When writing our resumes, we’d normally list our soft skills and hard skills apart. We also tend to focus on our soft skills more, because excellent communication, superb time management, and critical thinking are what ultimately speeds up our career progress. Indeed, such skills can open many doors of opportunity for us. We wouldn’t thrive at work in the first place if we can’t communicate well.
But just because soft skills are important doesn’t mean that we should underestimate our hard or technical skills. No amount of charisma can make up for our lack of certain abilities, such as computer programming, for instance. Since more industries are now starting to adopt Artificial Intelligence and other forms of smart technology, we may fall behind our peers if we don’t hone our technical skills.
Unlike soft skills, technical skills are more specific, which means that its benefits are industry-specific too. As such, you don’t need to learn computer programming if your specialty is in tourism. But you also need a technical skill to ace in that industry. For example, bilingualism. With the ability to speak another language, you can communicate with foreign travelers easier, giving you more chances to promote your business.
Understanding Technical Skills
By definition, technical skills are specialized knowledge and expertise required to accomplish complex actions, processes, tasks. People who possess technical skills are referred to as “technicians.” Depending on their specific expertise, they can be computer technicians, engineering technicians, medical technicians, etc.
Contrary to soft skills, which are considered essential for every employee, technical skills are practical ones. They are related to mechanics, information technology, maths, and sciences, as opposed to human behavior and character.
How to Acquire Technical Skills
You can acquire technical skills through specific education or training. Courses are usually offered to professionals, but college students may enroll in one, too.
You may need to balance studying and working to acquire the technical skills you need. Hence, you must carefully discern if technical skills will improve your career ladder. That’s because some jobs or employers don’t offer additional perks for employees with post-graduate certificates.
According to School Advisor, while those with higher qualifications in some fields are given wage premiums, many employees with a master’s degree still earn the same as their peers without it. The finance and business fields are promising, though. In a 2013 analysis, it was found that having a master’s degree in the field of business, finance, and sales lead to the highest wage premiums. Technical courses and a master’s degree may be different from each other, but they both give professionals additional knowledge and expertise. Thus, a certificate can also add more monetary value to your skills.
But before enrolling in a course, consider the costs too. Technical skills may give you a bigger paycheck, but studying isn’t always cheap. So, determine if you have sufficient funds to cover your education costs. If you’d need aid, you can apply for a scholarship. In Singapore, SSG-funded courses may prove helpful if you’re short on cash.
The Most Sought-After Technical Skills
While all technical skills are advantageous, certain ones are more in-demand than others. These skills will lead you to a higher-paying job in the industries with the biggest job growth:
Java is the most commonly used computer programming language in building software. An average software engineer with Java expertise makes $168,000 every year.
Structural Query Language (SQL)
SQL is also a computer programming language, but it’s mostly used in managing databases. Your expertise in SQL can lead you to a business analyst or data analyst position early in your career. And as for your salary, you can be paid $110,000 a year.
As globalization further advances, speaking more than one language will put us all at an advantage. Employers in every sector, from hospitality to finance, seek bilingual or multilingual employees. The skill is also crucial in the healthcare industry because health workers must be able to communicate with patients from all walks of life.
According to BBC, bilingualism can add $128,000 to your income over a 40-year career. Generally, though, the pay differential for being bilingual is small.
Pediatrics is a field of medicine focusing on the medical needs of children. Your knowledge and skills in pediatrics will boost your career as a pediatrician, physician assistant, or nurse. Your median salary can reach $184,240.
Quality Assurance (QA)
As consumers’ demands become more complex, QA professionals are expected to maintain the high standards of different products and services. As a quality control inspector, you can earn an average of $36,780.
If the technical skill you are wishing to acquire isn’t on the list, don’t fret. Your expertise will not go unnoticed and unaccounted for. Just keep honing it, and taking every learning opportunity there is. At the end of the day, it’s better to be an expert in the field you love, rather than be a jack of all trades without a clear career path.