It used to be that one highly specialized skill set could set you up for a comfortable, secure living — a through knowledge of Excel, for example, may have differentiated you as an analytical expert, while a solid grasp of visual editing software could nearly guarantee you a position in design. But in today’s tech-forward world, it may not suffice to be a master of just one trade.
Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports have shown a decrease in pay for tech jobs and trades that rely on primarily one skill, such as java developers (down 0.1 percent year-over-year to $75,124) and web developers (down 0.9 percent to $64,150). On the other hand, positions that are multifaceted in nature and require proficiency in a variety of areas are seeing healthy growth, as is the case with job titles like solutions architect (up 3.7 percent to $102,184), web designer (up 3.4 percent to $51,767) and software engineer (up 2.7 percent to $85,806).
“The reports show that more sophisticated technology jobs like solutions architects and web designers are increasingly in demand because their mix of hard and soft skills allow them to navigate today’s fast-changing tech landscape. As the need for single-skilled developers like java developers and web developers has waned, so has wage growth for those positions,” said Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain.
In a lot of ways, it makes sense. Today’s steady drumbeat of technological innovation means that new platforms and products designed to improve our efficiency and efficacy are popping up left and right, and employers increasingly expect us to take advantage of them — often, employers cite a skills gap as a major hurdle to hiring. Add to that the fact that automation appears to be a looming threat for traditionally middle-class, white collar jobs, and it’s increasingly important for today’s job seekers to begin skill stacking. But where exactly should you start?
1. Identify Your Priorities
You can’t possibly learn every skill there is out there, but you can do some research to help narrow down your shortlist. Look into which skills employers are looking for today, focusing on what might be of interest to you and in particular, the value of each skill. For instance, Glassdoor recently found that mastering Python, R and SQL can lead to a salary of $110k or higher.
2. Take Classes…
Once you’ve identified the skills you want to hone, you may want to consider taking a few classes to brush up on them. You can do this in-person at a local community college, trade school or university, or check out some online courses. Platforms like Skillshare, Coursera, edX, Code Academy and Udemy offer a convenient and cost-effective way to learn from home (or wherever you choose to work). Try getting started with these courses: 250 Ivy League Courses You Can Take Online For Free.
3. …Or Learn on the Job
Not a classroom type? That’s okay — for some, the best form of learning is doing. And if you work at the right company, you might be able to level up your skill set and get paid for it at the same time. Look into whether or not your company offers an educational stipend or tuition reimbursement program, or consider one of these 9 Companies That Offer Incredible Professional Development Programs.
The bottom line? The labor market is changing, but that doesn’t have to mean that you get left behind. If you’re intellectually curious and proactive about learning new things, there are plenty of opportunities for you to expand your areas of expertise and ensure that you become an irresistible candidate or irreplaceable employee.