Take on the new year with new skills to get ahead

2019 is set to be an exciting year for the changing job market. From augmented reality and machine learning to blockchain technology and AI, companies will be on the search for new talent—but the skills employers are really looking for might surprise you.

While developing your skillset this year, it all comes down to adaptability. Companies will always be hiring for the most cutting-edge technical skills, but it is the combination of hard and soft skills that make you essential. According to Glassdoor’s Annual Job Market Trends Report, nearly half (43 percent) of hires at technical companies were open for nontechnical roles in 2018. Analysts predict the demand for non-technical workers will continue to rise in 2019.

By blending technical and non-technical skills, our online classes are designed to help expand your repertoire and explore new industries. Here are 10 essential skills we’re excited about teaching that will to make you more marketable this year:

1. Analytics

Businesses rely on data to stay informed on everything from performance reports to marketing opportunities. While data is valuable, companies need people who know how to analyze and translate it into useful information. Learning how to interpret analytics with data visualization makes you an asset to any company interested in growth.

2. Coding

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for software developers are projected to grow 24 percent through 2026—much faster than the average occupational growth. Whether you’re interested in app design, systems security, or AR/VR, coding skills open up a wealth of job opportunities that will set you up for a bright (and well-paid) future.

3. UX design

More companies are focused on making their products intuitive and fun to use. User experience (UX) designers are crucial to this task. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Adobe, a whopping 87 percent of hiring managers cited acquiring more UX designers as their top priority. Check out our UX/UI Design Essentials course to learn how to develop a successful, customized design experience.

4. Digital marketing

With the overwhelming amount of online competition out there, a digital marketing strategy is key to getting a competitive edge. Knowing how to develop an online brand and effectively promote it is an invaluable skill set.

5. Mobile app development

77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, and one-in-five American adults are “smart-phone-only” internet users. Far beyond email and GPS maps, new apps help us do everything from ordering coffee in the morning to measuring our sleep at night. This is great news for mobile app developers. With the proliferation of mobile devices out there, app development will continue to be a highly-prized skill.

6. Social media fluency

Social media has become a crucial part of doing business. From marketing to customer engagement, fluency in online branding and social media content marketing will definitely make you stand out. You might also pick up a few networking contacts along the way.

7. Writing

Businesses rely on great content to engage current and potential customers and drive traffic to their websites. The ability to consistently deliver high-quality creative content will open up opportunities in any industry. Having a personal blog is also a great way to stand out against other job candidates.

8. Creativity

Companies are always looking for people who can come up with new ways to solve problems, improve processes, or develop exciting new ideas. Tangible evidence of creative thinking on past projects, both on the job and in your personal work, can give your resume the boost it needs. 

9. Cross-team collaboration

Collaboration is a core value for many companies. A demonstrated ability to coordinate and work effectively with a team will make you a more desirable candidate. Studies show that 75 percent of employers rank teamwork as highly important, meaning they will be looking for this quality in their employees.

10. Versatility

With technology changing at lightning speed, versatility is extremely important. Employees who embrace change and enjoy learning tend to be successful in fast-moving and unpredictable work environments.


To stay competitive, learning on the job or in between jobs is essential. Whether you’d like to learn a new coding language, expand your entrepreneurial skills, or become a digital marketing master—focus on skills that are valuable across industries. To help you get started, Columbia College Chicago Online offers flexible online courses you can complete on your own schedule to build solid foundational skills that stand out year-round.

If you have entrepreneurial ambitions, you can learn self-management skills with our Entrepreneurship for the Gig Economy Professional Certificate. We also offer Professional Certificates in augmented and virtual reality and mobile app development that will help expand your horizons and add eye-catching skills to your resume. For even more options, check out our full course list here.

Read more > How to use data to tell a compelling story