In today’s world, the currents of change are lightning fast, spurred on by rapid tech advancements and the global flow of information. Specific knowledge and skills can explode in relevancy or be obsolete overnight.
Rather than getting swept up by these currents, you can take the initiative and steer your career toward success by investing in yourself. Here are five future-proof skills you should acquire to strengthen your career foundations and be ready for the world of tomorrow.
1. Virtual Reality
While used primarily for gaming and socialising, VR remains ripe with unexplored possibilities. Speaking on the August edition of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed this sentiment, saying that, “Gaming is use case number one for VR. But then, pretty quickly, we’re getting all these other use cases that are kind of crazy and are happening sooner than I thought.”
“Sooner” indeed, as Alibaba Group’s recent augmented reality fashion show is a testament to the rapid pace of VR development and its creative applications. The tech and retail giant provided digital access to their products for the show via their Tmall Luxury Pavilion platform. This is the largest online luxury retail destination in China, accommodating over 200 luxury brands in the world’s most populous country.
The scale and degree of such shifts in marketing and business strategy foreshadow the astronomical rise of the VR industry, and this is supported by many statistics and reports. For example, the “Augmented And Virtual Reality Market Research, 2031” report by Allied Market Research that claims that the market “is projected to reach $856.2 Billion (USD) by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 41.1%.”
By staying ahead of the curve, you can preempt digital disruption. Through understanding VR, you stand out competitively to any company that aims to use this new tech. Be ready to catch the VR wave and immerse yourself in a new reality!
2. Artificial Intelligence
Reality is often stranger than fiction, and AI continues to defy expectations on its limitations. This has garnered a mix of reactions from prominent leaders like Bill Gates and Elon Musk, expressing genuine hope and cautious optimism respectively. From playing checkers to creating beautiful art, the potential of AI has grown, and will continue to grow, at a momentous pace.
In parallel with its growing potential, the value of the AI industry is projected to reach $62 Billion (USD) in 2022, a 21.3% increase from 2021, according to technological research and consulting firm Gartner, Inc. This growth will only accelerate as businesses’ needs and capabilities grow. With several influential tech moguls and giants already competing in the field, the industry is primed for liftoff.
Consequently, a report by Oxford Economics suggests that automation is expected to be much more commonplace in tomorrow’s society, supporting or even replacing traditionally “human” roles. This means understanding and working with AI will become a necessity as more roles are supplemented or supplanted by them. Acquire the skills to harness and apply this emerging technology so you can benefit from its abilities and stay relevant in the future.
3. Cyber Security
The new millennium has seen tons of high-tech advancements that have revolutionised business processes. However, while digitalisation has been, and will continue to be, the way forward, this new frontier also comes with new dangers.
According to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s “Singapore Cyber Landscape 2021” publication, there has been a surge in cybercrime within the nation over recent years, from ransomware to phishing. Notably, many of the target were SMEs, highlighting that all companies, big or small, need solid cyber security foundations to keep pace in the digital arms race.
Fortunately, Singapore has made strides to prepare itself by implementing new countermeasures like Government Trust-based Architecture (GTbA) and the Government
Cybersecurity Operations Centre (GCSOC) into its 2021 Cybersecurity Strategy. Additionally, data from Salary Board Singapore shows that there was an almost seven-fold jump in demand for cyber security professionals between 2018 to 2021, and that number is expected to grow.
Globally, there has also been a corresponding rise in demand for cyber security professionals, with several large corporations allocating over $1 million (USD) annually on cyber security based on a CISO Day 2020 Report from tech conglomerate Cisco.
As an essential skill that is, and will remain, fundamental to every business, you can secure your career through studying cyber security.
4. Data Analytics
Although change is a constant in business, there has been an upheaval of norms and practices in recent years due to regional and global events. This economic turbulence forces more deliberation on business decisions so that the right choice can be made. But what is the right choice? How do you figure it out? That’s what data analytics is all about.
Data analytics, as defined by Investopedia, is about analysing data and drawing actionable conclusions for improvement or to make more strategic decisions. Therefore, most organisations employ this skillset to become (and remain) successful. This is reflected in the NewVantage Partners’ “Big Data and AI Executive Survey 2021”, where an overwhelming 99% of Fortune 1000 companies are investing in big data and AI.
Closer to home, the 2022 LinkedIn “Jobs on the Rise” list showcases two data-related roles (Data Engineer and Data Science Specialist) in a list of the fastest growing jobs in the region for the past five years.
Data analytics does not only enable you to provide value to almost any company. When you consider its applications, having an aptitude for it can provide value in your own work as well, allowing you to see the bigger picture and take the correct action. Complement your skillset with data analytics knowledge to broaden your perspective and refine your thinking.
Over a decade ago, IBM (International Business Machines) surveyed over 1,500 corporate executives and public leaders across 60 nations, asking them what the quintessential trait for success was. The answer? Creativity.
Even in the ultramodern, tech-centric world of 2022 and beyond, where machine learning and AI are advanced enough to create art and have conversations, human creativity remains an essential skill. This is supported by the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2020”, which lists “Creativity, originality and initiative” as one of its “Top 10 skills of 2025”, alongside similar sought-after skills like “Critical thinking and analysis” and “Complex problem-solving”.
Another study by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Adobe years ago, showed that companies who encouraged creativity tended to experience superior revenue growth, greater market share and improved employee satisfaction. We can observe this in corporate juggernauts like Google, Apple, Coca Cola and more.
Being such an abstract concept, creativity cannot be learned, only incorporated. However, you can ignite your creative spark and refine it by broadening and diversifying your experiences to gain outside perspectives. For example, consuming niche genres of media, trying out a sport or hobby you never considered doing or travelling to faraway countries to experience vastly different cultures.
Honing your creative mind will allow you discover new solutions, ideas and paths in work as well as your life, and developing your unique out-of-the-box thinking allows you to define yourself and stand out amongst the competition.