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It’s the New Year and with 2020 firmly behind you, you can walk into 2021 with a renewed focus on self-improvement — and it starts with gaining new skills.

The job market has drastically changed due to the pandemic and increased automation, and many of the jobs that were lost will simply not come back. But, there is hope. According to a recent report by Microsoft, the total number of technology-oriented jobs will increase nearly five-fold by 2025, rising from 41 million in 2020 to 190 million in 2025.

Make 2021 your year to gain new soft skills and hard skills in coding, digital marketing, data analysis, and more that will help you catch the eye of employers looking to fill the tech jobs available this year and beyond. 

New Year, New You! 7 Soft & 7 Hard Skills You Need to Learn in 2021

Mastering Soft Skills Can Make You More Competitive

The competition in the job market is going to be fierce in 2021 and just being a good coder or a great data professional might not be enough. You need an edge over your peers to get the job. That’s where soft skills come in. Here are the essential soft skills you need in 2021.

Futuristic Thinking

It’s vital to be knowledgeable about your industry and field of work. We recommend that you research websites, guides, and blogs that are relevant to your desired field to get the latest news, tips and discoveries. Here’s a list of podcasts that might be helpful. 

Courageous Leadership

2021 is going to be a year where you need leadership skills that go beyond just leading a team or a project. After all, it is going to be a year when most of us will find ourselves managing one of the biggest crises of this century. 

Most leaders fall into one of the following leadership styles: democratic, visionary, coaching, affiliative, pacesetting, and commanding. Yet one style of leadership which is fast catching up with all effective leaders is “Servant Leadership” i.e. to ensure that your employees’ needs are being served and focused on their growth and well-being. Enrolling in leadership programs for executives helps address the needs of your employees and organizational growth.

Empathy will play an even bigger role in how we work with others, and having a leadership style rooted in collaboration and service is a great skill to have.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and also the emotions of others. As much as we need Artificial Intelligence engineers in 2021, we also need professionals who can use emotions in positive ways as a stress buster, for effective communication, to show empathy with others, overcome challenges and manage conflict. In fact, this is one of the top skills employers are looking for.

Interpersonal Communication

Workplaces will need more professionals who can share their thoughts, knowledge and ideas coherently. Especially, at a time when most of the communication is happening over the internet on Zoom and Slack, interpersonal communication has become more important than ever. As more people move towards remote work, the concept of “employee experience” will guide most interpersonal communications as a major challenge of 2021 would be to keep employees engaged and productive.

Cognitive Flexibility

Employers will give more importance to cognitive abilities like creativity and adaptability. Those with cognitive flexibility skills are energized by change and adapt quickly and readily to the unknown. They enjoy experimenting with new things and are able to consider multiple concepts simultaneously.

Problem Solving

In 2021, problem-solving is going to be one of the most sought after soft skills. More so, because the year comes with a lot of ambiguity. The ability to identify challenges even after ambiguity and being a self-starter to solve them efficiently will be one of the top skills required in 2021. 

Lifelong Learning

Constant learners will never be out of fashion. Especially in 2021, when jobs are going to be extremely dynamic and new trends and technologies will define work. Consequently, lifelong learners will hold a special position in the eyes of employers.

Tech Skills to Learn in 2021

While soft skills are important, employers will also look for some hard tech skills in the new year. Here are seven skills you need to learn this year that can help you get an in-demand tech job in 2021.  

AI and Automation, FTW

Proficiency in IT automation skills is one of the most lucrative tech skill to have in 2021 according to a report by Burning Glass Technologies.

Another survey conducted by UiPath concluded that 70% of C-level executives at large organizations require employees to have automation and AI skills. 

Another ideal area to focus on is Natural Language Processing (NLP).

How Can You Acquire AI and Automation Skills?

There are  plenty of courses and programs available for learning these skills but if you want to get hands-on experience and gain job-ready expertise check out the following Nanodegree programs: 

You can also start your learning journey with our free courses in Web Tooling & Automation and Secure and Private AI.

Get Into Software Development to Become a DevOps Engineer

According to Burning Glass Technologies, there are approximately 635,000 job openings for Software Development Methodologies and DevOps-related roles, the highest number of open positions in the last 12 months. 

It’s also predicted that there will be a 35% increase in demand for these jobs within the next five years.

This trend is also shown in our analysis of the fastest growing jobs of 2020.

How Can You Become Skilled in Software Development and DevOps?

Check out the following Nanodegree programs to get the right skills in this field.

If you want more specific programming skills then check out our school of programming now.

Data Science Skills are Still Highly Coveted

The demand for data scientists, data analysts and data engineers is growing quickly. This is because of the increasing amount of data being generated and the growing need to manage and decipher that data.

How Can You Get Skilled in Data Science?

Our School of Data Science offers a range of Nanodegree programs — Data Scientist, Data Analyst, Data Engineer and more — to help you gain the skills necessary to become a data professional.

Meet the Growing Demand for Machine Learning Engineers

There’s a growing need for Machine Learning (ML) engineers due to the increase in machine learning projects by organizations around the world, data scientists create models and hand them over to the engineering teams. 

Software engineers aren’t trained to manage the operations of machine learning projects. Hence, there is a growing need for professionals who can seamlessly manage these tasks.

How Can You Learn ML?

You can learn all about packaging and deploying machine learning models in our Machine Learning Engineer Nanodegree program.

Ascend the Corporate Ladder with Cloud Technologies

If you don’t want to limit yourself to one industry then cloud technology might interest you. Skilled cloud professionals are required across industries from professional services, IT, finance, and insurance to manufacturing, retail, administrative services, and many more.

How Can You Be Job-ready for Cloud Tech Jobs?

Enroll now for one of our cloud related Nanodegree programs from the School of Cloud Computing and get job-ready skills to claim a top job today. Enroll in  any of the following Nanodegree programs to excel in the field of cloud technologies:

Product Managers are Always in Demand

According to our recent Fastest Growing Jobs in Tech report, the need for qualified product managers is quickly increasing. And why not?

With so many AI, ML, cloud, and automation projects running in an organization, someone needs to be there to manage all of them.

There’s going to be an increased demand for professionals who can lead projects and possess skills in strategy, tech, design and leadership.

How Can You Become a Product Manager?

Product management requires a unique skillset.  Learn everything about the field in our Product Manager Nanodegree program. If you want to get specialized skills then check the following Nanodegree programs: 

Business Analytics is the Future of Boardroom Discussions

If you like to be on the business side of work and applying advanced data skills to make business decisions interests you, then business analytics could be the right fit.

How Can You Become a Business Analyst?

Check out our Business Analytics Nanodegree program and get the necessary business and data skills to excel in the field. The Nanodegree program has been rated 4.7 out of 5 by our global community of students and is one of the highest-rated Nanodegree programs of 2020.

New Year, New You! Start Your Journey Today

2020 was tough for all of us. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back and be grateful that 2021 has arrived. Focus on the new year and on learning the soft and hard tech skills that will define 2021. 

Check out all of our courses and Nanodegree programs and welcome the new year with a new you!

Happy New Year!

Start Learning

Ritika Pradhan
Ritika Pradhan
Ritika is the Content Manager at Udacity and is passionate about bringing inspirational student stories to light. When not talking to the amazing Udacity students, she can be found reading an article or watching a video on the internet.