Complex Made Simple

The skills companies need most in 2019: And how to learn them

By Paul Petrone: Editor, LinkedIn Learning

It turns out that professionals are keenly interested in learning new skills (which makes us deliriously happy). And learning tends to spike in January, as people start the year focused on building new habits.

But here’s the challenge: there are at least 50,000 professional skills in the world, according to LinkedIn data. 50,000!

If you’re like us, you probably have time to learn a few skills this month. That begs the question: of those 50,000 skills you could potentially learn, which should you learn today to help you stand out all year?

To find out, we used exclusive LinkedIn data to determine the skills companies need most in 2019. These are the skills your boss and your boss’s boss find most valuable, but have a hard time finding – and the skills that’ll most help you better serve your clients and customers.

Read: Arab entrepreneurs need to forget what they learned in school

The Soft Skills Companies Need Most in 2019

Strengthening a soft skill is one of the best investments you can make in your career, as they never go out of style. Plus, the rise of AI is only making soft skills increasingly important, as they are precisely the type of skills robots can’t automate.

That’s why 57% of senior leaders today say soft skills are more important than hard skills.

What are the soft skills companies are looking for most in 2019? They are:


While robots are great at optimizing old ideas, organizations most need creative employees who can conceive the solutions of tomorrow.


Having a great product, a great platform or a great concept is one thing, but the key is persuading people to buy into it.


As projects grow increasingly more complex and global in the age of AI, effective collaboration only grows more important.


An adaptable mind is an essential tool for navigating today’s ever-changing world, as yesterday’s solutions won’t solve tomorrow’s problems.

5-Time Management

A timeless skill, mastering time management today will serve you the rest of your career.

Read: 6 Strategies to keep stress low, productivity high, end 2018

The Hard Skills Companies Need Most in 2019

The skills on this list reflect the impact of our increasingly digital world. Yes, that means a spike in cloud computing and AI, but it also means a spike in improving that digital experience (i.e. UX Design, web development, etc.).

Digital is also giving new uses for skills – for example, there’s an increased demand for audio production. This was a skill formerly needed for radio production; today, it’s used for producing podcasts and digital ads.

Here are the hard skills companies need most in 2019, according to LinkedIn data:

1-Cloud Computing

As the world rushes toward the cloud, companies are desperately searching for engineers who have the skills to accommodate this demand.

2-Artificial Intelligence

Its official — the Age of AI is here.

3-Analytical Reasoning

As they collect more data than ever before, companies are hungry for professionals who can make smart decisions based off of it.

4-People Management

The world has changed from a “command-and-control” model toward leaders who can coach and empower, a difficult skillset few professionals possess.

5-UX Design

UX design is the key to making a digital world work for humans.

Read: Find the right audience for your business

6-Mobile Application Development

A skill that’s been in demand for several years as companies continue to design mobile-first platforms.

7-Video Production

Demand for video production is spiking as video streaming represents 70 percent of all consumer Internet traffic.

8-Sales Leadership

Sales is one of those skills that are always in demand, and great sales leaders are only becoming harder and harder to find.


We are more connected globally than ever before, with translation skills breaking down one of the last remaining barriers: language.

10-Audio Production

Similar to video, there’s been a spike in interest in podcasts and other audio digital formats recently, leading to increased demand for this skill.

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11-Natural Language Processing

The technology behind Alexa and Google Home, everything from our cars to our light bulbs are now becoming voice-activated.

12-Scientific Computing

Scientific computing is generally used to solve problems with massive amounts of data to consider – a need as companies continue to collect more and more data.

13-Game Development

In yet another sign of providing a better experience for digital users, the demand for those who can develop compelling online games remains strong.

14-Social Media Marketing

Social media continues to be a popular way to communicate with others digitally, as new platforms disrupt the market.


No surprise to see animation on the list, considering the surge of video traffic and the increasing prevalence of the GIF.

Read: What to look for when you first start to hire as a new business

16-Business Analysis

Similar to data-driven decision making, more and more companies are relying on analysts to help them guide strategic investments.


Once a dwindling skill, journalism isn’t just for journalists anymore as marketing and content teams alike vie for people who can tell compelling stories.

18-Digital Marketing

With the rise of digital, it’s no surprise to see digital marketing as the most in-demand marketing skill on the list.

19-Industrial Design

The demand for those who can design something that is both practical and eloquent will never go away.

Read: Flexible office space in Dubai to increase rapidly next 5 yrs

20-Competitive Strategies

Virtually all companies are facing increased competition, with organizations starved for people who can help them stay abreast and ahead of their competitors.

21-Customer Service Systems

In a world where one bad experience can lead to a tweet the whole world sees, consistent customer service is increasingly paramount.

22-Software Testing

New software is hitting the market at record-numbers – requiring more and more people who can ensure they actually work.

23-Data Science

An in-demand skill for the past several years, there is still a strong need for those who can make sense of the magnitude of data.

2-Computer Graphics

As a sizeable part of our digital world goes from 2D to 3D, companies are looking for people who can foster that transition.

25-Corporate Communications

With social media, local mistakes can lead to global outrages, requiring people who can manage difficult situations.


Methodology: “The skills companies need most” was determined by looking at skills that are in high demand relative to their supply. Demand is measured by identifying the skills listed on the LinkedIn profiles of people who are getting hired at the highest rates. Only cities with 100,000 LinkedIn members were included.

This post originally appeared on The Learning Blog.