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Published on July 5, 2021

Learning New Skills: 10 In-Demand Skills To Learn Online

Learning New Skills: 10 In-Demand Skills To Learn Online
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The world evolves around us faster than ever before. Technology, medicine, our understanding of human behavior, and psychology—these are some of the many fields making giant leaps year over year. In that context, it’s pretty evident that our initial formal education is no longer enough to sustain our place in this fast-paced world, which makes learning new skills more important than ever.

That is why it’s critical not only to identify those fields and skills that are in high demand in general but also to be very specific at matching those skills with your strengths and existing knowledge. By extending that already-present base, you give yourself a chance to quickly step forward and grow so you can keep up with the pace.

But it’s also a great idea to look above and beyond your circle of comfort. Many skills might seem intimidating at first because they appear too daunting and outside of your comfort zone. You might be scared of even thinking about them because you are afraid that you might find yourself stuck or fail if you start on that road.

Here’s the good news: everyone has those thoughts, and you did, too, before. You had them in first grade about reading and in fifth grade about algebra. Everything new in life was scary at some point. Once you realize that, taking on a new field won’t seem so intimidating.

There’s such a myriad of skills out there, and many of them are in high demand. By allocating time, learning new skills, and putting deliberate efforts into tackling one or more of these fields, you give yourself an extra chance to uncover new passions in life. Along with that, you might find new ways to earn a living or simply live a more purposeful and fulfilling life.

Below are ten skills you can easily tackle with online courses, whether live or self-paced. Each one of them is in high demand today in different ways. When learning new skills, you don’t have to try them all. Instead, chose the ones that resonate more with you, and go for them!

1. Writing

When people hear about writing, they immediately think about authoring novels or non-fiction books. But there’s a lot more to writing than that. You probably write every day—at your job, when you post something on Facebook, or when you write an email, personal or not. Writing is everywhere, and enhancing this skill will improve your communication in all aspects of life.

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Some of the best areas of writing you can easily sharpen with an online course are brevity and clarity, grammar, structure, and formatting. Just remember that your personal selling tool—your resume—is also in writing. The better you are at it, the more chances you give it to stand out.

2. Foreign Languages

Globalization is here to stay, and the more our civilization evolves, the more the cultural boundaries begin to merge. That is not in the sense of muddling those boundaries or experiencing a loss of self but in the sense of combining toward betterment.

Cultures bond and borrow the good from one another while also learning from each other’s experiences and perspectives. That’s why learning a foreign language will put you ahead of the pack. In addition, scientific research has shown that learning a second language improves your brain and critical thinking.[1]

3. Coding

For most people who haven’t dabbed into computer programming, the word coding is just as scary as a spacewalk. It sounds alien and downright impossible to grasp. The reality is that today’s coding is no longer the cryptic assembly language where you had to learn how to speak in the dialect of the computer chip. Today, programming languages are more approachable because they employ visual editors and use words closer to our natural language to describe the available functions and variables.

Most code editors are free, and there are dozens of free online courses for all levels that can teach you the basics of programming languages, such as PHP, C#, Javascript, or Visual Basic. With guided tutorials where you get to program side by side with the teacher, you’ll be able to write your first “Hello, World!” program in no time.

4. Design

Design is everywhere around us, and it influences our choices, our decisions, and our actions. Someone designed the website and the article you’re reading right now. Someone else designed the monitor you’re looking at and the chair you’re sitting in. You acquired those items because of their functional value, on the one hand, but also based on their look and feel.

When you learn how to adapt your work visually to make it more appealing, you gain a skill that will set you apart from the rest. It can be as simple as learning how to design Powerpoint presentations better or make beautiful Excel charts. It could be learning how to format your resume in a pleasing way to the eye or create a color scheme for your blog that will make people want to hang around to read it.

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Design can be complicated, but its basics are not. With a few online classes, you can easily brush your knowledge of design, start applying it to your job or hobbies, and make your work stand out.

5. Data Analysis

According to Statista, by 2025, we can expect to have about 180 zettabytes of digital data.[2] If that doesn’t mean much, know that one zettabyte is the equivalent of one billion hard drives of one terabyte each or the amount of all grains of sand on all the world’s beaches. That sounds scary, but it’s reality. The world is moving at light speed toward more and more data every day.

Everything that ever existed in an analog form is being converted to digital, and this process will continue and accelerate. That is why learning how to understand data, analyze it, and draw conclusions from it is a crucial skill that will be more and more in demand.

The great thing is that the basic methods and systems to analyze data can be understood and learned from online courses and books and then applied to any amount of data that comes your way. With improved data analysis skills, you’ll make better judgments at your job or even use that knowledge in some areas of your personal life, such as investing.

6. Presentation

Presentation skills are more than just a beautiful Powerpoint presentation. They are a combination of speaking, visualization, and personality. When you present something, a part of your presentation comes from the material you prepared (text, visual, audio), and another part comes from you, the presenter. Getting a good grip on both aspects will make you a more effective presenter.

This kind of skill is applicable at your job and in other situations where you might be required to present. Maybe it’s a seminar you are teaching or a speech you have to make in the context of a community you are a part of. Either way, there are dozens of courses available online that will help you polish these skills and start using them in the real world. Combining design skills with presentation and communication skills is a killer combination that will truly catapult you ahead of the pack.

7. Sales

From the moment we apply to college until our last job, we never stop selling. We constantly sell our skills, knowledge, and ideas to those around us. Learning how to sell means improving your expertise in many other areas, such as communication, reading and understating other people, persuasion, and presentation.

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Improving your selling skills will also help sharpen your negotiation skills. You can apply those in your day-to-day life, even in personal situations such as buying a new car or a new house. When you learn sales, you improve how you listen and talk to people, how to present your ideas clearly and concisely, and how to be more persuasive.

It doesn’t matter what kind of profession you have, you’re always selling something, which is why improving your sales skills will give you a critical edge everywhere in the world.

8. Artificial Intelligence

I know that artificial intelligence sounds like you’d be building robots ready to take over the world, but it’s not that—at least not for the time being.

Artificial Intelligence refers to using machines—or computers, in this case—and leveraging their massive computation power to analyze large data sets, identify patterns, and predict the evolution of different phenomena. Although the field itself is exceptionally vast and can get very complicated, there are areas of artificial intelligence that you can grasp from online courses and use in your day-to-day job to improve your effectiveness.

Machine learning algorithms consume data and apply different patterns to predict and estimate the future. These become very important if your job involves data and future uncertainty. You probably won’t be able to use this to win the lottery, but it will help you in your career and, perhaps, even in some hobbies.

9. Video Production

Obviously, video is not new. What is new is that with a relatively simple piece of software, you can edit a clip taken with your phone and make it look as professional as any true professional would do. You can see this phenomenon on YouTube and other video platforms out there where the users drive the content.

Video editing and production are no longer restricted to large studios and lots of employees. Some of the most successful YouTube creators use a camera, a microphone, and a laptop, and the results are fantastic.

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Having this skill under your belt will not only set you apart when it comes to your profession, but it will also allow you to branch out into other hobbies, such as vlogging or taking interviews.

10. Mobile App Development

“There’s an app for that” is no longer a cliché saying because it’s almost true. As of 2020, there were more than four million apps available for download between Google Play and the Apple Store. That’s an impressive number. If you search for just about anything and add the word “app” at the end, you’re bound to find an app that does that.

That means that wherever you go and whatever you do, there will always be a need to create and use apps. The great news is that the app development industry realized this long ago and worked hard to make it effortless for developers to create apps. Nowadays, some simple drag-and-drop editors will produce an app that can work across multiple platforms in just a few clicks. Within a few hours of an online course, you could be building your very first mobile app.

It could be something for your hobbies, your own business, or even something you can propose at your current job. Just having that skill on your resume will open many more doors and open you up to many more opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Life is a never-ending circle of accumulating knowledge, followed by applying that knowledge in the real world and gaining insights and wisdom in the process. Skills are the building blocks of your performance. Although it’s never a good idea to do and try to be everything at once, you should always attempt to learn new skills that are in high demand, even if they are outside of your comfort zone.

Maybe you won’t tackle them all. Perhaps you’ll never become the master of any, but just the sheer fact that you start learning will give you a chance to discover new things that you could grow to love. That’s how passions get built, so why not attempt to find passions in things that are already in demand?

You’d only give yourself an extra chance to succeed in your profession and personal life.

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More Practical Skills to Equip Yourself With

Featured photo credit: Lagos Techie via unsplash.com

Reference

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Iulian Ionescu

Passionate about self-growth and productivity

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done
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Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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