Top 10 Future-Proof Skills You'll Need in 2021


Prepare to be amazed because the robots are taking over! The world around us is shifting at lightning speed and we better keep up. With the current rate of change, co-powered by technology, only skills can 'future-proof' your career. It is the only hope in a world of automation and AI. 

Trust Scott Adams when he says,

"Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success."  

Therefore, skills are what you bring to the table in the face of fresh technology. Make no delay and future-proof your career with this list of top ten skills. 

  1. Emotional intelligence
  2. Coding
  3. Digital Marketing
  4. Communication skills
  5. Lateral thinking
  6. Cognitive flexibility 
  7. Cultural skills and global thinking
  8. Forever Learning 
  9. Decision-making Skills
  10. Adaptability Skills

Go ahead and study this mix of technical and soft skills you'll definitely need in 2021. 

 

#1 Emotional Intelligence

emotional intelligence-1

Pew Research Centre suggests that future job openings will demand both analytical and social skills. Such is the case because computers aren't blessed with an EQ (emotional quotient). Therefore, people with strong skills of emotional intelligence will be gold in the coming times. 

All professionals and job seekers necessarily need to develop this soft skill as it:

  • Makes you aware of the feelings of your coworkers
  • Helps build relationships and rapport
  • Induces warm feelings of empathy, compassion, and concern
  • Promotes positivity and belongingness at work 

Thus, emotional intelligence is a worthy people skill to learn. Moreover, it comes with personal benefits too. Daniel Goleman author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ identifies it as:

"The subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."

He also elaborates as to why emotional intelligence benefits a person's private life:

"People with well-developed emotional skills are also more likely to be content and effective in their lives, mastering the habits of mind that foster their own productivity; people who cannot marshal some control over their emotional life fight inner battles that sabotage their ability for focused work and clear thought."

Since compassion and emotions are an inseparable part of the human experience, professions like teachers, doctors, therapists, counselors, firefighters, career couches, police officers, sales executives are all future-proof. 

 

#2 Coding

learn coding

As we have outlined before coding is one of the many billion-dollar skills to learn. It is also a highly demanded technical skill of the 21st century. Learning to code is knowing how to write programs that every technology-infused hardware uses. Since computers dominate the future, coding is your pathway to communicate with them. This makes coding literacy a future-proof and gives you an edge over others. It is a lifelong skill that shapes innovation and builds opportunities. 
Moreover, coding is all the rage today as it attributes additional benefits to the following areas of: 

  • Mathematics and problem solving
  • Writing
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Resilience
  • Increased focus 


#3 Digital Marketing

learn digital marketing

Our future awaits:

  • increased dependence on computers, 
  • online presence 
  • new innovations 

And the most lucrative career option in such a scenario would be digital marketing. This is because brands hinge on their market existence to rope in consumers and establish a strong footing in the industry 
Therefore, all kinds of marketing - digital marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, and online marketing are on the rise. 
A World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report 2018 shows that 54 percent of employees will need an up-skill or a re-skill to meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution. It specifically indicates that such jobs that require critical thinking, digital literacy, and public-facing operations are essential. 
Hence, digital marketing makes use of the three to deliver an audience to brands.

 

#4 Communication Skills

communication skills-1

Nifty communication skills are a boon for both professional and personal life. The way you put across your thoughts profoundly impacts the permanence of your ideas. It is only with these strong communication skills that one can convey his doubts, ask questions, and make suggestions. This makes it a valuable future-proof soft skill to learn. 

The future expects rising competition and online noise. This will make it even harder to make your ideas heard. Learning the skill to communicate with your co-workers and clients alike is a crucial process in branding yourself. 

 

#5 Lateral Thinking

Since the job market is undergoing a change, it is time you transform yourself too. Begin by revamping your attitude towards learning, skills acquisition, and thinking. A healthy practice to thrive is to adopt a lateral thinking mindset. This is advantageous because modern problem solving requires a mix of innovative and critical reasoning capacity. It is truly a hack to survive in a shifting economy. 
Start by following your passions and hone your skills with an open mind. Stick to a career path while learning interrelated skills. Achieving this develops a creative insight into a problem; something needed for modern problem-solving. For instance, engineers learn the skill of origami to develop a creative outlook and fresher perspectives. This is the beauty of a fourth industrial revolution with technological assistance. 

cognitive flexibility

 

#6 Cognitive Flexibility 

The Cognitive Flexibility Theory was introduced in 1988 and shows how learning occurs in complex and non-standard domains. It suggests that knowledge sharing and skill transfer can occur in non-traditional methods and interconnected sources. These include digital learning and skills exchange platforms. All a professional has to do is harness a flexible approach - one that is open to different perspectives. This is a future-proof skill as it promotes fluidity of thoughts and aids lateral thinking. The ability to switch from one perspective to another brings refinement to knowledge generation and essential to decision making. Since technology is dynamic, it is high time you embrace this sophisticated and multi-layered thinking process. 


#7 Cultural Skills and Global Thinking

Technology is forever using its potential to bring people close to each other. This means that geographical barriers are disappearing. In such a scenario, the relevant future-proof skill is to adopt a global thinking process. Don't stick to a region and let the world be your playground. Explore clients, projects, jobs, and careers across the globe. This will come with an exponential exposure and decorate you with the quintessential cultural skills.

 

learn cultural skills

 

#8 Forever Learning 

The reality of the time ahead is adorned with new challenges and innovations. Consequently, there is a high tendency that conventional skills may become obsolete. In this case, you must master the art of unlearning. Since the facility of cognitive flexibility can only benefit you when you are a forever learner, knowing what skill to unlearn is imperative. 
This is a useful trick and a future-proof skill to have. 
A forever learning attitude comes with:

  • An understanding of market demands
  • Analyzing trending skill sets
  • Improving current skills to relearn
  • Actively questioning new and old patterns 

 

#9 Decision-making Skills

decision making skills

The task of decision making will experience challenges in the future since computers will diligently provide access to more and more data. Therefore, employers will continuously look for professionals with sound decision-making skills. This is because it will help achieve organizational goals by managing subordinates and through judicious utilization of available resources. As automation will contribute to speed, adroitness, and finesse, it is in the hands of intellectually advanced professionals to make decisions. With technological advancement, it will become equally important to polish the many ways you handle it.  
Developing and re-working on your decision-making skills is necessary. 

 

#10 Adaptability Skills

All the above mentioned future-proof skills can be acquired only in the presence of the ability to change. The will to adapt is decisive for success in the upcoming technologically endowed future. It is very unlikely for the world to slow down. So, to change your pace to match up with it is the only way forward. 

"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

- George Bernard Shaw

Any amount of lateral thinking or cognitive flexibility model will not be useful unless you are determined to adapt and change. This adaptability shapes your perspective and approach to new circumstances. It is only someone quick to adapt that brings about a change. Especially now, the corporate and business world is undergoing a major seismic shift, and professionals have to adapt and up-skill to stay relevant. 

Your anchor in a rapidly changing environment is your skills. The dawn of fresher technology will eternally supplement humankind with its products. But it is entirely at your discretion to re-skill and up-skill to meet the versatile demands. As automation and programming configured the time ahead, these ten future-proof skills are windows to all dynamic prospects.

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