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Digital Economy: Top 10 Skills for the Future

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By Sunil Chemmankotil, CEO, TeamLease Digital

The ire of COVID-19 is waning and it is with renewed hope that we step into the New Year 2023. As we slowly recover from the uncertainty that engulfed the entire global community during the pandemic, it is time to recalibrate and reinvent ourselves and get back to the business of life and living. The new year offers immense promise for professional growth and development as the digital economy is booming and there is a huge demand for skills revolving around data, and emerging technologies such as AI and automation.

These new-age technologies are all around us and are slowly penetrating our everyday lives as was further corroborated by the finance minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman during her address to IIT Mumbai Alumni Association, “India’s digital economy is expected to witness exponential growth to $800 billion by 2030 on the back of rising internet penetration and increasing income.” Therefore, it would be wise for tech-professionals to hone their expertise and proficiency in these sought-after skills to further expand their horizons. Below is a list of the top 10 skills which are projected to gather demand and popularity in the coming years and thus hold the key to becoming future-ready.

1. Cyber security & Ethical hacking – Cyber Security involves the use of processes, controls, and technologies to protect organizations, systems, and individuals from cyber threats and attacks. In this role, you identify the vulnerabilities in software and hardware infrastructure and strive to mitigate the risk of phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering. Ethical hackers and security analysts are a subset of specialized professionals within cyber security whose sole job is to keep their clients safe and secure. Ethical hacking alone is expected to create 3.5 million jobs globally by 2025, as per a report by Cybersecurity Ventures cited by the New York Times.

2. Blockchain Technology – As digitisation transforms the world, Blockchain offers solutions to several problems by enhancing transparency and security. Blockchain technology is not restricted to just the banking sector or cryptocurrency. On the contrary, it is widely spread across other sectors. The global blockchain technology market size was valued at $5.92 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 86% from 2022 to 2030. Blockchain-driven industries are in search of blockchain developers and engineers as there are few professionals with the requisite skills. Hence, this is a great option for upskilling where one can discover new opportunities for growth.

3. Biotechnology According to research conducted by Invest India, the biotechnology Industry was valued at $80.12bn in 2022, and is expected to reach $150bn by 2025 and $300bn by 2030. This is a booming field that spans across life sciences and technology to offer a wide range of career options in four major industrial areas: health care (medical), crop production and agriculture, non-food (industrial) uses of crops and other products (e.g. biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental uses. The skills required include developing software for industry-specific niche products, setting up processes, managing systems, analyzing data, and testing and research.

4. Business analytics – As businesses strive to remain relevant in a highly competitive world, business analytics professionals are needed to help them wade through a deluge of data to arrive at insights that will chart the path to future growth or enable course correction. The analytics market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 22% during the period 2022-2027 according to marketresearch.com. Business analytics provides the opportunity to work across different sectors and industries where you can apply your skills to understand the increasingly competitive markets and provide solutions across different functions.

5. Cloud computing – Recent forecasts by Gartner predict worldwide spending on public cloud services to increase by nearly 21% from $490.3bn in 2022 to $591.8bn in 2023. Cloud services have been instrumental in helping businesses survive the blitzkrieg of the pandemic. With the rise in demand for cloud technologies, the growth prospects of careers in this field are very bright. One can acquire the education and skills to work as a cloud architect, cloud administrator, and cloud security professional among many other related careers. Individuals with an understanding of cloud infrastructure technologies can up-skill themselves to grow into the cloud and cloud-native technologies.

6. Product management – Industry projections indicate the global product management market will reach $31.84bn by 2025. The product manager is among the key people in an organization who combines the skills of strategy, design, and leadership to plan and execute the product roadmap and lifecycle. These individuals need to inculcate a combination of soft skills and problem-solving capabilities to maintain excellent working relationships with engineering, UX, marketing, sales, and other business divisions.

7. Machine learning – According to Fortune Business Insights, the global ML market is projected to grow to nearly $210bn by 2029, growing at a CAGR of almost 39%. As technology advances further, ML expertise can pave the way for several career options such as machine learning engineer, NLP scientist, research engineer, and machine learning cloud architect. However, there are a few core areas that an individual seeking a job in the machine learning domain must focus on, such as programming skills, statistics, mathematics, and computer science fundamentals. Equipped with these capabilities one can easily transition from software development to machine learning.

8. Digital marketing & SEO – With complete digital transformation on the cards, the future is very bright for this career stream. Good communication skills and the ability to effectively create, optimize, and run marketing campaigns across different channels is the key requirement for this role. In addition, marketers require strong analytical skills to evaluate their marketing reach using Analytics, or other tools. Globally the industry is growing at a CAGR of nearly 18% and is expected to reach a value of over $930bn by 2026. As the role of marketing gains greater prominence in the coming years, marketers can upgrade their skills in sophisticated analytics, and neuromarketing to achieve further growth in this field.

9. Financial management: This role revolves around monitoring the financial health of an organization to maximize profits in line with the long-term goals of the company. As new technologies continue to evolve, it is necessary for aspirants of financial management profiles to develop proficiency in AI, blockchain applications, and big data analytics. India has a thriving FinTech market which is expected to generate $200bn in revenue and $1 trillion in AUM as per a study conducted by EY.

10. Robotics: Robots are the technology of the future and will drive economic growth and productivity to create new career opportunities for many people. A career in robotics combines the use of electronics, mechanics, and coding software to program robots to do particular jobs. Robotics is the future technology expected to encompass all industries in the near future, be it aerospace, medicine, mining, manufacturing, space research, or even gaming. Aside from an understanding of programming languages, one must also cultivate the skills of problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking to excel in this field. The robotics market is projected to reach over US$711mn in 2023.

All of the above professional skills will be in high demand and offer transferability across different jobs and industries. Seeking to build a career across any of these diverse fields and continuing to learn and upgrade yourself within your domain will ensure that you remain relevant throughout your professional life.

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