The future of work conversation, catalyzed by the rapid advancement of technologies like machine learning and blockchain, and demand for skills in these areas, has dominated headlines in 2018. Rightfully so, these areas are seeing enormous demand from our 37 million global learners. Upon examination of our learner data, a few interesting trends are emerging. As we look to the year ahead, it’s important to pause and reflect on key skills that are in demand heading into next year.
Today, 72% of CEOs regard AI competencies as the most important asset of a company. In turn, the demand for talent with advanced AI skills like machine learning and deep learning continues to increase. But as more engineers gain this technical knowledge, a new skills gap is forming. Now, we’re seeing demand from non-technical company leaders across industries to understand how to they can align their long-term business strategies with today’s AI capabilities. This foundational knowledge will only become more important to executives next year, as AI continues to dominate business plans around the globe. We predict Andrew’s latest, AI for Everyone, designed with this challenge top of mind, will join deep technical AI knowledge on next year’s list.
As web and mobile platforms remain ubiquitous, data science persists as a lucrative skill set across industries. McKinsey forecasts that in the coming year, the U.S. will experience a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts who can use big data to make effective decisions. A key lever to accessing those roles is understanding Python as it relates to data science. Predicted to be one of the fastest growing programming languages of 2019, Python is critical for both traditional data roles as well as computer and data science-related jobs in emerging technology sectors like cryptocurrency, information technology, and web development.
Industry applied skills
When it comes to applied skills, the world’s leading experts aren’t just found on university campuses. Coursera also partners with industry leaders like Google, Intel, IBM, and deeplearning.ai to bring to learners high-demand industry skills that complement foundational content from our university partners. Most innovative companies are also becoming committed educators and creating new jobs in the process. A great example is the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. With IT support roles in high demand and expected to grow 10% in the United States by 2026, Google’s Certificate is designed to help anyone, without any prior training or degree, get ready to become an IT Support Specialist in just 8 to 12 months.
Industry skills have emerged as a focus for employers and individual learners alike in recent years. In addition to IT, other industry skills that dominated this year ranged from cloud to blockchain to deep learning. If this year is any indication, demand for industry-backed credentials will continue into next year.
Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026; that’s about 2.4 million new jobs, more than any other occupational group. This year, we partnered with the University of Michigan and the Imperial College of London to launch master’s degree programs that address this growing need. We’re only at the very start of how we can address a massive talent shortage in healthcare. Next year, it’s important that companies and universities alike rally around this sector to help learners around the globe gain the skills they need to fill new jobs.
Learning how to learn
AI, data science, and industry skills may have been the most in-demand this past year, but it’s impossible to know if these same skills will dominate the market in the coming five to ten years. In order to prepare for what we cannot anticipate, we must become lifelong learners. Learning how to learn is the key to lifelong career success in today’s dynamic workforce. Millions of learners around the world have turned to Barbara Oakley’s course on Learning How to Learn to gain foundational learning strategies such as combatting procrastination and enhancing memorization. This knowledge is imperative to gaining entirely new or specialized skill sets today, tomorrow and decades from now.
The conversation around artificial intelligence and automation dominated 2018, bringing with it noisy and totalizing predictions for what the future of work holds for us. As we head into another year of rapid advancement, one prediction feels inarguable: businesses, jobs and, skills are evolving rapidly, and it’s more important than ever to prepare ourselves for this accelerating change.
To learn more, check out our most popular courses of 2018 among Coursera learners.12