Jobs are changing – to the point that it’s been predicted that 85% of the jobs college leavers of 2030 will have, haven’t been invented yet.
This means that skills will have to change, too. AI and automation will be a big driver of this as machines become capable of taking on more work. Rather than just automation of manual jobs, smart, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered machines will increasingly do jobs that require thought and decision-making.
So, where does this leave humans? Don't worry; it's unlikely we're going to be completely redundant just yet. Rather, we will focus on tasks that machines just can’t do as well as we do (yet) – jobs that involve strategy, creativity, or emotional intelligence, for example.
In 2023 and beyond, I believe those who are successful in industry and enterprise will be developing skills that involve augmenting our abilities with smart machines and software while applying the “human touch” where it is needed. So, here's my rundown of five skill sets that will help anyone set themselves up for the future.
Data Communicator/ Storyteller
Data communicators and storytellers will become increasingly sought-after and valuable to businesses as we move into 2023. This is because, according to research commissioned by Tableau from Forrester, by 2025, 70 percent of jobs will involve working directly with data. This means that every organization will need people with the skills to interpret, translate and communicate it.
This skill set is about the ability to communicate insights in ways that are effective - meaning putting them in the hands of the right people at the right time. However, they must also be engaging, which is where the storytelling element comes in. Skilled data storytellers are able to see and communicate the narrative around data. In practical terms, this could mean explaining where the insights come from, why they are important to the business, and how best to go about putting it to work.
Data storytellers use written communication as well as visualizations, tapping into tools such as PowerBI, Qlik, and Tableau to find the most efficient, memorable, and accurate methods of conveying insights. There’s a reason why storytelling has been humanity’s chosen medium for conveying important information going back to the days when stone age tribes would huddle around the fire at night. We are attuned to looking for meaning in them, remembering them, and passing on what we learn from them. As data becomes central to the strategies of more businesses, people with the skill to communicate and build stories from it will become increasingly valuable, which is why this skill makes my list of 2023’s most in-demand tech skills.
The explosion in home and remote working that began during the Covid-19 pandemic and is set to continue into 2023 means cyber security is essential to every company. No longer something that’s confined to IT departments, every employee will be expected to take responsibility for the security of the data they are entrusted with and for building resilience in their area of operations. However, that doesn't mean that the specialized cyber security agent will become a thing of the past – far from it, in fact, as it’s predicted that up to 10 million professionals will be employed in the field during 2023.
What this means is that whether you plan to pursue it as a career path or simply add it to your resume to make you more marketable in whatever role you currently work in, cyber security skills will be among the most in-demand for the foreseeable future.
Home and remote working, the internet of things (IoT), and the ongoing migration of more and more aspects of our lives into the digital domain (as well as the metaverse) all have major implications for the ways in which cybercriminals can potentially make life unpleasant for us. Cyber security professionals harness AI to predict and counter hacking and DDOS attacks while also adopting the psychological approach needed to defend against lower-tech approaches based around social engineering. It’s a diverse skillset and one that will make anybody an attractive fit for the workforce of the future.
User experience (UX) design, and the closely related field of user interface (UI) design, will become increasingly valuable skills due to the extent to which digital transformation is effectively turning every company into a tech company and every job into a tech job.
This democratization of technology really just means that everyone, no matter what their role is, is expected to work with technology to some extent. And that means that technology has to be usable by anyone, even those without the skills traditionally needed to work with technology, such as software and programming skills.
The skill of the UX and UI designer is to make technology intuitive and accessible to anyone, even if they aren’t used to working with technology. This will be particularly relevant as we move further into the era of low-code/no-code platforms, where organizations have the power to create applications for their customers or their workforces without needing to engage software engineers and execute lengthy and costly software development projects.
Increasingly, whether or not a user (customer or employee) continues to engage with a tool, application, or piece of technology will come down to whether they have a positive, enjoyable, and hassle-free experience while they are doing so. As consumers continue to value experience above other aspects of products and services they purchase (such as value-for-money or quality), then the skillset of the UX designer will become increasingly in demand.
We live in an attention economy – meaning our attention is increasingly the most valuable commodity we have to give, and capturing it is the number one priority for brands and businesses. Digital marketing involves harnessing the cumulative power of any number of technological solutions designed to get the attention of customers and put your products and services at the front of their minds. From paid social media advertising to influencer-led campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing funnels, and cutting-edge channels like metaverse and augmented reality (AR), digital marketing involves a diverse set of digital skills ranging from technical to creative. Good marketers can specialize in one, several, or many – and as long as they can use their field of expertise to push the needle on whatever metrics matter to their organization, they won’t find themselves out of a job in 2023. This year, many more digital marketers will find themselves augmenting their human creative and strategic abilities with AI-empowered tools that help with audience targeting and segmentation.
And finally – one skill to rule them all…
If you've been paying attention, you will have noticed that artificial intelligence plays a key part in all of the skills I've mentioned here – specifically, the ability to work alongside AI in a manner that is today frequently described as "augmented working." Data communicators have AI tools that can suggest the most effective forms of visualization and storytelling to get their insights across. Cyber security professionals use AI to analyze network traffic and spot potential attacks before they cause damage. UX designers use AI-assisted analytics of user behavior to determine which features and functionality should be prioritized. And digital marketers have many AI tools at their disposal for predicting audience behavior and even creating copy and content.
The ability to spot opportunities to augment your or your organization’s human skillset with AI, and put tools and platforms to work to do so, will possibly be the most valuable skill of all in 2023 and beyond.