Skills You Need To Get That Dream Job

In their final year of education in university, we often witness undergraduates in corporate attire scurrying from one career fair to another. Like peacocks to viewers at a zoo enclosure, these young Millennials don their best clothes, wear the widest smiles on their faces and distribute copies of their curriculum vitae in hasty attempts to impress as many potential employers as possible to secure their dream jobs.

In the midst of such competition, it is imperative for young adults to keep abreast of the latest developments in the playing field and equip themselves with the best weapons for this particular corporate rendition of warfare. This article will address the top skills that employers are looking for in 2016 with the intention to inform Millennials on how they can leverage on the glut of demand and supply for such desirable skills.

Statistical Analysis and Big Data


You have probably heard the term ‘Big Data’ being thrown around as one of the buzzwords of the tech-geared future. This skillset involves data mining and visualisation and is consistently ranked top 4 across all countries as businesses aggressively hire experts in data storage, retrieval and analysis. With a greater amount of data on customers, sales and suppliers from Internet transactions available, it is no surprise that Harvard Business Review quotes the Data Scientist as the “Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.” Employees are reported to be able to earn higher salaries when they can explicate complex data on markets their company is involved in.

Even now, enterprises are on the lookout for individuals who can interpret and make sense of numbers in a manner that is easily comprehensible by management and thereby eliminating the need to go into technicalities. They can potentially utilise such data to target new customers, improve services and offer more personalised products.

Vacancies in for data-oriented positions increased 3,977% since 2011, with an average salary of more than $123,000 a year. Moreover, there is much potential for data analysis to extend beyond the periphery of the IT industry.

Coding Languages for Product and Web Development


In an age of ever-advancing technology, the importance of being equipped with the fundamentals of programming cannot be overstated. Individuals skilled in languages such as Java, JavaScript, PHP and Python, will be in increasingly high demand with job scopes such as optimising backend software for user security.

Robert Dickey, group president of technology and engineering for IT consulting firm Randstad Technologies notes that ‘software developers are (currently) our second-highest request from clients who are looking to continue innovating with their Web-based software and applications, especially with Web-enabled languages like JavaScript and Python’.

Being well-versed in these skills also allow one to venture into mobile app creation and development where the market is continually expanding. With mobile surpassing the desktop computer as the most-used digital platform, demand for cross-platform mobile development professionals should also see demand for cross-platform mobile development professionals.

Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS)


Another term that has been heard too often in various circles both at work and in private is cloud computing. Cloud computing involves making use of remote servers to manage and process data rather than hosting it offline on a personal computer. From this technology of syncing to the cloud comes Software as a Service (SaaS) in which clients engage a particular software that is centrally hosted by the developer through a subscription plan. Examples of SaaS include customer relationship management tool Salesforce and Microsoft’s OneDrive sync.

Corporations often make significant investments in such tech tools but are unable to utilise it to its fullest potential. Individuals who can leverage the power of existing cloud-based systems, as well as other cloud offerings, will hence be extensively sourced for by these firms. Research firm IDC predicts that more than half of enterprise IT infrastructure and software investments will be cloud-based by 2018. Spendings on public cloud services will grow to more than $127 billion by 2018, according to an IDC forecast report.

With the continued shift towards cloud computing and hybrid adoption, professionals skilled at setting up, integrating and securing cloud deployments will remain in demand into 2017.

Industry-Specific Software and Social Media


If long lines of code are not your thing, fret not! Employers are also looking out for human talent adept in the use of software relevant to their market or industry such as Workday and Epic in the healthcare industry.

Social media management grows as a pertinent skill to possess in an era of status updates and online influencers. Marketers can utilise search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques and customer analytics to evaluate the degree of outreach of a campaign or address consumer concerns on tweets, forums and Facebook pages.

UI/UX Design


User interface and user experience (UX/UI) designers are in high demand in various industries, including e-commerce, gaming and corporate platforms. Anthony Gilbert, technical recruiter at IT staffing firm Mondo, notes that this is mainly due to their ‘ability to make software interfaces as intuitive as possible’.

Mateo Bueno, category director for Web and mobile development at freelance and contract marketplace Upwork, sees the potential in acquiring design skills for UI/UX.

“Design can be a competitive advantage. If you’ve got a company that has a great look-and-feel to their site, they’re easy to use and make things extremely simple for users, then they’re going to win out over a competitor who doesn’t have that same usability.”

Corporate Leadership and Human Management Skills

Corporate leadership involves having a business mindset and a thorough understanding of management decisions. Understanding day-to-day decisions made by leaders higher up in the company hierarchy will allow employees to work towards reducing costs and maximising profits. Time magazine reports that graduates in the workforce wish they had taken more financial accounting classes. In the midst of managing profit and loss statements, employees must be able to possess a bird’s eye view of company operations. 

While these are termed ‘soft skills’ in comparison to the others as mentioned above, their importance should not be neglected. In a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the largest segment of respondents (77.8%) reported that they valued “leadership” and “the ability to work in a team structure”.

Other soft skills include communication, problem solving, work ethics, analytical/quantitative skills.

Millennials are thrown into the environment of the 20th century in which the only constant is change. Consequently, they should not be carried away by the ebb and flow of the needs and desires of the human talent market. Young adults should take the initiative to update themselves with the latest skill sets the workplace demands to sustain their attractiveness to all sorts of enterprises. The learning does not stop when the square academic cap is tossed high into the air – in fact, it has only just begun.

If you are worried about not being able to equip yourself with skills that are high in demand, fret not! There is a multitude of online resources to facilitate you in self-learning.

  • Readers interested in picking up coding can check out Code School or Hour of Code for introductory courses on coding. For more interactive classes, Tinkercademy (a local coding school) might suit your needs.
  • For advanced certifications, visit Coursera or Lynda.com. Note that most certifications require a certain amount of payment. 

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