The 8 most in-demand skills for 2020

With 2020 being only less than a month away, the ending of 2019 is bound to bring up a lot of self-reflection and contemplation. For one, this December doesn’t just signal the end of a year, but also the end of the decade. Undoubtedly, ‘new year resolutions’ for 2020 are going to be a bit more significant. 

A 2019 study undertaken by Hays Recruitment shows that only 37% of employees are putting the effort to actively enhance their professional skills. With this in mind, it is a perfect time to start thinking about the most valuable skills that will pay off in the next few years with promotion, a higher salary or more interesting responsibilities.

According to CIO magazine, upskilling in AWS Cloud technology can lead to a 19.3% pay boost, while honing data science skills might result in a solid 15.2% increase. And while each job may be different, we’ve done our research and identified eight recurring skills that are most in-demand, regardless of the industry you are in. Might this just be the push you need? 

1. Artificial Intelligence

In recent years, we have seen many large global banks jump headlong into their automation and AI-related initiatives. JP Morgan reportedly had a tech budget in 2018 for 10.8 billion, with almost half of it set aside for AI investments. 

With the increasing trend of AI penetrating the financial industry, it is no doubt that understanding Artificial Intelligence makes out to be one of the most valuable technical skills for 2020. Fret not, this does not mean that you need to learn how to build an AI software overnight. Ideally, understanding AI simply means knowing the foundations of AI enough to make business decisions. Some topics we can recommend include: how to deploy AI in a financial organisation, the ethics of AI in business, as well as regulation technologies.

2. Coding

To put it simply, coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave in a way that you want it to. Learning how to code teaches you a lot about the intricacies of how software, websites and apps work.

In the 21st century, we are witnessing an increasing intersection between the creative fields and technology. Even if you consider yourself to be somewhat more “right-brained” and artistic, learning the fundamentals of coding can help provide new perspectives on your craft… And open up more job possibilities!

3. Data Science

It is difficult to write a list of the best skills to learn for the future and not include data science. With the rapid digitalisation and expanding technology usage, the data we collect has also increased significantly. While analytics are bound to become even more important over the next few years, data analytics are already being used in various industries, such as finance, insurance, aviation, marketing and many more. 

An ability to understand, present and make data-driven decisions is a highly transferable skill that can put you at the forefront of the talent competition.

4. Blockchain

A 2019 Deloitte report shows that 53% of respondents surveyed said that blockchain technology has become a critical component in their organisation. This is particularly true for industries such as finance and insurance. 

In order to reap the benefits of blockchain, it is necessary to first understand what blockchain technology entails. Some of the advantages it can bring to a business include increased transparency, security and financial efficiency.

5. Cloud Computing

Ever wanted to pick up a skill that has the potential to boost your credentials and CV? If so, then cloud computing might be the answer for you. 

In the past few years, the cloud computing market has grown exponentially. Industry analysts have reported that the rate of which it is expanding is at a 22.8 percent CAGR. Consequently, the ability to utilise and architect cloud has become highly in-demand. However, research has shown that while 42% of companies are looking to hire for cloud computing skills, a significant 43% of these companies are having trouble finding people with the cloud computing skills they require.

6. Entrepreneurship

A research done by Business Matters shows that 82% of young adults want to be an entrepreneur. This comes as no surprise, running your own business can be an exciting affair. However, even for individuals untempted by the allure of being their own boss, the ability to be entrepreneurial is still a very important skill to learn in the pursuit of career growth.

Entrepreneurs are ambitious, determined, resourceful and they take ownership over their own work. All of these characteristics when applied to an employee — be it within a start-up or a large organisation — can be highly advantageous. 

7. Design Thinking

Maybe you’ve heard of ‘design thinking’ in passing, maybe you even thought of it as just one of those buzzwords that are thrown around a lot. Well, design thinking for a product actually refers to the process that aims to gain a deep understanding of the problems that the target audience faces. This is done by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways. 

A common misconception about design thinking is that it falls under the sole jurisdiction of designers. This is not true, it is actually widely adopted within the science, engineering and business industries, to name a few. In fact, some of the world’s leading brands such as Apple, Google and Amazon can attribute their success to design thinking. 

8. Collaboration 

It goes without saying that a critical aspect of people management also includes collaboration and coordinating with others. After all, the modern-day workplace involves a lot of teamwork. Design thinking, for example, is a process that is a highly collaborative one. 

Furthermore, the ability to collaborate plays a key role in the art of people management. Consequently, people management is especially important for job positions that are ranked at the senior level. When it comes to securing a promotion or getting a better salary, ‘collaboration’ and ‘people management’ definitely rank high on the list of best skills to develop. Don’t forget, in order to a good leader, you must first be a good team-player.


With ‘new year resolutions’ in mind, there is possibly nothing quite as worthwhile as kicking off the new decade by investing in yourself, especially when it comes to your career.

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With experts from Citi, Oxford University, Google AI and Ping An, the courses are curated for the industry, by the industry.

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