Climb up the career ladder with these in-demand hard skills

It’s a strenuous climb to the top...or is it, if you have the right hard skills?

By U2B Staff 

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With technology advancing at breakneck speed, reskilling and upskilling will be a norm for professionals looking to future-proof themselves. In-demand skills in today’s workforce will change as organisations work to keep pace with the changes happening within the working realm. 

But what are some of the essential skills for professionals to brush up to stay competitive in the saturated job market? Using data from over 660 million professionals and 20 million jobs, LinkedIn revealed some of the most in-demand hard skills for 2020 earlier this year. These include:

  1. Blockchain 
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

Both blockchain and affiliate marketing were not listed on last year’s rankings, but for the first time this year, blockchain not only made the list of top skills, but topped it — highlighting an increasing awareness and demand for the wider applications of this skill, said LinkedIn.


“Blockchain was born in 2009 to support the use of cryptocurrency. But blockchain’s novel way to store, validate, authorise, and move data across the internet has evolved to securely store and send any digital asset. The small supply of professionals who have this skill are in high demand,” it said.

Meanwhile, the professional social media platform said the decline of traditional advertising and the rise of social media have paved the way for the rise of affiliate marketing as a must-have hard skill. “Affiliate marketing leverages company partnerships or  influencers that are hyper-targeted to a particular audience,” said the professional social media platform.

LinkedIn added that trending data reveals that data-driven decision-making skills like business analysis – which is up 10 spots from last year – are essential in today’s workforce. “As companies continue to collect and analyse more data than ever before, they need people who can help interpret and take action on that data to drive growth for their business,” they said.

Should you get certified in these in-demand hard skills?

So, if you’ve not studied in a related field in the in-demand hard skills listed above, should you get certified in any of them? It may be useful to upskill in any of the areas mentioned that may complement your area of work, or future career interests, with a postgraduate degree or via microcredentials.For instance, LinkedIn said business analysis made the most significant jump of any skill on their list, adding that it’s “one of the few hard skills every professional should have, as most roles require some level of business analysis to make decisions”.

On Medium, Coinmonks, a non-profit crypto educational publication, said demand for blockchain doesn’t only apply to developers, but also across the board, including in roles such as receptionists, shipping clerks, security guards, stock brokers and marketers.


“Bank clerks, travel agents, and shipping clerks will directly transact and track loans, hotel bookings and large cargo shipments with clients and suppliers in secure ecosystems using proprietary tokens to access the secure network. It’s happening now,” they said.

These examples illustrate a use for hard skills for professionals or job seekers looking to stand out from a crowd. 

As such, those with a related background can always consider a postgraduate degree in areas such as blockchain or business analytics, while there are always microcredential courses by providers such as Udacity, EdX or even EDUCAUSE, for those who want shorter programmes that are more cost effective, or that allows them to test the waters and decide if they want to take a plunge a pursue a full-time postgraduate study in the field.  

The world is your oyster, so if you’re ready to give yourself a leg up in the job market, now might just be time to seriously consider your upskilling options and decide how certain skills will be useful in your area of work.