An increasingly common piece of career advice you may have heard is that everyone can, and should, learn how to code. This valuable skill does open many doors, but it’s also becoming yesterday’s secret to success as more people have picked up the practice. If you’ve learned some programming, take things further with these more advanced skills will still give you a competitive edge.
Security and troubleshooting
Just as baby boomers and older generations know more about car maintenance compared to millennials, today’s younger generations are growing up with less knowledge of computer security and troubleshooting practices. If you grew up in the 80s or 90s when programs and operating systems were often glitch-ridden, you simply had to know various DIY fixes; and as the internet evolved and awareness of the threat posed by hackers and scammers grew, you’d also have learned to be careful along the way.
Today, more people are dependent on stable systems and built-in security features or applications. The skill of device troubleshooting and basic safety practices is less common. Sharpening your knowledge in these areas will not only benefit the stability and security of your code, but can distinguish you and lead to opportunities in ‘white hat’ or ethical hacking such as network penetration testing which are essential to the cybersecurity measures of many companies.
Design and content creation
Learning computer skills can put you in a position where you’re just a step away from being able to monetize a website or garner a strong following on a blog. The missing element could be engaging content; increasingly, modern search engines rank website higher based on the frequency and relevance of published content, while today’s viewers spend more time reading blogs with thoughtful design and curated posts which target a specific audience.
Naturally, there are several skills involved in building a successful website. Knowledge of graphic design helps you arrange information in the proper hierarchy to draw attention to key areas and guide viewers seamlessly throughout. Polishing your writing skills will make articles more interesting and likely to be shared; an in-depth understanding of marketing helps to identify the ideal audience. There are several ways to earn from a website, from running ads to selling products and services, but ultimately they only work if you can establish steady traffic and keep your viewers engaged.
Businesses and organizations of any scale are coming to embrace the need for data analytics in the age of information. Having a sound understanding of performance and trends will help inform key decisions and mitigate risks in every aspect. This creates a demand not only for statisticians, but for professionals skilled in a wide range of techniques. Additional proficiencies may also provide an unexpected advantage.
From understanding the workings of search engine optimization and its underlying algorithms, to running advanced functions and macros in Excel spreadsheets, the broad field of data analysis presents many opportunities for advancing your career. Not only does your knowledge of coding in Python or SQL extend to this domain, any edge in design or communication skills will prove beneficial, as data analysis must be translated or presented to stakeholders in a comprehensible form, often through creative tools for data visualization.
Raising the level of your computer skills by learning to code is an excellent use of your spare time for continued development. Just remember that other people are doing the same thing, and that you might be just one more advanced skill away from being a standout candidate for positions in these and other fields.