That is very good question and happy to share some of my insights that hopefully you will find valuable.
First of all I would suggest to look at the reports around trending hard skills which will help you to take the right decision.
Please bear in mind that hard skills and soft skills are equally pivot for personal development. While the most in-demand soft skills are all about how we work together, the most in-demand hard skills are the ones focusing on what we’re working on.
According to LinkedIn who collected the data from the business network of over 660+ million professionals and 20+ million jobs many of these skills will continue to evolve rapidly.
The top 10 most IN- DEMAND HARD SKILLS are:
1. Blockchain- cryptocurrency was born in 2009 and since then digital assets management is becoming high valued by the business.
2. Cloud Computing- Today everything in built in the cloud ,so it is important to have skills how to create the technical architecture, design it and manage (Microsoft Azure).
3. Analytical reasoning- Business is data driven nowadays. It is key to have skills which enable to collect, analyze, process data in a way to get further insights and interconnections which will effectively support business decisions.
4. Artificial Intelligence- AI is part of almost every business space. Machine learning, and natural language processing is hard skill that will help companies to build the innovative products and services win on the market.
5. UX Design- Customers are becoming more demanding and "lazy". The are looking for more intuitive and tailor made services and products. UX Design expertise will help to create more human- centric products and services which will create high demand exceptional client experience.
6. Business analysis- This is the skill across all sectors and industries. The ability to analyze data and catch the uncover insights will effectively support the decision process and positively impacts the business performance.
7. Affiliate marketing- As the traditional marketing is becoming les powerful the importance of utilizing effectively the partnership and influencers for the marketing purpose is the high demand skill.
8. Sales- those skills never age and always good to have. Additionally nowadays it is important to have a skillset covering: How to manage the sales team, how to manage virtual team, how to work cross industry across different partners, stakeholders and cultures.
9. Scientific computing- Companies need more professionals that can develop machine learning models and apply statistical and analytical approaches to large data sets using programs like Python, MATLAB, and other.
10. Video production-Consumers are becoming more visual and the video content is becoming more powerful tool and part of client experience.
Keep also in mind that nowadays, due to the adversity and crisis caused by COVID19, more than ever the soft skills are in high demand. Hard skills are very specific and demonstrate ability to perform the task while soft skills are more about the way we work, how we communicate with others, how we adapt and how we make the decisions. Soft skills are more about behaviors, motivations, personal patterns& traits and cognitive skills. Those are interpersonal skills that make or break ability to get things done and take on new opportunities ahead. It is worthy to take a closer look at those skills and master them in order to succeed in the professional setting.
The HIGH DEMAND SOFT SKILLS are:
1. Creativity- Business needs creative mindset to look at the challenges with creative problem solving approach to bring innovative solutions to the table.
2. Persuasion- Business needs people who are influencers-know how to communicate their ideas and how to get their point across to push on their ideas. Having skills and abilities that enable you to inspire, influence other and have impact is key to succeed.
3. Collaboration- Business needs people who value teamwork as effective way to achieve the common goals. As we are living in the "global village" it is key to get ability to collaborate effectively across cultures to build the meaningful conversations and effective relationships. This all will definitely lead to get skills and mindset to build and thrive in the high performing teams delivering exceptional products, services, projects etc.
4. Adaptability- As business is functioning in very complex and fast paced matrix where "the only constant is a change", the change management and the ability to adapt is key to thrive. People with open mind and positive mindset who can turn challenge into opportunity will be most valued by employer.
5. Emotional Intelligence- Is the "must to have" and the highest valued ability nowadays. It is the way you are recognizing your and others emotions, trying to see yourself through eye of others, manage emotions properly in order to build meaningful and effective relationship with others. It is ability to take ownership of your emotions, become emotionally self -aware and identify emotions you are managing. When you are emotionally intelligent you recognize positive emotions and use them to drive your motivation and build relationships. By maintaining the emotional balance you avoid stressful disruptions and unfocused states instead you are creating positive actions and environment which enhance collaboration. Emotional Intelligence is critical especially in times of adversity as it supports the resilience period. It helps you to know yourself better, your emotions/reactions, recognize situations that can trigger negative emotions and know how to shift them into positive space.