4 Top Digital Skills Shaping the Market and How to Always Stay Ahead

It's always worth periodically taking the opportunity to reflect on the skill trends that will shape the landscape of higher education and corporate training. This holds particularly true in a context where disruptive technologies have introduced some uncertainty for students and professionals aiming to remain competitive in the market.

To help bring you up to speed with current trends, this article provides an overview of these skills based on current data and offers valuable insights to help your organization stay abreast of future market skill demands.

1. AI Readiness

As explored in LinkedIn’s Future of Work: AI at Work report, the job market is witnessing a huge surge in demand for individuals proficient in AI. Despite initial concerns last year that AI might replace human jobs, the prevailing trend described in the report indicates that companies now view AI as a digital skill: a tool empowering workers to remove repetitive tasks and increase their productivity.

One of the reasons for the surge in demand is that current AI tools require human guidance and evaluation of their outputs. Indeed, proficiency in the task an AI is performing is crucial for effectively guiding and assessing its products. For example, a skilled software engineer must be able to evaluate the quality and viability of code produced by the tool. In this way, the AI user’s level of subject matter expertise directly impacts the quality of the output.

Another area of potential growth comes from the possibility of a rise in recruiters seeking individuals specialized exclusively in AI—that is, without any expertise in a specific professional field. The emergence of new job categories within this discipline is ongoing.

2. Data Literacy

More systems are incorporating the ability to collect data, prompting institutions to seek individuals with the technical know-how to extract, interpret, and utilize this data meaningfully. This skill set also encompasses the ability to configure systems to collect relevant data aligned with the company's objectives.

This emphasis on data-driven decision-making is especially inevitable in periods when organizations face tighter budgets. The possibility of a recession is still looming, and data helps teams plan and justify expenditure, while ensuring they can make adjustments that get the most out of what they spend.

HANDPICKED FOR YOU | How to Empower Your Educational Decisions With Learning Analytics

More than 50% of insider threat security incidents can be caused by negligent employees. This situation can be prevented by ensuring that workers possess the knowledge to identify potentially risky situations and implement updated security measures

3. Cybersecurity Literacy

According to a 2023 cybersecurity report, 75% of security professionals surveyed had observed an increase in attacks over the past year, with 85% attributing the rise to bad actors utilizing generative AI.

Supporting this observation, Google Cloud’s Cybersecurity Forecast 2024 suggests that AI tools will increasingly be developed by, and offered as services for, attackers. This technology will be accessible through underground forums, and used for various purposes, such as phishing campaigns and spreading disinformation.

The estimated cybersecurity skills gap in 2023 reached 4 million workers. While there is evidently demand for more cybersecurity professionals, the scale of the threat also emphasizes the necessity for a shared cybersecurity literacy within the workforce.

More than 50% of insider threat security incidents can be caused by negligent employees. This situation can be prevented by ensuring that workers possess the knowledge to identify potentially risky situations and implement updated security measures.

4. Hybrid Learning Facilitation

Official U.S. statistics reveal that approximately one in five workers (19.5%) worked from home for pay in August 2023. Furthermore, a Flex Index 2024 report predicts that more organizations will recognize the benefits of offering flexibility, and by the end of 2024, more than two-thirds of U.S. companies will have adopted flexible and remote work options.

With remote working now a standard that coexists with the traditional in-person model, the concept of learning and development (L&D) programs supported only in the office has proven to be no longer sustainable. Enter hybrid learning, a learning format that blends in-person presence and virtual settings, typically, with the assistance of a learning management system (LMS).

Controlling the learning experience in both environments simultaneously is a specialized skillset. Therefore, delivering this format requires organizations to provide professionals with the skills and resources necessary to support L&D programs that operate in both traditional and remote environments at the same time.

4 Strategies for Keeping Up with Evolving Skill Demands

Keeping pace with new skills trends can become a significant challenge without proper strategies in place. The following advice will empower you to stay at the forefront of emerging market trends and changes.

1. Anticipating What's Coming Next

Remaining two steps ahead is essential. You should always be asking yourself “What will the market demand next?” This approach ensures that when new disciplines gain prominence, there’s less work for your organization or institution to do to ensure your workforce has the right skills.

However, this requires that you have the ability to discern and identify genuine trends. This isn’t always that straightforward. Between people’s appetite for innovation and the vested interests pushing new technologies and products, some things that appear popular initially may eventually lose traction. It becomes wasteful if we invest time and resources in such fleeting trends.

To cultivate this ability, one must be deeply engaged in learning about emerging technology and market demands. This involves a personal commitment to continuously seeking information and connecting with others in the same industry. Engaging with people who likely share similar use cases is crucial.

It’s critical to understand the extent others are, and are not, integrating certain new approaches in order to stay ahead. The application of a new technology can vary significantly between industries—as seen with AI—thus, the urgency in teaching this ability will also differ.

We encourage individuals in the broader community to connect with one another. This allows us to compare our expectations for skills and explore already established frameworks, including acceptable use policies

2. Setting Expectations Using Insights From Your Industry

If a need to upskill people is identified, but the expectations surrounding the required skills are not well-defined, confusion may arise. Your company could end up over- or underestimating the relevance of a new skill within its own context.

Ultimately, the full range of possibilities will not be clear until you put skills into practice. However, committing to a full-scale roll-out may consume significant resources on something that is ultimately revealed to be the wrong approach. You need information from other players in your field so you can discern what gets results, and what isn't working.

Individuals in the broader community should connect with one another, instead of trying to figure everything out on their own. This mutually beneficial arrangement will allow everyone to share ideas and results, advancing industry-wide understanding of the skill while encouraging innovation.

3. Cultivating a Culture of Technology Acceptance

At times, individuals within institutions and companies decide to introduce new technology, only to find a lack of support for the initiative. This isn’t always intentional, as there may be other priorities within the company. However, regardless of the circumstances, this ultimately hinders organizational skills development.

To address this challenge, ensure that employees feel supported whenever you present ideas about emerging technology. This involves thoroughly explaining the benefits of adopting new approaches and promptly developing courses to provide the necessary skills for effectively using the new tools.

An LMS can also serve this purpose by safeguarding and disseminating a company's innovation culture. Moreover, through the use of interactive forums or integration with corporate social networks, employees can share technology-related news and participate in productive discussions.

4. Design Task to Respond Creatively to Curriculum Changes

Disruptive technologies can change the relevance of your current curricula. For instance, today’s software developers extensively rely on AI. According to a 2023 GitHub survey, 92% of U.S.-based developers use AI coding tools both in and outside of work. From the perspective of an IT student, it seems imperative that your institution incorporates AI as a skill into the curriculum.

However, changing a curriculum isn’t always a simple and straightforward process, as it involves bureaucratic procedures and can inconvenience participants tied to the previous curriculum. Moreover, given the rapid pace of technological evolution, updating the curriculum may require an unrealistic update schedule.

To tackle this issue, we suggest providing learners with opportunities to apply these new technologies directly to their course tasks without modifying the curriculum. You could, for example, consider implementing a home activity where participants respond to a prompt using ChatGPT, followed by an in-class activity in which they assess the ChatGPT outcomes using their own knowledge.

This approach alleviates the need to rush into creating a standalone course for a new skill, offering educators more time for thoughtful planning and allowing emerging trends to stabilize. Consequently, a course with greater longevity can be developed.

SEE MORE ON AI | ‘4 Powerful Applications of AI and Machine Learning in Corporate Training

Leveraging Open LMS to Stay Up-to-Date

One of the main features of an LMS is its ability to centralize access to various types of learning content, eliminating the need for individuals to navigate different platforms for their learning needs. However, Open LMS offers more than just a place to store training for new tools and skills:

  • It enables the identification of skill trends by tracking users' behavior through analytics, pinpointing your most popular courses or content.
  • It facilitates the creation of collaborative spaces where students and workers can engage, share information, and discuss relevant topics.
  • It provides the opportunity to interact more directly with trending technologies, thanks to its seamless integration capabilities. Currently, Open LMS has achieved integration with tools such as ChatGPT and Teachermatic, allowing educators to streamline various tasks, from course creation to assessment and feedback.
  • It helps you stay ahead of new market trends by granting you access to our calendar of events and webinars. The Open LMS team also offers resources such as eLearning magazine and podcasts, along with a dedicated learning space, the Open LMS Academy.
Stay at the forefront of new technical and skills trends. Contact us or request a demo to see our LMS in action!
Amy Tessitore
About the author

Amy Tessitore

Tessitore has been involved with Moodle-based LMSs longer than she might care to admit, but those years have made her a well-established name in the community. An open-source LMS Adoption and Education Manager by day and a Moodle User Association member by night, you might have come across her before at a conference or online talking about learner engagement in online environments, providing tips and tricks to new admins, or gently reminding her dog Pearl that the world does not revolve around her.

Discover our solutions