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13 Skills to Learn for Becoming an Essential Employee

Steve Safarowic
July 13, 2021
Last updated on
March 13, 2024


"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man," rightly said American writer Elbert Hubbard. 

How do you become that extraordinary person? 

Why should you work towards becoming extraordinary?

Workplaces are changing through automation putting human jobs at risk. On the other hand, world economies are unstable, and these are not the only factors that promote job insecurity. There are many others. For example, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently said that due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, almost 25 million jobs could be lost across the globe.

Amidst all this chaos, how do you ensure that you become an 'essential employee' to your organisation and advance in your career? How do you make sure that your job stays yours? We tell you, and it's no secret. You must UPSKILL for career development.

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How to Become a Truly Essential Employee?

70% of executives say that their current employees lack tech/computer skills, while 67% of employers can't find qualified candidates for their open positions. Every year new tech skills are in demand. Are you changing with the changing times? Here are 13 skills to learn that can give you that much-needed career boost. Match your pace with technology, fill the skills gap.

Tech Skills to Learn in 2021:

1. Artificial Intelligence

The intelligence demonstrated by machines.

Artificial intelligence, a subject of computer science, changes the way humans interact. It is a field that is constantly evolving. AI allows machines to perform tasks like humans that include speech, motion, visual perception, decision-making, among other things. It is widely used in multiple fields and by top companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. Develop AI skills and watch how your career takes off.

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2. JavaScript & Web Development

Your gateway to programmatic thinking.

JavaScript is one of the three core technologies that powers the web as you know it. JavaScript can be used for building front-end, back-end, mobile and browser extensions. If you are new to programming, JavaScript is a fantastic gateway (as is Python, see #4) to introduce yourself to not only the building blocks of many apps you use today, but also how to think like a programmer, and thus, upskill your ability to work and communicate with tech teams.

Javascript is one of the building blocks of the web, bringing websites to life along with the HTML & CSS which provide the architecture and basic design, respectively. All are relatively easy to learn quickly and are essentially the gateway to further personal development.

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3. React

The base to build single-page applications on.

React is maintained by Facebook and a community of other companies. It is a JavaScript library that is used for building user interfaces that allow developers to work on a virtual browser and create reusable UI components. Many say React is the future because fast, light and feature-rich. It is definitely a good skill to add to your resume, but will assume you already have some basic knowledge of web development (starting with Javascript).

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4. Python

A general-purpose programming language, great for beginners.

Python has survived the test of time. First introduced in 1991, it continues to remain in demand. Becoming a Python developer is a great investment for your career. This high-level programming language can be used for apps and websites, and it has an easy syntax. This multi-paradigm programming language is also known to boost productivity.

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5. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Automating tasks, increasing efficiency.

Learning Robotic Process Automation will allow you to know how business processes can be automated through software robots that boost productivity, save time and money. Learning the skill will take about 30 hours only. Do it over the weekend and be in-demand.

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6. Machine Learning

Intelligence in the future.

Imagine self-driving cars or something as simple as intelligent chatbots - the scope for machine learning is tremendous. About 49% of companies are exploring or planning to explore machine learning and its applications. Know about deep learning, anomaly detection and other concepts when you learn machine learning and grow.

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7. Extended Reality (XR)

A mix of virtual reality and augmented reality, set to change the world.

Not only gaming and entertainment, virtual reality (VR) and augmented (AR) reality have applications in the marketing, healthcare and other industries too. There is a massive increase in the demand for VR & AR engineers - by 1400%! It will be a wise decision to learn AR & VR.

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  • [Stay Tuned] Contact us to stay informed on upcoming courses on this!

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8. Cybersecurity

Security is paramount.

With the growth in technology, security problems have also increased. Keeping their network security updated with the latest trends is one of the most important priorities for companies. Which is why if you upskill in cybersecurity a higher pay and better job security is guaranteed. From 2019-2020 the demand for security engineers has increased by 132%.

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9. UX Design & Design Thinking

Crafting user experiences, solving problems.

A stunning UX design can breathe life into a website. Knowing design thinking will help you conceptualise better in the earlier phases of UX design. Having this for web development is a must, as it is for applications. Learning the fundamentals of UX design and design thinking will allow you to create stunning user experiences and solve users' problems. It is known as an art and a science to know how to transform needs and ideas into visually beautiful products. Good UX designers are highly needed today.

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10. Flutter

State-of-the-art UI toolkit that facilitates app building.

Excellent technology for app development, Flutter is the latest rage. Created by Google, Flutter is an open-source UI toolkit that allows for the creation of attractive apps for mobiles, web, and desktop from one codebase, across platforms. In a time when apps are important, Flutter is truly innovative and a seamless way to create native apps.

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11. Cloud Computing (Amazon AWS & Google Cloud)

Cloud computing, making data available on-demand.

Cloud computing allows for the accessing, processing and managing of data on an internet server, rather than on a computer. Having knowledge on using either of the two major cloud computing services - Amazon AWS or Google Cloud will work in your favour.

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12. Data Science

Understanding, analysing and demystifying data.

Data science is the hottest field today. There is a huge demand for data scientists in almost all fields. To become a data scientist, you must have a combination of programming skills, knowledge of statistics and know some business concepts. Learning skills like BigData Hadoop, Python, SQL, will get you there. 

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13. Big Data Analytics

Where numbers become the lighthouse.

Big Data Analytics involves systematically dealing with large and complex data sets to extract useful information like consumer preferences, market trends, hidden patterns and other useful insights. Knowing Big Data analysis will open a lot of doors for you. 

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How to become tech literate?

Depending upon how you chart your career graph, you can pick an online course to learn a trending tech skill from anywhere, anytime. Check the reviews and pick a reputed website to get your online education from. 

If you're in Hong Kong, we now offer online options with high engagement and interactive support, so that you can get you started learning most of what we've discussed in this post. Our Immersive programs will even help you become job ready!

Take a look at some of our student outcomes for inspiration, and see the projects of those who were once absolute beginners. 

The important thing is to get started!

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Why are Tech Skills So Important?

Technology is the driving factor for change, and its involvement at work is only going to increase with time. Having vital, popular tech skills that are in demand will give you multiple advantages like:

  1. Higher pay than what you are getting now
  2. Efficient utilisation of time and resources
  3. Higher productivity, which means you can get more work done and efficiently
  4. Prevention of problems and their prediction 
  5. Job security - nobody wants to fire someone who is super skilled and important to the organisation
  6. Feeling of purpose and fulfillment - many graduates of our courses report that they are happy to be working with skills they enjoy using each day

Advantageous Non-Tech Skills You Must Have

  • To be able to effectively communicate with people from a non-tech background.
  • Good negotiation skills to get the best outcomes with vendors, clients and colleagues.
  • Time management skills to handle multiple projects.
  • Prioritisation of tasks at hand.
  • To learn and unlearn, for constant growth.
  • To be updated with the latest trends in technology and to know what's going on in the industry.

We live in an era which is powered by technology. Be it our homes, our workplaces, there is nothing where technology hasn't brought about a transformation. The workplace arena today likens growth with technical expertise. If you work in a field that is closely entwined with technology, your biggest challenge would be to adapt to new and changing technology. If you want to become an essential employee, you have to upgrade your knowledge base. And this article is like your know-it-all best friend who is looking out for you.

Keep growing and avoid stagnancy by constantly upskilling. Learning new tech skills will become the ladder to success you were always looking for, and in no time you will become an essential employee to your organisation. All the best!