It’s no secret that artificial intelligence and data analytics are redefining the way companies operate, and they are projected to become even more mainstream in 2020. In order to remain competitive in a data-driven world, business leaders in 2020 are facing a rising demand for talent with advanced technical skills.

However, due to a shortage of skilled candidates, recruiting top talent has become more challenging than ever. With the costs of recruiting and onboarding far surpassing the costs of training and reskilling, many organizations are looking inward to develop the tech skills they need to be competitive in 2020. According to research by Gartner, in fact, building skills and competencies is a top priority for human resources (HR) leaders in 2020.

How can you start improving technical skills in your business? Which technical skills should your employees learn? Most importantly, which technical skills will give your company a competitive advantage in 2020? This brief guide will help you understand some of the technical skills in the workplace that researchers have projected as most important for 2020.

1. SQL

Structured query language (SQL) is the standard language for structured database management systems. It enables organizations to store, retrieve, define and manipulate data. SQL was the most in-demand technical skill on Indeed job postings from 2014 to 2019. Moreover, Udemy identified SQL as the fastest-growing technical skill taught in the workplace.

Which Positions or Departments Are Using It the Most?

  • Server developer (the top position requiring SQL skills)
  • Data analysts
  • Data modelers
  • Database developers
  • Database administrators
  • Data scientists
  • Business analysts
  • Software engineers
  • Quality assurance (QA) testers
  • QA analysts
  • Systems administrators
  • Systems engineers
  • Technical support (SQL is currently one of the most sought-after technical support skills.)

What Are Other Potential Applications?

  • Marketing: 2020 will see an increased focus on technical skills for marketing, particularly big data-related skills such as SQL. Learning SQL will help marketers gather and retrieve customer and campaign data, leading to more informed, data-driven decisions.
  • Retail, customer experience and customer insights: These leaders are maximizing profit by capturing consumer data with SQL to optimize operations and interactions, as well as intelligently predict the future based on trends.
  • Finance: In 2020, the finance industry is heavily focusing on making informed and intelligent decisions by harnessing skills in SQL, Excel and Tableau.

2. Python

Python is an easy-to-learn, high-level and general-purpose programming language that enables users to develop a variety of applications, including web and software apps, scientific and numeric apps, games, 3D apps, websites, and desktop graphical user interface (GUI) applications. Python is the most popular technical skill in 2020, according to recent research by Udemy.

Which Positions Are Using It the Most?

  • Software engineers
  • Researchers
  • Software developers
  • Web developers
  • Application developers
  • Data analysts
  • Data scientists (Indeed ranks Python as the third-most in-demand skill for data science positions.)
  • Programmers
  • Quality assurance testers

What Are Other Potential Applications?

  • Scientific research: For example, Python has helped analyze experimental data from research involving atoms at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.
  • Scripting automation: With Python, organizations can easily automate repetitive tasks such as updating spreadsheets, renaming computer files, scraping the web and creating courses.
  • Digital marketing: Python is one of the top marketing technical skills of 2020, along with web development, data science, Tableau and business strategy.
  • Data science: Python is highly popular in the data science industry, where it is used to complete tasks such as machine learning, data visualization and data analysis.

3. Machine Learning

Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence and data analytics that teaches systems to learn from historical data and past experience. It enables organizations to automate many business processes so that employees can spend more time focused on higher-level decisions.

According to research by LinkedIn, Udemy and Forbes, machine learning is one of the most in-demand skills of 2020. More specifically, TensorFlow, a machine learning platform, was the most popular technical skill of the past three years on Udemy.

Which Positions or Departments Are Using It the Most?

  • IT engineers
  • Software developers
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Computer scientists
  • Deep learning experts
  • Data scientists
  • Computer vision experts

What Are Other Potential Applications?

  • Finance sector: The finance sector can use machine learning to increase the accuracy of financial models and rules, detect fraud, and manage portfolios, among other uses.
  • Manufacturing: Predictive maintenance is a top priority for business leaders in the manufacturing industry. These companies can use machine learning to develop more efficient predictive maintenance measures, reducing unexpected failures.
  • E-commerce: E-commerce companies can leverage machine learning to better personalize the shopping experience, like Netflix has with movies.
  • Health and medicine: Machine learning can improve patient care and prevent and treat disease. For example, IBM’s Watson has successfully made recommendations for the treatment of certain types of cancers.

4. React

React is a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces (UI). It is declarative and component-based, which means it’s easy to create interactive user interfaces for single page or web applications. It is simple, fast and scalable, and it enables organizations to make reusable UI components.

According to Udemy’s 2019 data, React will be the second-most in-demand skill in 2020. Moreover, Stack Overflow reports that 74.5% of React.js developers say they want to continue using it, and 21.5% of developers unfamiliar with React are interested in learning it. React is only six years old, but it has matured rapidly, mainly with the help of Facebook’s active promotion and the support of a huge community of developers.

Which Positions Are Using It the Most?

  • Mobile developers
  • Redux developers
  • Full-stack engineers
  • JavaScript engineers
  • Front-end developers
  • Software developers

What Are Other Potential Applications?

Many internet giants, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Yahoo, Netflix, Airbnb, Lyft, Medium, The New York Times, Dropbox and Reddit, are already using React. It also has potential applications for corporate product owners who want to enhance the user experience (UX) and performance of webpages and apps.

5. Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an on-demand cloud computing platform that includes services such as database storage and customer engagement. Surprisingly for a new technology, AWS has grown by 418% since 2014. It has also quickly ranked in the top 10 job skills on Udemy and Indeed and is widely used, across industries, by businesses ranging from startups to large enterprises.

Which Positions Are Using It the Most?

  • Software engineers (Amazon AWS certification is one of the most popular technical skills for software engineers in 2020.)
  • Operational support engineers
  • Cloud software engineers
  • Cloud system integrators
  • Cloud developers
  • DevOps engineers
  • AWS SysOps administrators
  • AWS cloud architects
  • AWS networking specialists

What Are Other Potential Applications?

  • Retail: In the past two years, AWS certification has been one of the fastest-growing skills in the retail industry. Along with skills in data modeling or app development, retail employees can use AWS skills to improve operations.
  • Financial services: More and more businesses in the financial services industry are incorporating AWS into their workflow.
  • Government and nonprofits: Nonprofits and government agencies are using AWS for their robotic process automation, cybersecurity and cloud processes. With such changes, data analytics for nonprofits has become a necessary skill to succeed in this sector.

Implications for Reskilling Your Workforce in 2020

These top five technical skills show similar trends toward data science, AI, web development and the cloud. In order to successfully incorporate these skills in your workforce, your employees must have a firm understanding of the language of data. These skills will enable employees throughout your organization to unlock insights from data and employ data-driven decision-making. Get started now to ensure your workforce is up to date on the latest technical skills needed to drive growth and profits.

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