I'm reminded when I was working at Rutgers University and in 2010 (two years into my job) I started to recognize that I needed to learn photography, videography, and web design to keep my department and professional skills relevant. And I was right. These skills have not only helped me in my job at Rutgers but they helped me launch my side hustles and eventually go on to work for myself.
Now, in December 2018 I have the same feelings about the in-demand skills listed below. I'm writing this because I was teaching a career shift course at here in Washington, D.C. in November and as I was talking about these in-demand skills, one woman said, “You need to blog about this - more people need to know they have other options.”
So, here are five in-demand skills that you may want to consider to help you make a career pivot, become an asset in your current job, or add a new skill to our portfolio. Each skill is presented in why it’s important, what brands or organizations are investing in this skill, where you can learn it, and what type of jobs/salaries you can expect.
1. Voice Coding
As Marc Andreessen, co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz and Netscape said, “software is eating the world” so learning how to code Alexa skills, Google home, or Apple's homepod smart assistant is the new big thing. Voice coding often leads to cloud coding due to the similar skillsets. This is the new focus for technology’s powerhouse companies, and the number of jobs available in this field is only increasing. By 2020, there is a predicted 30% growth in developer jobs available, and past data shows there already are not enough skilled developers to meet these needs.
Average salary: $125,871
2. Facebook Messenger Bots
According to TechCrunch, there are 1.2B Facebook Messenger bot users as of April 2017. Marketers, media companies, and brands are starting to use these to engage with customers.
Example: Jamie Oliver, a renowned chef in the U.K., is using a messenger bot built by his internal media team. His messenger bot is both a utility and a marketing tool as his fans can get new recipes from his new book. By simply sending a Facebook message of any food emoji, Jamie Oliver’s bot instantaneously replies with a recipe using that ingredient.
Average Salary: $79,530
Yes, video and animated content are taking over. However, there is still a need for compelling copy and written word. Along with digitization comes an emphasis on search engine optimization, brand image, user experience, and emotional appeal. We still read blog posts, occasionally open an email newsletter, and engage through 280 characters on Twitter. Written word will always need to accompany imagery to some extent, which means that with companies growing focus on marketing and user experience, job opportunities in copywriting will grow too. Companies need individuals with strong copywriting skills to craft compelling headlines, subject lines, clever Tweets, copy on websites, and descriptions for Youtube videos.
Average Salary: $56,600
As an article in Forbes noted, companies mail goal should be to “protect your company's data along with your customers' data. But the execution is complex. Over the past several years we have learned this fact as companies -- from the retail giant Target to the credit reporting service Equifax -- have fallen victim to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity tools, consultants, software and hardware are all handsomely expensive”, which is why it makes sense for you to become a part of this expensive market. Whether your company is handling sensitive information, collecting credit card information for e-commerce purchases, or working with government entities, having a secure digital presence is a must. You could find yourself working internally as a Data Security Administrator or Cyber Security Engineer or as a contractor Cyber Security Consultant.
Companies putting a priority on cybersecurity: Microsoft, IBM, Google, BP, Apple, Disney
Salaries - Data security administrator $100,000-$160,000
5. Data Analytics/Proximity Marketing
You’ve probably heard the term “big data.” Well, that is because every single app on our smartphone and social media platforms is collecting a data point from you. The saying that is going around is “no app is free” and that is because some of these apps are collecting upwards of 200 data points a day from us. If you live in a major city you have probably seen a MoBike or Ofo that are dock free bike shares. They are popping up in major cities not necessarily for their convenience but to collect data points on our transportation habits. That is where data analysts, data storytellers, and location-based marketers come in. In a study conducted by Forbes, it was found that 53% of consumers are willing to share their current location to receive more relevant advertising and 57% of consumers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising. There are industries on both sides - data collection and data implementation - that are trying to make assumptions and their marketing more efficient and effective.
Average Salary: $73,93
Bringing It All Together
Before you make a career pivot or invest money into going back to school (or taking an online course), do your homework. Start Google searching for any of these in-demand industries and start reading.
What companies are at the forefront?
Who are the leaders in the space?
What do their career paths look like?
You can also start learning a lot of these skills, like Alexa coding and copywriting, by watching videos on YouTube - for free.
Consider this a jumping off point. I have only listed five (for right now) but there are several other skills needed heading into 2018 and in-demand industries. If these don't appeal to you, again start exploring on Linkedin, Twitter chats and hashtags, and subscribe to sources like TechCrunch, Business Insider, and SpringWise.
I'm always curious, what skills or careers do you think are in-demand over the next year?