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How to Future-Proof Your Career with Hybrid Skills

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When you were a child, did you dream of becoming a great artist? Or a skilled engineer? Or did you dream big and want to be both? As you've grown up, you might have felt it necessary to choose just one specialization, but blending multiple abilities is more useful than ever now that we're entering the age of artificial intelligence and automation.

According to the Burning Glass and General Assembly report, demand for hybrid jobs is growing rapidly. Over 250,000 such positions were open in the last year alone. These numbers are encouraging especially as experts predict a decline in demand for low-wage employees as well as highly skilled workers. According to Deloitte report, 39% of jobs in the legal sector could be automated in the next 10 years.

What Are Hybrid Jobs

Hybrid jobs usually refer to roles that require tech and data skills alongside other specialized abilities. Similarly, hybrid skills can refer to any blend of skills that aren't traditionally combined. Some examples include a user-experience designer role or a product manager position, which were unimaginable several decades ago. User experience designers have to understand users' needs through research and communication and use design and programming skills to deliver the desired interface or product. And while product managers have many technical skills, they must also be masters of communication, as they spend a lot of their time communicating complex ideas and plans to many different audiences.

Professional working

Not Only Technology

These hybrid roles can be found across industries. How can you know you've nailed a hybrid skill? If you're an expert in one area and you train yourself to become an expert in another field and combine these skills in your profession. Say you're an accountant with an interest in social media marketing. You can combine these skills to tell current and prospective clients about your work and bring in more customers. Or maybe you're a nurse who took data analytics classes. You can now depict large data sets of information about patients and perhaps even make life-changing decisions based on your findings.

Experts also say that some modern and future professions have started blurring together. For instance, there is a drop in demand for social media managers, but HR professionals are expected to know the basics of social media marketing and use it in their day to day activities.

What Employers of the Future Want

Employers want candidates who can combine what we usually label as hard skills and soft skills, like a worker who has experience in software programming as well as effective teamwork.

Organization, communication, and writing might seem like basic abilities, but surprisingly, it's getting hard to find employees who possess these skills and who can combine them with other, more technical, skills. These rare employees are usually well-paid since they are highly valued and in demand.

Universal Skills for Hybrid Jobs

The more skills you have, the more likely that you are going to look attractive to an employer. Nevertheless, there are some skills that managers want you to have first and foremost. These are the skills that can be reused across industries and will be applicable in hybrid jobs.

Core Business Skills

According to Bentley University's research, skills in business development are essential: particularly strategy, sales, and relationship building skills. If you love the product you are selling, you will be able to close deals, and that is something your employer will certainly value.

People

Big Data

Big data is not just a buzzword. We are drowning in data across a variety of industries. There is an enormous quantity of information in marketing, medical science, and rocket science. People who can tackle that data, manipulate it, and make sense out of it are highly valued.

Employees that work in research, management, marketing, and PR need to know how to manipulate and analyze large datasets. But, of course, one skill set is no longer enough. Data scientists can hugely benefit from improving their decision-making and critical thinking skills on top of that number-crunching prowess.

Technical skills are now a must in traditionally non-tech roles. For instance, a content developer is expected to be able to look at data in analytics dashboards, analyze it, understand it, and make a decision backed by it. Similarly, customer support representatives handle their day to day tasks by looking at users' data, like how long they used the product, how much money they spent on it, and other user-behavior indicators, to help solve the customer's problems faster and more efficiently.

Evergreen Math Skills

Math skills are also crucial to the overall success of the department you are working in, whether it's startup operations or marketing for a big corporation.

Human Centric Future

It might seem counter-intuitive, but with the rise of high technology, human-centric skills become increasingly valuable. Based on Bentley University's research, workers who are good at collaboration, decision making, and mentoring are going to be in demand across industries. Employers are also looking for employees with critical thinking and communications skills.

So what does this all mean for you? Well, are you a software engineer? Then try taking an emotional intelligence class! Do you work in retail? Try out a technical writing class! This type of professional development approach will make you competitive on the job market.

Professional

Soft Skills Meet Hard Skills

Refining and mastering one specific skill, even if it's technology, is no longer enough to be attractive to employers and have a successful career. Experts say that, in the future, successful workers will be the ones who can combine people skills, or soft skills, like interpersonal communication and self-awareness, with technical skills, or hard skills, like data analytics.

How to Future-Proof Your Career

As an EdTech company, this is no small question for Study.com. We are working every day to research the connection between online education and job market demands. Predicting the future is challenging! But we know one thing for sure: studying new skills and combining them with what you already know is what keeps you employable and happy.

By Svitlana Kostenko
October 2017
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