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According to the recent European Commission report, digital skills are required in all types of jobs in 2021. This applies even to the economic sectors that are not traditionally related to digitization, such as farming, health care, construction, or vocational training. In the EU, having at least basic digital skills is required in 98% of the workplaces for managers and 90% for other professionals (doctors, teachers, lawyers, technicians, and so on). However, the study also shows that 15% of companies report the lack of those skills, and around 88% do not take any action to tackle the issue.

Proper education and training is the key solution to this problem. The question is, though: which digital skills play the most important role in today's job market and are worth both your time and effort?

Let's have a look at the top 5 digital skills to learn in 2021.

5 digital competencies employers crave for

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is quite a broad term, encompassing any marketing-related activity performed on the e-channels. It definitely is the most discussed form of marketing in the 21st century. According to LinkedIn, it's one of the most desirable hard skills in 2021 too. 

Facts speak for themselves: the global spending on digital marketing reaches $389 billion in 2021, and the numbers keep increasing. In the US, social media budgets alone have grown from $15.63 billion in 2016 to $48.94 in 2021 (it is expected to hit $56.85 billion in 2022). Besides, the US Small Business Administration recommends companies spend 50% of their marketing budget on digital marketing, but one can expect businesses to allocate even more funds for it. And for a good reason.

Digital marketing offers unprecedented levels of personalization: digital ads reach the right audience at the right time and place, making it way more effective and impactful than traditional advertising.

So if you feel like the time to upskill has come, digital marketing may be one of the best choices for you out there. Depending on your interests, those are the fields that you can focus on: search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, marketing analytics, only to name a few.


Most people think that coding is meant only for the super tech geeks and professionals in the field — this is not entirely true though. Nowadays, many other industries require coding skills, too, including digital marketing, quality assurance, compliance, and others.

Getting started with coding may seem like a mission impossible at first, but have no fear! Despite a common belief that it is a highly technical and logic-based career, it is also very creative and fun to learn. Of course, learning coding will require time and commitment (as any other subject would), but you can grasp the basics of it quite quickly. We would recommend those four most versatile and efficient programming languages as your starting point:

  • Java. Java has been a staple for the development professionals for years. It runs easily across multiple platforms and is used in a lot of popular sites such as Google, Facebook, or Youtube.
  • Python. It is often said to be the easiest programming language to learn. Pinterest and Instagram are among the applications built with Python.
  • C++. It's usually taught as the first language for computer science students. Even if it's considered more academic, C++ is still quite widely used (Google, Amazon, and others).
  • Ruby. Just like Python, Ruby is pretty easy to learn. It's used in web apps and on Twitter (together with other languages).

Coding skills present endless opportunities and will be highly lucrative and sought-after in the years to come. According to the U.S. News & World Report ranking, software developer jobs are the number one in the tech industry in the US today, and their median salary in the country amounts to $107,510 (and is still growing). So what are you waiting for?

Data analysis

Peter Sondergaard, the former EVP of Gartner, the world's leading research and advisory company, once said, "Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine." He couldn't have been more right. Data analysis has been one of the fastest-growing industries in recent years, and it comes as no surprise to us.

Lots of data is being collected from all our digital touchpoints every day, and knowing how to use it to one's advantage is a powerful tool in numerous fields: such as supply chain management, compliance, digital marketing, and even healthcare. So in the future, data analysis won't just benefit data scientists themselves, but it will also become a crucial part of many other professions.

The main tools of data analysis include the following: R Programming, Tableau, SQL, and Excel, among others. Some of them, such as Tableau, help you identify the trends and get insights via visual analytics, while programs like Excel allow you to manage your data. The key purpose of these tools is to find meaning in data and make informed decisions based on that afterward.

Our piece of advice is a simple one: find out what are the most common analytical tools in your industry, master them, and you'll grow your career to the next level in no time.

Project management

The Project Management Institute expects 22 million new project management job openings through 2027. Project managers are needed in IT, business service, oil and gas, finance and insurance, manufacturing, construction, and many more fields worldwide.

It is a highly demanding career path: it requires both excellent soft and hard skills to succeed. Studying does help prospective project managers gain the skills needed for their job, but in the fast-paced world that we live in today, it is far from being enough. Those professionals also need life skills, which are rarely taught at schools, such as communication, teamwork, and ethics. Project managers must learn new things all the time and refresh their knowledge in the industry they are working for.

The opportunities for career advancement are very appealing: experienced and specialized project managers can expect double the entry-level salary (the median income of a junior project manager in the US in 2021 is $70,000) or even more. In addition to this, they can make a real difference in the company and are some of the best candidates to become CEOs. There are plenty of reasons for that: project managers deal with many of the same pressures and financial limitations, supervise teams and clients, bring together many aspects of theory and practice in their daily work, and the like.

Obviously, not everyone wants or can be a project manager, but if you do see yourself in this role, have in mind that it is in hot demand right now.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (or AI) already plays a significant role in our everyday lives: we use Google Assistant, Siri, Google Translate, and similar tools without a second thought. The basic understanding of AI is really valuable in any business or profession too. In fact, it is one of the most future-proof skills that one can acquire.

AI may seem like a highly technical skill (and it actually is), but you do not necessarily have to go all the way into the technical AI development details for your job. Understanding how it works and knowing how using AI and machine learning could impact your job is sufficient. You don't even need to go to college to learn more about this fascinating and complex technology. Thanks to various online courses, you can now learn its fundamentals from home and start applying your knowledge in practice. 

AI skills may benefit professionals from various departments, such as business development, marketing, sales, or HR. It can help them save costs, improve internal processes and deliver more innovative and customized products and services to their clients.

The demand for AI skills is constantly growing, and some experts even believe that humans will be replaced by computers in the near future. The question is: are you ready for this inevitable change?

Ending remarks

Upskilling and reskilling has never been as critical as it is now. Formal education is not always enough for your career development since it can be pretty static. You may need some additional courses and materials to stay on top of things. One of the main BitDegree's missions is precisely this — help you keep up-to-date and unleash your full potential to succeed in today's competitive labor market. So check our top-level courses, pick those that interest you most, and remember: there's no better time to upskill than right now!

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Written By

Miglė Stasiulionytė