The most popular university courses in Singapore tend to be business and engineering. Sometimes it seems like more than half the people I know studied one of those two courses.
Recently, LinkedIn published a list of the 25 hottest skills in the marketplace in 2013 based on some 259 LinkedIn member profiles. And guess what? It seems tech skills are once again in high demand.
Of course, you’ll have to take these findings with a pinch of salt, since anyone who uses LinkedIn regularly will tell you that it’s particular popular with programmers and tech entrepreneurs.
Still, the above list signals a sea change in the employment landscape. Here are a couple of tips to take away from all this.
1. A computing degree will pay off
University students looking for a degree that will pay off in the long run but that isn’t going to be as limiting as a professional degree like medicine or law might do well to consider computing, computer science or computer engineering.
The thing about most professional degrees is that once you leave the profession you might be left with few transferrable skills. More than half of the lawyers and accountants I’ve met have considered a more fulfilling and less demanding career but lamented their lack of skills in anything else.
On the other hand, tech skills will go a long way. One great thing about having sound technical skills is that they largely speak for themselves. Potential employers are more concerned about your portfolio than which school you went to or the fact that you were rugby captain in secondary school.
2. Marketing and communications are still useful, but you have to be tech savvy
If you’re working in a non-technical field like marketing, don’t worry, your job isn’t exactly about to be taken over by robots just yet. But know that becoming more tech savvy will increase your employability in the industry considerably.
The fact that social media marketing is #1 on the list and digital and online marketing #7 speaks volumes about the types of jobs businesses are looking to fill.
Lynn, a 30-year-old Singaporean marketing manager based in Shanghai, says that social media skills and an understanding of digital marketing techniques like SEO are essential at her job. Part of her job includes maintaining the company’s WeChat account in line with their social media marketing strategy, as well as working closely with SEO experts engaged by the company.
As a marketing exec in Singapore, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to maintain the company’s website, manage its social media accounts or improve its SEO. Those who intend to venture into the marketing, communications and PR industries would do well to acquire at least a basic knowledge of social media strategy.
3. A lot of the market’s most desirable skills can be picked up on your own
If you’re already bemoaning the fact that you have a general degree and not much else, the good news is that there’s really no need to take out a loan in order to go back to university.
Acquiring tech skills isn’t like trying to learn how to perform heart surgery in your bathroom. Sure, it’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable and won’t kill you.
In fact, many people I know working in the tech industry today are self-taught. Many programmers I’ve met started learning programming as a hobby even before entering university. If a 15 year old boy can learn to program, nothing’s stopping you from doing the same.
Here are some resources that will get you started.
- Rails Guides – Learn Ruby on Rails, which is behind Groupon and Airbnb
- Google Python Class – Learn Python
How do you intend to make yourself more marketable? Let us know in the comments!
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