Tech is king and soft skills matter

These are just two of the key findings of the recently published, “LinkedIn 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report”. Not at all surprising. The report is worth checking out regardless of where you are at in your canstock 121417 tech is king and soft skills mattercareer. As I always tell people, be open to the possibilities.

The report notes the estimate that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately hold jobs that don’t yet exist. Just think back to what your options were when you started primary school.

I know as a young girl in the 60’s, it seemed like teacher or nurse were the options. My sister did become a nurse and then went on to get a master’s degree in public health. By the time she retired a few years ago, she had run many of the state health departments in Minnesota at one time or another. I wanted to be a math teacher when I was young. Instead I found my path to computer programming in the early 80’s when the field was starting to really explode. Here I am today having served several healthcare organizations as their Chief Information Officer before starting a health IT advisory firm.

Back to the “tech is king” finding. The report says that the top emerging jobs are machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineers in a wide range of industries.  It also notes that there are currently 1,600 open roles for machine learning engineer in the U.S.

The report also found that there is a low supply of talent for top jobs. For example, data scientist roles have grown over 650% in the past 5 years but only 35,000 people in the U.S. currently have data science skills. Any CIO looking to build out the analytics capability for their organization is probably all too aware of this gap.

In terms of soft skills, I’ll be the first to say they always matter, regardless of your work. But the report is focusing on traditional soft skills of communications and management which they say underpin another group of emerging jobs. Roles such as sales development representative, customer success manager and brand partner which don’t require a technical background. The report notes that the “age of the customer” is here with so many customer experience roles on the list.

Another finding worth noting is the importance of future-proofing your skills. While many of these emerging skills didn’t exist even as recently as 5 years ago, it may be worth looking at whether your current skill set will be relevant within 1-2 years. Especially if you are in a technology role given the pace of change.

The report notes two trends regarding roles that may be replaced in the future – a move towards more comprehensive skills and less specialization. A conclusion also worth noting is the increase in freelance professionals whether it’s add-on work to a full-time position or all that one does.

If you are considering a new job, rethinking your career path overall, or exploring going back to school for new skills, this report is worth checking out. Their methodology statement caveats that this analysis is seen through the lens of LinkedIn data – which is significant as we know. Kudos to the primary authors of the report, Rachel Bowley, data scientist at LinkedIn, and Sophie Sieck, product communications at LinkedIn, for the data and insight.

Resources:

LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report

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