When we recently wrote about ‘The Most In-Demand Tech Skills for the Future’ we focused on advanced, emerging technologies that will soon play enormous roles across a range of industries. Indeed, machine learning, deep learning, and blockchain tech — our three areas of focus in that piece — are already beginning to factor in. Undoubtedly, people who are proficient in understanding and applying these technologies will see interesting job opportunities coming their way in the near future.
These are broad concepts, however, and in many respects, they’re still being figured out and fine-tuned. There are also plenty of valuable tech skills that are a bit more specific, and which you can effectively teach yourself. With these skills, you can be of immediate, practical use to all kinds of interesting companies — not to mention you might just find you develop a new hobby or a skill you can market independently!
Sound & Video Editing
Sound and video editing are different skills, but we’re including them together because they’re ultimately related to the same change that’s going on in online content production: Individuals and brands alike are “pivoting” to podcasts, YouTube, and other audio and visual content.
A few years ago, the “pivot to video” concept was more or less mocked as an overblown narrative about changes occurring in online publications and media. Now, however, whether for content distribution or pure marketing purposes, it seems as if just about every successful online brand does produce video content. Forbes’s look at YouTube marketing suggested that this helps to build an image, establish trust, and drive engagement — and thinking of it in those terms, it’s difficult to argue with the potential benefits. Meanwhile, plenty of brands are also finding success in audio mediums, whether by making it possible to listen to written online content or by producing supplemental podcasts.
Teaching yourself to edit and produce this sort of material immediately makes you a valuable asset to innumerable brands and content producers. And while audio and video editing aren’t skills you can pick up overnight, they are very many skills you can learn on your own. A varsity of resources are at your disposal, and you can also do some trial-and-error learning through the actual programs you’ll ultimately use to do your editing and production.
Printed Circuit Board Design
If you’re more interested in hardware, the printed circuit board design is also a fascinating and extraordinarily useful skill to teach yourself. While most of us tend to take the circuit boards in our devices for granted, there is of course an intricate design process that goes into creating them. Each circuit board has to be designed and engineered to make any given device function as needed — which, naturally, makes this a sprawling (if somewhat invisible) industry.
In the past, this would actually have been a somewhat challenging skill to teach yourself, as PCB design platforms simply weren’t as accessible. However, because so much of this process now occurs via computer programs, it’s now something anyone can get involved with. According to Altium’s article about KiCad PCB design software free downloads, people can now access fully functioning design platforms within a single interface. This is described as being beneficial to people just getting started as new designers, or exploring the idea as hobbyists. In other words, you can start designing as a true beginner and figure out how these incredible little bits of hardware are made.
Digital marketing might not strike you as a tech skill at first. To some extent, it’s not. Much of a successful digital marketing campaign revolves around writing strong content, developing a message, and generally communicating well — all of which has more to do with creativity and clarity than technology. As any professional in this field will tell you, however, fundamental understanding of data, search engine compatibility, and social media platforms is also essential to modern digital marketing. And in that sense, this all falls within the realm of tech.
Here, too, most of the skills are things you can teach yourself. Like anything else worth learning, it will take time, but countless informative articles and tutorials about social media marketing. SEO strategy and the like will teach you what digital marketing content really needs to accomplish. The data side of things can be a little bit more in-depth. But once you understand the purpose of digital marketing more thoroughly. You can begin to develop a feel for what sort of data and insight you need regarding a given brand’s content in order to assess and improve its effectiveness.
Last but not least is app development — a busy, exciting field of technology that’s certainly not going anywhere anytime soon. Most brands looking to compete online are at least exploring the idea of launching their own apps and beyond established brands. There are thousands of individuals considering the same idea for their own purposes. While plenty of these people will ultimately look to develop apps on their own. The majority will seek professional help — which is where you can come in.
App development takes some time to learn, even for those with a background in coding or online web development. However, it’s also something for which specific education is readily available. While we won’t recommend a particular option, a Medium piece on app development courses points to a number of possibilities for beginners. If you find one that works for you, you can quickly gain an understanding of the basics, and ultimately progress to a point at which you can build apps professionally.
The coming decade of tech will be dominated largely by ideas that are still emerging, such as machine learning and blockchain. But practical skills like the ones described here are going to continue to be valuable as well. And with a little bit of hard work, you can teach yourself to be proficient in any of them.