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by Vault Careers | February 26, 2015


Don’t take this personally, but no matter the career path you’ve chosen, your skills are quickly becoming obsolete. With the speed at which technology is advancing and the business landscape is changing, new skills are becoming in demand at a lightning-fast pace. Ten years ago, could you have imagined getting hired as a social media manager or a Node.js programmer? Not likely—these job titles and the skills associated with them didn’t even exist. 

For those who need to enhance their knowledge and skills quickly, online learning is an excellent solution. If you’ve never explored online learning before, you are likely in for a surprise at the breadth and depth of what you can learn. Here are five of today’s most in-demand skills and tips for where you can learn them online.



Even if you aren’t a software developer, having some coding skills can differentiate you from other job applicants. For example, anyone who works with online content—bloggers, freelance writers, even graphic designers—can give themselves an advantage by learning some basic HTML and CSS.


If you are a software developer, here are the top 10 most in-demand software development skills based on an analysis by data scientists at CyberCoders:

  1. C#                                                                                   
  2. Java
  3. JavaScript
  4. C++
  5. Python
  6. .NET
  7. SQL
  8. PHP
  9. ASP.NET
  10. Linux


Social media marketing

A recent study by LinkedIn found that social media marketing was the #1 skill employers are looking for. Social media marketing is the process by which businesses communicate with their target audience using social media platforms. Using social media to increase brand awareness and build online communities is a specialized skill, and a high-stakes one. For a selection of cautionary tales, check out these 20 major social media gaffes recently made by big companies.


Mobile skills

Mobile skills are beyond hot. Every year, more and more Internet traffic originates on mobile devices, and businesses seeking to keep up with this trend need people who can navigate both mobile development and mobile security, which, according to Business News Daily, are two of the top skills for 2015.



This one may look like an odd duck, but the ability to communicate well in writing is only becoming more essential as our lives become more digital. Emails, technical manuals, blog posts, tweets, instant messages—the effectiveness of all of these things depends on the ability to use the written word well.


Other soft skills

Soft skills have made a significant comeback in terms of importance. Many employers today are willing to hire candidates who are a little light on technical skills if they have superb soft skills. Interpersonal skills, adaptability, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving—these skills are essential to success in a wide range of field. Fortunately, even they can be improved via online courses.


Where to find courses online

Online courses come in many shapes and sizes. Here are some of the top places to find courses online:


  • Online course marketplaces. Online courses for job training are widely available at online course marketplaces. The courses are developed by educators, business leaders, and other subject matter experts, who then sell access to them for a very low price.


  • MOOCs. MOOCs are massive open online courses, which are free courses offered by big-name colleges and universities, like Stanford, Harvard, and MIT. Most of the courses are academic or for personal interest rather than job training, but you can find a good number of programming courses and soft skills courses (like public speaking and writing) available as MOOCs.


  • Code schools. For all of your coding needs, sites like Codecademy and Treehouse, offer self-paced courses, usually for a low-cost monthly subscription.


After you finish an online course, you will usually receive a certificate of completion or a digital badge that you can add to your resume. 

Not everyone has the time or the inclination to go back to college. Online courses, with their convenience and low cost, offer self-motivated learners a chance to gain an advantage. What will you learn this year?


David Miller is an educational researcher who has several years of experience in the field of teaching, online testing and training. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading educational research organizations. Currently, he is pursuing research in online knowledgebase software and is also a contributing author with ProProfs.

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