Important Hard Skills to Develop in 2024

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As we prepare to start a recent yr, international students could also be desirous about skills they need to develop. Below, we’ll give attention to hard skills, also referred to as technical skills. Wondering how to tell if something is a technical, or hard skill? A hard skill is something that’s typically job-specific and measurable. Investopedia further defines hard skills as “learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education.” Some examples of “hard skills” include programming languages, data evaluation, or graphic design. Read on to learn which of them made our list of vital hard skills for 2024!

Tip: While “hard skills” are typically job-specific, “soft skills” are interpersonal, and include examples like teamwork, communication, and leadership.   

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Cybersecurity

In their list of hard skills to construct in 2024, Forbes highlights cybersecurity. More and more organizational data is stored digitally, whether on local servers or in the cloud. This could make services and data vulnerable to electronic attacks like hacking or phishing. 

Whether it’s patient information, bank card numbers, or public utility security, cybersecurity is crucial to a wide range of industries. (Cloud computing also made the 2024 Forbes list, highlighting the necessity for workers who may also help corporations shift data from physical records or local storage to a cloud service.) As such, recent grads with the power to keep company data protected, and who can train others in cybersecurity can be wanted.

Programs at each university and college levels specialize in cybersecurity. The program you select may change which roles you’re eligible for. For example, a shorter certification may qualify you for a junior cybersecurity analyst or IT support specialist role, where university graduates develop into cybersecurity architects and forensic data managers. Some computer science graduates also move into cybersecurity roles.

The National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council shares one other good thing about constructing these skills, noting: “technologically literate people will tend to be more comfortable dealing with technologies that their jobs demand and will find it easier to master new technologies as they come along.” This adaptability has the ripple effect of helping people feel connected with their work and community, improving their quality of life.

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Data Science and Analytics

Although some may have a look at this skill and wonder the way it relates to their future profession, the power to have a look at collected data and make corresponding decisions is something that is helpful in most disciplines. To best understand data science, students must have a robust foundation in math, statistics, and programming. To higher apply data in a business setting, an understanding of business concepts from recruitment to risk mitigation is useful.

As businesses collect more data, and as generative AI tools create data faster, data scientists are in more demand than ever. These team members may also help to prevent fraud, minimize risk to the business, improve customers’ experiences, and be certain that the best product is being sold at the best time to its ideal customer.

Considering a profession in data and business analytics? Our Careers of Tomorrow post can assist you to assess which university and program is perhaps right to your studies.

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Generative Artificial Intelligence

Although generative artificial intelligence (Generative AI) has many uses, using its capabilities to solve problems is where recent grads can really shine. Usually, careers in developing AI requires data science and analytics knowledge, in addition to software engineering, statistics, and computer programming skills. However, generative AI engines, like ChatGPT, Bard, or Jasper are getting used across industries by individuals with many various sorts of qualifications to speed up content creation, run chatbots, and even check math proofs. 

Did You Know? Strong communications skills are a key strength when using these tools: prompting the AI with essentially the most effective language, as quickly as possible, has led to unexpected partnerships between tech corporations and poets

Want to construct generative AI tools? To get the abilities you’ll need, start with an undergraduate degree in a field like computer science or math. Higher-ranking roles may require a postgraduate degree in a related subject. Other roles may involve constructing ethical guidelines into AI models, where a legal background is useful, or using a background in the humanities or humanities to improve the standard of generative AI tools’ output.

Employers also search for candidates who show personal initiative. So, joining events like hackathons may also help your resume stand out when in search of an internship, or when applying to full-time roles as a recent grad. 

How can work-integrated learning construct your profession? Here’s how co-ops, internships, work placements, and more may also help.

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Talent Acquisition and Retention

Many businesses are specializing in maintaining and growing their workforce. So, grads with talent acquisition and retention skills can be in high demand. Human resources (HR) professionals who can use data to address hiring gaps, develop worker wellness strategies, and interact candidates and existing employees remotely will excel in the yr to come, as corporations proceed to compete for top candidates.

To work in talent acquisition, most corporations require an undergraduate degree in human resources, business, finance, or communication. Experience in operations or customer support can also be helpful for constructing an understanding of business principles and strategy. Students who’re perceptive and empathetic may excel in these HR roles.

Which trends shaped international education this yr? From interest in health studies to greater give attention to employability, our ApplyInsights team shares key trends.

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Sustainability Skills

Rising up the ranks on a variety of top-skills lists is sustainability literacy. As the world clocks its hottest yr on record, corporations are in search of employees who may also help their organization decrease its ecological footprint, while staying competitive. Understanding how to guide a business towards a net-zero goal is becoming essential for a lot of corporations.

Wondering how to train for a profession in sustainability? Many fields of study might be helpful. For example, a background in engineering could lead on you to a job where you’re designing tools to prevent groundwater runoff, or improve lively transportation options. Studying political science or other humanities could prepare you to work with cities developing sustainability plans. Many business programs also include a specialization in sustainability. Alternatively, a law degree can prepare you to tackle a few of our planet’s biggest challenges as sustainability regulations evolve.


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Of course, these are only a brief list of key hard skills to develop as a global student in 2024. Many skills employers seek are more transferable from role to role, and include things like communication skills and project management. We’ve counted them down in our other post on top “soft skills” or interpersonal skills to develop in 2024.

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