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Jobs 2021: 6 tech skills that could boost your career

Angela Priestley, Women's Agenda
·Contributor
·4-min read
Shot of two men using virtual reality goggles in office. Business partners working in office, standing at a table with VR glasses.
Here are some fast-growing areas of tech. (Source: Getty)

Where do you start when it comes to acquiring some of the key skills in tech that are growing in demand, especially if you have little to no background in tech?

The first step is to start somewhere. And preferably somewhere online, that’s free, straightforward, and can provide a good overview of the subject area.

We’re not short of options when it comes to getting a sample of what’s involved across fast-growing areas of tech.

More from Jobs 2021:

Whether you’re looking to taste test the idea of making a complete career change, or just hoping to get a basic understanding of what these areas entail, you can find a free course for it.

Below are some options.

Game Development

Gaming is now bigger than the music and movie business combined, presenting fascinating work for those involved – but also some great general skills for those looking to simply understand the fundamentals around how games are developed and why they grab our attention.

For an introduction to game development, go and check out Harvard Business Review’s free 12 week course on the topic, at six to nine hours a week.

It promises a taste of how some of your favourite childhood games were created, as well as hands-on projects looking at 2D and 3D graphics, animation, sound and more.

Also take a look at Shaw Academy’s free Diploma in Game Development, offering 32 videos over 16 weeks.

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Getting some basics on AI is not just for engineers, it’s important for everyone in appreciating how the further mainstreaming of this tech will change everything we know about work.

Coursera offers a six hour ‘AI For Everyone’, especially aimed at including non-technical people. It highlights what AI can and can’t do, where to spot AI opportunities in your own organisations and Howe to work with AI teams and build an AI strategy in your company.

Corsera also has AI courses across different fields, as well as courses from IBM and SAS on AI foundations.

Cybersecurity

Those with cybersecurity expertise are set to be in top demand in the future and anyone can benefit from learning some fundamentals on the topic.

You can find a range of paid courses, such as short courses from RMIT University, but you can also get a number of free tasters from online platforms, including from Cybrary, sharing a library of cybersecurity study materials.

Start a free online account, and you can start accessing up to 500 courses, ranked by difficulty, including their five hour Introduction to IT & Cybersecurity.

Natural Language Processing

NLP is at the intersection of how computers interpret and analyse human language, and it’s a field that’s growing, especially given the rise of virtual assistants like Alexa.

Codecademy offers a key introductory course, demonstrating the key NLP concepts and working with students to develop a Python chatbox.

Data analytics

Being able to make sense of large amounts of data will continue to be a key priority for organisations, and they’ll need people to help – or at least to have a general understanding on how data analytics works.

There are numerous free courses in this space, ranging from Harvard Business Review to Coursera, as well as learning materials from the key tech players including Google and Amazon.

To start simply, check out LinkedIn’s range of data analytics courses on its learning platform – where you’ll find a huge range from beginner to advanced, but may want to start with Data Analytics for Students by Madecraft.

User Experience Design

UX design came up as one of LinkedIn’s top five in-demand skills in 2020, with more organisations looking to build up the design teams that create meaningful experiences for users across their products.

You can get a sample of this area, through free courses, such as CareerFoundry’s six tutorials highlighting what it is, the basics, the different areas of UX and the skills you’ll need to make a career shift into this area.

General Assembly offers a more comprehensive introduction to UX design, outlining some of the fundamental tools and techniques used by professional designers.

This is part nine of our Jobs 2021 series, where Yahoo Finance is exploring how to succeed in the next decade: earn more, lead better and win in the next decade of work.

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