Are You Tech Savvy?

by Eddie Rayner

The Top Five Technical Skills that will be in Demand in Five Years in the Job Market

Although a lot of the jobs that exist today will be automated by 2030, you should be excited about the future, not scared of it, as Majid Mneymneh, Vice President, Higher Education & Corporate Pearson Middle East, explains.

Studies reveal that we are now in the midst of the single biggest economic shift since the industrial revolution. Technology, automation, and globalisation are affecting everything – especially work and education. Our 2017 research on the ‘Future of Skills: Employment in 2030’ showed us how these major shifts will affect the future of work, and most of the results tell us that there is a need to up-skill and re-skill people for the future.

When asked, 63% of the population in the Middle East agreed that they have found themselves in need of further education and new skills and competencies which were not taught at school. Thus, our learning institutions must now also take responsibility for imparting education that is relevant, pragmatic, and job-oriented to make learners fit to join the future workforce.

Role of Higher Education Institutes

It is beyond doubt that Higher Education plays a crucial role in opening doors to higher-paying, stimulating, and rewarding career avenues. According to the Global Learner Survey by Pearson, 64% of the students feel that higher education helps them prepare for their career in the best way possible.

However, as the nature of work is changing, more and more people have also started realising the importance of learning new skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This has made it crucial for higher education institutes to use their expertise and increase these skill offerings to bridge the communication gap between educators and employers.

Some of the skills that have become the priority are:

Artificial Intelligence

  • A recent Deloitte survey showcased that 72% of leaders and HR professionals believe that AI, robots, and automation are important, and every progressive organisation are expected to implement it in their operations to some degree. This has created a demand for working professionals who are well versed with AI and can address the strategies needed to implement these technologies. The future of operations is definitely in platforms. AI and Data Algorithms will help innovate and optimise workflow.

Marketing Analytics

  • Marketing analytics is increasingly important as a central strategy to drive company performance. Analytical capabilities, even in entry-level marketing positions, are a must for career advancement. Thus, having a strong foothold in marketing analytics will help one gain skills in quantitative marketing techniques and build knowledge with industry best practices and approaches for marketing measurement and analysis.

Business Intelligence

  • This can be defined as a process that includes analysing data and presenting actionable information to help managers at different levels make informed business decisions. Business intelligence (BI) is a technical skill that combines a range of tools and methodologies to collect data from internal and external sources and analyse it. This creates data visualisations and reports available to different types of decision-makers. It is one of the most challenging business tasks, and the right people are the ones who have strong business intelligence skills.

Data Analytics

  • Data analytics is very valuable knowledge because it is the process of examining large data sets to understand and see hidden patterns, correlations, trends, and other critical business information. Effective big data analytics lead to high revenue opportunities, more effective marketing and sales, improved operational efficiency, and much more other business benefits. However, data analytics businesses don’t want just analysts who can crunch numbers; they want workers who can come up with creative or unique strategies based on these numbers, which is why creativity also becomes essential.

Coding and Programming

  • As more businesses and industries incorporate digital technology into their operations, a basic understanding of computer programming as a minimum requirement is becoming more important. These are among the most valuable technical skills that employers and job recruiters are looking for. What matters to employers is not whether someone has a computer science degree, but how well they can think and how well they can code.

The need of the hour is to ‘look at education beyond obtaining/giving away degrees’. While there have been some great reports and conversations happening across the globe about technology, digitisation, and how most of the tasks and operations are being automated, at the end of the day, it is about the people who need to use this technology.

What, then, is actually required is education institutes facilitating a kind of learning which offers opportunities for practical application of skills, helping people up-skill themselves to adapt to this evolving landscape and, bringing them to the forefront of action, using technology as the backbone.

A survey revealed 63% of the population in the Middle East agreed that they have found themselves in need of further education and new skills and competencies which were not taught at school

Majid Mneymneh is the Vice President of Higher Education & Corporate at Pearson Middle East.