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These 5 Skills Will Secure Your Place in the Future of Work

Written by Jennifer K. Henry on Dec 6, 2021

Related content: Digital Education

Woman working on engineering model project

The future of work demands adaptable thinkers. Building a “career path” is no longer the singular accepted route to success in the workplace. Rather than following a linear progression of roles and titles, the strongest professionals today are curating a “career portfolio.” This is a broad set of skills, experiences, and traits that might seem unrelated. But together, they make up your unique set of superpowers, which demonstrate versatility and a genuine passion for lifelong learning.

Organizations increasingly prefer employees that show ongoing skills development throughout their careers. In fact, a recent survey found that companies value evidence of continued learning over depth of experience on a resume. In response, working professionals are enrolling in career-focused online courses and programs in record numbers.

In my role working with hundreds of employers to solve their hiring challenges, I’ve seen a huge transformation in the perception of digital education. Ten years ago, an online executive education course or tech boot camp was hardly on a recruiter’s radar. Today, these programs are a coveted signal in the hiring process.

As the parent company of edX, a global online learning platform providing over 40 million learners with access to world-class education, 2U has unique insight into the most in-demand job skills. Here are the top five skills professionals want and employers are looking for, based on enrollment trends in the over 3,500 online education programs we offer in partnership with top institutions across the globe. Add these credentials to your career portfolio, and unlock your potential.

Data Analytics

A survey of 8,000 professionals ranked critical/analytical thinking as the most valued job skill. As companies increase their capability to gather data, they need leaders who can interpret and turn data into actionable insights, and it doesn’t require a technical background. In fact, combining analytical skills with other business skills is the combination every employer wishes they could find.

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Computer Science

Software engineers aren’t the only workers that need a robust understanding of computer science and programming. According to an analysis by Burning Glass of 26 million job postings, half of the jobs paying an annual salary over $57,000 are in occupations that require some coding knowledge.

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Are you a high performer? Domain expertise and technical knowledge are not sufficient to being a good leader. A recent study of over 200 companies found that performance as a salesperson was negatively correlated with performance as a sales manager. An online course can help cultivate a new set of skills that are essential for success in leadership positions.

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In 2020, the FBI reported nearly 800,000 cyber attack incidents with losses totalling over $4.1 billion. Even as these threats grow, over half a million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled. Business leaders that understand the complexities of the cybersecurity issues that threaten the bottom line will have a competitive advantage.

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Supply Chain Management

The interconnected nature of global supply chains means that every business is impacted when they’re disrupted. In the wake of the pandemic, the field of supply chain management is ripe for innovation. Employers are increasingly hiring for this skill to help navigate them into the future.

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Running a business during a global pandemic has reminded employers that change is the only constant they can rely on. A career portfolio that clearly indicates new skill acquisition can help reframe big transitions or resume “gaps” as signals that change is your comfort zone. So stop worrying about your next title change and start curating the skill sets that will make you irreplaceable.

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