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10 Skills Needed Most in 2020 and 30 Free Courses to Learn Them These are the hard and soft skills that will be in demand this year

By Gadjo C Sevilla Edited by Frances Dodds

This story originally appeared on PCMag

via PC Mag

It's 2020, and a new year means new perspectives and changing demands in the workplace. LinkedIn Learning's annual "The Skills Companies Need Most" report identifies the top skills listed on LinkedIn profiles of people who are getting hired at the highest rates. Covering over 660 million professionals and more than 20 million jobs, LinkedIn's insights shed light on the most in-demand soft and hard skills for which companies are looking in the coming year. LinkedIn Learning has also unlocked free courses that correspond to these skills for the month of January 2020 to help boost people's careers. Note that, while the courses are free, participants need to have an active LinkedIn Learning account in order to access them. New users currently get a one-month free trial of the service.

"For the past three years, LinkedIn has used insights from our network of 660+ million professionals and 20+million jobs to identify the most in-demand skills for today's employers," said Deanna Pate, Head of Brand at LinkedIn Learning. "Emotional Intelligence is the newest soft skill to make the top five. A colleague with a high EQ might exhibit exceptional self-awareness, empathy, or motivation, and as you can imagine, these professionals often make great managers or mentors. EQ may even be a greater predictor of success than IQ."

Learning new skills and gaining certifications are essential to growing your career. Not only can you acquire new ways to solve problems, but continuing education helps you better position yourself for promotions or better jobs. LinkedIn Learning cites learning and self-improvement as an important aspect of self-care, right up there with time with family and friends as well as exercising and healthy eating. More than a smart way to refresh one's résumé, gaining marketable education and expertise makes it easier to transition to new roles.

LinkedIn Learning has found that there are various reasons driving people to learn at work, including rebounding from a substantial career mistake or after dealing with difficult teammates or managers (see graphic below). Let's take a deeper dive at the most five desirable soft skills and five most desirable hard skills for 2020.

5 Soft Skills Companies Need Most in 2020

Soft skills are intangible but vital interpersonal skills that help manage coworkers, bosses, and clients in most situations. While soft skills may be more difficult to single out and develop than more technical or certifiable hard skills, they are nonetheless critical in running successful businesses.

For 2020, creativity is still the most desirable soft skill, just as it was in 2019. Creative individuals find ways to solve problems and create new opportunities. They can make the difference in critical situations, offering innovative solutions to difficult problems. "Other top soft skills include collaboration and persuasion. These aren't new to the list, but their staying power shows just how important interpersonal skills are in the workplace today," Pate said.

1. Creativity is still the number one ingredient to disrupting business and creating new models. Some free courses available from LinkedIn Learning until January 31, 2020 to help enhance your creativity include Banish Your Inner Critic to Unleash Creativity, Creativity for All, and Creative Exercises to Spark Original Thinking.

2. Persuasion is the second most in-demand soft skill and factors in various aspects of marketing, sales, leadership, and project management. The ability to communicate effectively and sell a concept or product is key for ambitious startups, small to midsize businesses (SMBs), and larger businesses. Some courses worth considering include Persuading Others, Leading Without Formal Authority, and Persuasive Coaching.

3. Collaboration is a skill that lets individuals accomplish more when they're a part of high-functioning teams. This skill maintains its position from 2019. Key collaboration courses worth investing some time on include Being an Effective Team Member, Shane Snow on Dream Teams, and Teamwork Foundations.

4. Adaptability is a highly regarded skill in an ever-evolving business landscape. The ability to embrace change with a positive attitude and maintain professionalism in high-stress situations is highly valued. To enhance adaptability, there are various courses worth considering, including Managing Stress for Positive Change, Developing Adaptability as a Manager, and Finding Your Time Management Style.

5. Emotional intelligence is new for 2020. It involves the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is critical for managers, and involves cultivating empathy and human understanding. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence, Social Success at Work, and Influencing Others are some of the available free courses from LinkedIn Learning.

5 Hard Skills Companies Need Most in 2020

Hard skills are easier to quantify and less nebulous than soft skills. They can be acquired through training and practice through courses and certifications.

"For hard skills, blockchain was the surprise of 2020, taking the top spot. Companies are realizing that blockchain isn't just for Bitcoin anymore. We are already seeing the rise of awareness and interest in talent with blockchain skills so that businesses can better understand these wider applications, but there are few individuals with these skills relative to the demand," said Pate. For 2020, the five leading hard skills companies need most as per LinkedIn Learning are as follows:

1. Blockchain offers an innovative way to store, validate, authorize, and securely move data across the internet. Knowing your way around it is a very coveted skill that various companies now require. While it originated a decade ago as a means to store and move cryptocurrency, blockchain can be applied to all forms of data. Courses from LinkedIn Learning designed to improve blockchain credentials include Blockchain Basics, Blockchain Beyond the Basics, and Blockchain Learning Solidity, which are all free for the month of January 2020.

2. Cloud computing was the number one hard skill in 2019 and has slipped position to number two. Still, there's a lot of value tied to cloud computing, especially considering that Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect Certification is the highest-paying IT certification of 2019. Courses that can help bolster your cloud expertise include Learn Cloud Computing: Core Concepts, Azure Administration Essential Training, and Cloud Native Development.

3. Analytical reasoning can be applied to making sense out of all the data businesses have today. Applying analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools to create actionable dashboards and make sense of data. Some free analytical reasoning courses from LinkedIn Learning include Strategic Thinking, Learning Data Analytics, and Power BI Top Skills.

4. Artificial intelligence (AI) has dropped one slot since 2019 but it's still one of the hottest segments in IT today. AI can be transformative; it branches into various segments like machine learning (ML) and natural language processing that can streamline various processes and enhance businesses. Some useful courses to take include Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Machine Learning, Big Data in the Age of AI, and Introducing AI to Your Organization.

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