The Top 7 Skills You Need For 2019

January 17, 2019
By Chris Girardi

The workforce is changing rapidly. So, why not make 2019 the year you level-up your experience? We’ve picked the top 7 skills you should develop this year to help you get ahead and stand out when hunting for the next big opportunity!

When you add an Activity Card to your Paddl Profile, you can choose from over 50,000 skills - from copywriting, to photoshop and even juggling! This means you’re showing off all the unique things you can do, no matter whether your experience is from an internship at a blue chip company, or watching a TEDx lecture. In saying that, there’s always MUCH more to learn, and more experience to be gained, no matter your career stage. Therefore, it makes sense to start building up meaningful experiences that will help you stand out in your applications, interviews and of course, in the workplace!

Learning new skills can be a bit daunting if you’re not sure where to start. What skills should you focus on? How do you actually learn them? In this post we aim to answer both of these questions - starting with the top 7 skills we think you should be developing TODAY. It’s time to  step-up your hustle this year and make 2019 YOUR year!

We’ve selected a mixture of hard skills (things you can reach an objective level of proficiency in) and soft skills (the things you don’t really get a qualification in) - all of which will help you develop your personal brand and become every employer’s dream hire!

The Hard Skills

1. Coding

Okay, maybe you knew we’d include this one since we are ourselves a tech startup. But, don’t think learning to code means you need to change careers and work in an entirely different industry. When you learn to code you develop important analytical skills that can help you structure your solutions effectively. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll learn new techniques to extract information, complete tasks and even…drumroll…visualise data - something that can help every organisation better understand their performance and their customers.

Our superstar Paddl Engineering team recommend:

  • HTML and CSS if you’re after an intro to web development - you could even use it to create your own online portfolio!

  • Ruby and Javascript if you keen to start a website/project quickly

  • Python, Matlab and R if you want to learn how to work with data and stats or do scientific work

After somewhere to get started? Check out Codeacademy, Khan Academy or Udemy for some online courses!

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2. UX Design

User-experience (UX) is a central part of quite literally everything you do. Someone, somewhere had to design that website you’re using, or that app on your phone - from how it looks, to how it feels to use and, of course, it’s functionality.

Becoming proficient in a UX design tool like Sketch is an awesome way to show you have some hard UX skills. Taking the time to learn UX design fundamentals is a great way to get inside the head of future customers. That way you’ll be well equipped to show employers you understand how to engage with people, broadening your skillset and helping you stand out from the crowd.

If UX design sounds interesting, check out courses available on Udemy or with General Assembly!

The Soft Skills

3. Design Thinking

This is one of our favourites at Paddl HQ! After all, we run Paddl Games challenges designed to introduce our Paddlrs to the wonderful world of innovation. Design thinking is all about teaching yourself to identify a problem worth solving, and transition it into a solution worth doing. It helps you understand and define a meaningful issue before ideating solutions, developing a viable prototype and testing its implementation.

Developing your design thinking skills will not only show employers that you’re an an ideas person, but that you’re able to dive deep into an issue and come up with a feasible, desirable and viable solution - factors critical to ensuring your innovation is a success.

We have a bunch of Paddl Games events slated for 2019, so make sure you check your Paddl jobs feed regularly to be the first to know! You can even get ahead of the competition with an online design thinking course from IDEO U!

4. Collaboration

We’ve heard of teamwork an awful lot and it’s easy to underestimate what good teamwork involves. Effective collaboration runs deeper than just playing nice with other people. When you collaborate on any task you need to learn how to be a leader and inspire people to work at their best. You also have to learn how to listen, and how to understand other people’s perspectives.

This an essential skill for any modern workplace where you’re relying on others (and they’re relying on you) to get things done, and being an amazing collaborator will put you leaps ahead of the competition.

Unlike some of these other skills you can’t really take a course in collaboration. But, we’d definitely recommend watching a few TED Talks to get you thinking about how you can be a better collaborator!

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5. Persuasive Communication

Much like teamwork, you’ve probably heard by now how important it is to be a strong communicator. It means you can convey your ideas clearly and succinctly, showing people you really know what you’re talking about (even if ~sometimes~ you actually don’t). But, dare we say, being a persuasive communicator is just as important.

Developing your persuasive skills will mean you can easily and effectively share why your solution is viable and why it would make a positive difference . Be prepared to share your insights, but be open to accepting suggestions and feedback as well. Communication is a two-way street! With this attitude, you’re less likely to be overlooked when sharing new ideas or suggesting a new approach to your team!

If you’re looking for some ways to get started, check out this article from The Conversation - it takes a slightly academic approach by looking at some of the psychology behind persuasion.

6. Critical Thinking

When you think critically, you don’t just look at an idea based on your own opinion. You make an active effort to be objective and to understand the issue from a variety of perspectives. That involves looking in depth at other people’s arguments or at alternative solutions to see their individual benefits and challenges, and perhaps most importantly being prepared to accept that your original plan may not be the best in the long run.

Practicing critical thinking in everything you do - even something as simple as reading a news article or book -  will equip you with an analytical framework for the tough decisions in the workplace, making you an asset to every team.

Critical thinking is something you can practice every day. So, the next time you’re reading something stop and think about who wrote it, why they wrote it, and some ways you could disagree - it’s not always easy if you agree with what they’re saying, but it’s a great first step to becoming a great critical thinker!

7. Emotional Intelligence

Like it or not, people are everywhere, despite what we’re told about robots gradually taking our jobs! That means it’s not enough to know everything about a particular topic if you don’t know how to connect with people. Start making an active effort to develop your emotional intelligence to ensure you’re conscious of how other people may respond to certain decisions, and how you can best engage with them.

It’s like Paddl’s Marketing Coordinator, Kim Fernandes says - “be a resource, not a sales pitch." In other words, don’t just blurt out information. Think about how you can engage with people, how you can help them understand something or how you can support them. Show your value before you expect anything in return - this will set you up to  thrive in any workplace culture.

This article from Forbes gives some great tips on how you can get started - but remember, developing your emotional intelligence is a marathon, not a sprint!

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Well, that’s a full year!

It sure is!  If you’re trying to master all these skills in 2019 you’d better be ready for one hell of a journey and a lot less Netflix.

That’s not to say its unachievable, but to remember you don’t have to be a master UX-designer and world class design thinking expert come December 2019 (although by all means go ahead!) Instead of looking at these skills as things to tick off a list, focus on them as areas of yourself to develop on a constant experience gaining quest to be better at doing different things and engaging with different people.

And, because we know you’ll be super busy levelling-up your experience throughout the year, we wanted to make it super easy to help you share the new and improved you with potential employers. Jump onto your Paddl Profile and start adding in Activity Cards to to help employers quickly and easily see everything you do - putting you at the top of the pile when it comes time to shortlist your application!