Top Hard Skills and Soft Skills to Master during the Lockdown

Sumant Joshi | Blog Author
Sumant Joshi June 03, 2020

COVID-19. Pandemic. Lockdown.

Today, these three words are enough to evoke fear and anxiety in the hearts and minds of people across the world, and for good reason. However, while this trifecta of horror comes at an unprecedented time, it also offers several opportunities in terms of doing things differently or even doing different things, the ones that you always put off citing lack of time or whatever favorite reason you had going for you.

As someone working in the online learning industry, I can’t help but pivot the topic towards reskilling, upskilling and continuous learning. So, what’s the fuss all about? Why is learning a new skill suddenly trending? Must we learn something? Can’t we just enjoy this lockdown and ride it out in peace?

All are valid questions indeed. And, the answer you give to every one of those questions will inevitably decide the way you spend your time during the lockdown. Now, as global employees continue onwards their remote working journeys, many of you must have noticed a slight rise in the number of ads you see for online courses, be it on social media, on Google or your favorite Blogs; which means there is an obvious demand for online learning, and thus the beginning of a trend. So, from the hundreds of trends that emerge out of the bottomless pit that is the Internet, this might just be the one that really adds value to your life, career or personal growth.

Remember all those times you wondered - ‘I must learn this.. this is something I would love to learn..’. Well, this is the time to do it, especially if you’re looking to further you career, achieve personal growth or simply trying to cope with the uncertainty of this fast-changing business environment. Whatever the reason, as long as it drives you to acquire a new skill, it is worthwhile.

Besides, a trend means you’re not alone. More and more people around the world are making use of this time to build their skills. Learning platforms like Coursera, edX are already reporting an increase in the number of enrolments, which offer massive open online courses or Moocs; while more and more businesses are taking this opportunity to develop their employees’ skills for the future of work, be it digital literacy, advanced tools like AI or simple behavioral skills that will help make the (remote) workplace more productive and sustainable in the long term.  

While employers are offering both hard skills and soft skills training to their workforce to ensure a balance of professional development as well as personal development, let’s take a look at some of the in-demand skills out there today.

Hard Skills:

  • Artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a must-have technology for businesses worldwide, and thus the demand for AI skills has skyrocketed. Tools like Chatbots, deep learning algorithms, recommendation engines etc. are already augmenting the way people work and live, and businesses want individuals with the skills like machine learning, data science and other related topics to leverage this technology.

  • Blockchain

Surely you’ve heard about cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. But, you may not know that Blockchain technology is what makes Bitcoin tick. Blockchain is one of the most cutting-edge fin-tech trends out there today. Mastering Blockchain could lead to meteoric rise in one’s career and be highly sought-after by global employers.

  • Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is, in many ways, the future of the corporate sector. Most enterprise solutions, SaaS products etc. leverage the power of the Cloud to deliver their services to businesses worldwide, and it has become an efficient and cost-effective way to deliver several services, including data hosting, analytics and more.

Soft Skills:

  • Communication

Strong communication skills are critical in almost every aspect of life, be it at the workplace or in the household. Strictly from a business POV, communication is the bedrock on which all functions reside to achieve any business objective, and having excellent communication skills is not only an essential characteristic for employees, but also leaders and managers.

  • Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the most in-demand skills for businesses today, especially in terms of leadership development. It plays an all important role in the workplace, be it collaborating with colleagues, bettering interpersonal communications, or handling stress and driving productivity.

  • Critical Thinking

While critical thinking is a key skill for professionals like engineers, data scientists, analysts, lawyers, doctors etc., in today’s evolving workplaces, it has become an absolute must-have for almost every business function. No wonder why the World Economic Forum touts critical thinking as one of the most sought-after skills for businesses in 2020.

There is no way around the fact that evolving workplaces WILL demand newer skillsets from the employees, as the skills employees have today may not be relevant tomorrow, which is why it becomes business-critical for companies to adopt a continuous learning culture to consistently go after the latest trends and in-demand skills to gain the desired competitive advantage.

Explore our wide range of Solutions to learn how Plethora can help you offer the most in-demand skills to your workforce.