When it comes to resumé skills, there are two main categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are quantifiable, teachable abilities that you gain through training or experience — think coding or graphic design. Soft skills are subjective and often hard to quantify — these are your interpersonal skills like communication and problem-solving. To stay relevant, your skill set must evolve with the market.
In the current job environment, some of the most career-ready job skills are related to the digital world. For example, digital marketing, blockchain competency and network management are valuable tech-related skills that make a resumé more attractive to employers.
Having a mix of hard and soft skills can help those looking to break into a new profession or enhance their career. Here, we sit down with J.L. Graff, an associate dean in the College of Business and Information Technology at University of Phoenix, to see what may be missing from your resumé.
Technical skills are a specific set of abilities that are needed to carry out particular tasks or jobs. These are industry-specific and usually acquired through formal education, training or on-the-job experience. They are tangible, practical and often quantifiable.
For example, coding and technical writing are technical skills that focus on specific aspects of computer science. These contrast with soft skills, which are more general, subjective and often related to your personality or how you relate to others.
Both types of skills are valuable, but they serve different functions and applications in the workplace. Having a good balance of both technical and soft skills is key.
Digital design encompasses many aspects of creating digital products, such as graphic design and real-world products with digital features. Understanding user interface and user experience is also important to truly master this skill.
For instance, designers may create webpages, mobile apps or a digital product’s user interface. This can include anything from a banner ad to a complex e-commerce website.
Many careers, such as in web design, animation and advertising, involve some sort of digital design. No two employers will be looking for the same combination of skills, but a general understanding of the tools and techniques involved in digital design is essential.
Relevant degree and certificate programs can provide an excellent foundation for developing digital design skills. Degrees in computer science, engineering, programming or graphic design can help you get started in this field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Likewise, certificate programs such as coding boot camps and UX/UI design courses are ways to acquire the needed skills.
Data analysis is the process of inspecting, cleaning, transforming and modeling data to discover useful information, identify trends, draw conclusions and support decision-making. It’s essential to many roles, from entrepreneurs and marketing professionals to product managers and data scientists.
For example, data analysts might need to examine a company’s sales figures or customer feedback to identify trends or decide how to market a product. With their findings, they can make recommendations to upper management on how to optimize operations or increase revenue.
“Data analysis is used in myriad industries, but it can also be used in your personal life,” Graff notes. “If you are interested in improving your health, finances or managing your busy schedule, data analysis can help you accomplish those objectives. Many apps and tools exist to analyze your data to spot trends, unlock new or overlooked insights and suggest actions you can take to improve the situation.”
A Bachelor of Science in Data Science helps students gain a solid understanding of collecting, processing and analyzing large data sets, data engineering, machine learning, statistics and more.
Certification programs focusing on analytics are also options for those looking to build their foundational knowledge. (Note: These are external programs not supported by or prepared for at University of Phoenix.)
Gaining these skills is essential for many tech jobs. For instance, software developers use programming languages to create and maintain software products, and web designers use them to build interactive websites.
Other roles that require programming skills include:
One way to learn programming is through a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. This degree provides a solid basis in various programming languages and computer systems. Alternatively, the Scripted and Compiled Programming Languages Certificate can provide specialized knowledge in particular programming languages more suitable for specific jobs.
Software proficiency refers to knowing how to use specific software required for a job. For example, data analysts must have a solid understanding of SQL (Structured Query Language) for retrieving and manipulating data. Other job roles, such as content creators or graphic designers, must also use specific software, such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign.
Many online information technology degrees focus on specific skills you need to become a software developer. Additionally, shorter certificate programs focusing on specific software programs, such as Microsoft 365, can be helpful options for those who want to quickly acquire proficiency for their chosen job.
Cybersecurity involves protecting computer systems and networks from theft, damage or unauthorized access. This skill is in high demand for roles such as cybersecurity analysts, IT specialists and network administrators.
These roles require skills like:
A Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity is a popular degree program related to this skill. It helps students gain an understanding of how to protect computer networks from threats and offers in-depth knowledge of cybersecurity concepts and tools.
Health information management is the practice of maintaining patient health records, ensuring they are safe and organized. Roles like health information manager and healthcare data analyst rely on skills inherent to this field.
For example, a health information manager must understand the systems and regulations that support patient care, such as HIPAA.
With this in mind, a degree in health information technology can lay the foundation for health information management skills, while online master’s degrees in information technology and a Health Information Systems Certificate can deepen your expertise.
You’ll learn how to:
Overall, specialized courses and degree programs help you cultivate necessary knowledge and skills. Take advantage of all the resources you can; this way, you’ll ensure you have the most up-to-date knowledge in the field to stay competitive.