What Skills Are The Most Needed Right Now?
16 July 2021
The annual Coursera Global Skills Report helps leaders and professionals understand and explore the world’s most in-demand skills.
Coursera has one of the largest data sets of identifying skill trends, with 77 million learners and 5,000 courses from the world’s leading universities and industry educators.
This year, Coursera benchmarked skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries.
I spoke to Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, about some of the trends he saw in this year’s report.
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered losses equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs and $3.7 trillion of income. Many of the jobs lost in 2020, particularly in hard-hit sectors like tourism and retail, will never return.
A recent study of eight major economies showed that over 100 million workers (around one in 16 workers in those economies) would need to find a different career because of these losses. Many of these workers are looking to shift to digital jobs.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation for most companies.
Sophisticated companies with a strong digital presence performed better during the pandemic than companies that relied on face-to-face contact with the customer.
Jeff Maggioncalda says, “For companies, the digital transformation skills are the ones that have to do with using data and cloud computing to move more of your business online. How do you find customers online? How do you create customer experiences online? How do you manage your supply chain and employees online? The digital transformation is really sped up because of the pandemic.”
With that transformation, data science and technology skills have really been pushed to the forefront. Trending skills include things like Python programming, Statistical Machine Learning, Probability and Statistics, SQL, and Data Management.
More Women Are Acquiring STEM Skills
The pandemic disproportionately impacted women, with female workers losing more jobs and the burden of increased childcare falling mostly to moms.
But there is some good news for women: Women’s enrollment in STEM Coursera courses this year grew at an unprecedented pace. The share of STEM course enrollments from female learners grew from 31% in 2019 to 38% in 2020.
With any luck, the flexibility of self-directed learning offers hope that this trend of women in STEM will continue long-term.
What It Really Takes to Get an Entry-Level Tech Job
According to Coursera’s data, the time and skill required to prepare for entry-level digital jobs might be lower than you think. These jobs include roles like computer support specialists or marketing specialists.
Recent grads and mid-career changers can develop entry-level, digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours (that’s about 1 to 2 months of 10 learning hours per week).
A person with no degree or technology experience could be ready for a job in 80 to 240 hours (or about 2 to 6 months of learning 10 hours per week).
Maggioncalda says, “What we are seeing is a lot of high-demand, well-paying jobs opening up that don't require a college degree and don't require any prior experience. Things like being a cybersecurity analyst, or an IT support professional, or a social media marketer. It’s possible to get these jobs by learning skills online. I think there will also be more opportunities, especially with remote work, to get jobs that aren’t in your town or your city. That's an exciting new field of job possibilities.”
Watch the full interview with Jeff Maggioncalda here.
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