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The biggest buzzword of the increasingly competitive job market seems to be skills. As businesses continue to evolve, skills also continue to grow in demand, with some being more sought-after than others.
Most employers talk of soft skills because they are transferable across jobs, industries and responsibilities. Many platforms, like Workforce Singapore’s Micro Learning Content, offer help in honing your job interview and workplace soft skills for free. But there are a few in-demand technical skills than employers are looking for as well. While it’s great to have the related diploma or degree under your belt, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn the skills if you didn’t.
According to the Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, half of the workforce may need to reskill by 2025, due to the rise in automation of jobs along with the impact of the pandemic. We’re already seeing the impact of this, with ManpowerGroup sharing that, in 2022, 75% of employers reported having difficulty in finding the talent they need. This is the highest figure reported since 2006.
As such, it is important that we continue to upskill and reskill to keep up with the times and market demands. Focusing on the most in-demand skills and how to build on them can increase your chances of being hired. Having the right skillsets gives employers the assurance that you can help the company address their changing business needs.
But returning to school full-time may not be something that everyone has the luxury to do; we have to be practical here. So we’ve scoured the Internet to find some courses — free and legitimate courses — that you can sign up for to build these in-demand skills.
1. Software development and programming
With the pandemic, skills related to the digital transformation has become highly sought after to support this shift. According to LinkedIn, some of the most in-demand hard skills wanted by employers include software development and programming skills. These were skills that, based on data from April to October 2022, the platform’s members were hired for, or that companies often listed in their postings.
Marketing is another skill that LinkedIn identified as one of its top 10 in-demand skills in 2023. This is a job function that is necessary for any company regardless of industry, to differentiate organisations from their competitors. It’s no surprise that this is a fundamental skill that many employers are looking for, whether it’s to create brand awareness, offer unique solutions for customers, or improve engagement.
Build your knowledge in digital marketing with Coursera’s Digital Media and Marketing Strategies course, which comes with a certificate upon completion. For a slightly more comprehensive understanding about marketing, Saylor Academy’s Marketing Management is a graduate-level online course that covers the importance of marketing and developing a marketing strategy. Similarly, you’ll also receive a certificate upon completion.
3. Data analysis
Collection and analysis of data is becoming increasingly important for many companies to gain insights and make informed business decisions. After all, the data interpretation affects an organisation’s profits and performance. As such, being able to perform effective data analysis is a key skill that many hirers want.
Course providers like Coursera or Udemy do offer data analytics courses that are free to get you started. CareerFoundry provides a free data analytics short course that gives you an introductory understanding and find out if data analytics is for you. Harvard University also offers a four-week online course that focuses on techniques that are used in data science, such as factor analysis and dimension reduction.
4. Project Management
Effective project management is crucial for businesses to ensure that projects are properly carried out. This means that the respective projects are completed on time, in acceptable quality and within budget. This makes project management a key skill that ensures business teams work cohesively to put out something that represents the company.
Google offers a Google Project Management course that lets you gain an entry-level understanding of project management over six months. Alternatively, you can learn the basics of project management online with a 45-minute course from Project Management Institute.
Understanding the economy and its booms and glooms make finance a core need for most businesses. Being able to plan their finances can help companies prepare for times of economic uncertainties so that they have better control of their money.
Want to get your hand into the job scope of a finance person? The Account and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) does offer a couple of free courses, working with edX to offer short six-week courses on accounting and finance. Get a quick introduction into how management makes certain financial decisions, or find out about the basics of bookkeeping and how it is integral to running a business.
Of course, these courses are not the be-all and end-all of free courses. There are many other players that do offer free legitimate courses to give you a stepping stone to building some of these key career skills. Furthermore, in-demand skills are constantly changing. If you do decide to learn a new skill or take on a new job role, it is definitely helpful to take longer courses and attain full certification of a technical skill. You can make use of your SkillsFuture Credits to help offset the cost, if necessary.
Getting a foot in the door with new skills lets you pursue new career ventures and gain the relevant experience needed. You’ll have many more opportunities when you upskill and reskill so that you can stay ahead of the pack.