The 5 Must-Have Digital Skills of Tomorrow

Academy Xi
5 min readOct 4, 2018

Disruptive technologies are predicted to wipe out almost 50% of jobs in the next 25 years, with current research suggesting that today’s 15-year-olds will have at least five career changes in their lifetime. Within the next two decades, the demand for STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and maths) is expected to increase by up to 30%.

Although it may appear that the future presents itself as a world where humans are no longer needed, it’s not all doom and gloom. According to Dell, 85% of available jobs in 2030 are yet to be invented, presenting enormous opportunities for individuals to elevate, accelerate, and transform their careers.

So what are the top five digital skills that you need to ensure that you’re industry-ready and fully prepared for a technology-driven future?

1. User Experience Design

UX encompasses all points of a user’s interaction with a product or brand — how a user interacts with a mobile application, navigates a website, or feels about a product are all fundamental considerations within UX Design.

“UX is the process of understanding and designing to solve problems to create satisfaction.” — Charbel Zeaiter, Co-Founder of Academy Xi.

As a user-centric process, UX prioritises the human experience above all elements. It takes into context who the user is and the circumstances in which a product will be used. The goal of UX Design goes beyond adding features or executing customer suggestions but looks to create the best solution for the most number of users within the product’s target audience.

The value of UX Design doesn’t deplete at a product’s launch — UX Designers consider all aspects of interaction within the lifespan of a user to create delightful experiences that drive customer loyalty.

At its core, UX Design focuses on solving a user’s problem, by understanding their needs and their job to be done. In doing so, UX encapsulates the following skills:

  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Creativity

The Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum states that by 2020, 36% of all jobs across industries will require complex problem solving as a fundamental skill.

2. Service Design

Service Design was first introduced in 1991 as a design discipline that was defined as a mindset, process, and toolset. Since then, it has expanded to include Design Thinking and Human-Centred Design principles featured in UX Design and other disciplines.

“Service Design is the intentional creation of a valuable and impactful human-centred experience that creates some kind of business and/or social value.”Matt Kurowski, Lead Instructor at Academy Xi

Service Design is important in understanding the many moving parts that make up a brand experience: the people, performance, places, products, and processes.

Service Design skills utilise research techniques such as contextual inquiries to understand how services should be created, delivered, and experienced.

A successful Service Designer will exhibit the following skills:

  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation and collaboration
  • Creativity

PS. Discover more about Service Design with this exclusive introductory guide.

3. Growth Marketing

The successful marketing of a product, service, or application is no longer about scraping the top of the funnel and acquiring new customers. Instead, successful startups and companies must look at the entire sales, product, and marketing funnel.

“Disruption will take down the most robust of businesses and monopolies unless those businesses are willing to change and do so at a pace which delivers a fair and equitable value exchange for their customers and stakeholders.” — Tom Green, Digital Transformation Advisor at Strategic Business Growth.

According to a Statista report, global advertising expenditure in 2018 will hit over US$550 billion. With the rise of social media, automation, and mixed reality technologies there are now boundless opportunities and platforms at the disposal of a brand.

Growth Marketing employs a hybrid mix of technical, tactical, and strategic skills in product, data, and marketing. From the discovery of new channels to unlocking SEO and content marketing, Growth Marketing aims to optimise each stage of the marketing funnel.

4. Data Science

Data Science analyses the methods, processes, algorithms, and systems used to extract knowledge from data. Data analysts are investigators, storytellers, and problem solvers who use raw data to create actionable insights.

As the backbone of any well-informed decision, data has become vital in driving the strategy and future roadmap of many businesses. Statistica predicts that the big data industry will be worth US$42 billion in 2018, and by 2027 is expected to be valued at over US$103 billion. IBM also estimates that by 2020, the demand Data Science roles will soar by 28%.

“Data Scientists align results in a quantifiable commercial outcome that is realistic and applicable to each situation. This takes a lot of patience and creativity.” — Felipe Rego, Advanced Analytics Consultant

There are many different roles and responsibilities that fall under the field of Data Science; including

  • Data Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Architects
  • Data Engineers
  • Statisticians
  • Database Administrators

As such, there is a wide range of capabilities that the field of Data Science encompasses, including the ability to:

  • Build key foundations for robust strategic analytics capabilities
  • Ingest and manipulate small and large datasets
  • Utilise data visualisation techniques for analytics
  • Employ statistics and machine learning techniques to solve real-world problems

5. Virtual and Augmented Reality Design

Virtual Reality (VR) Design applies design concepts and methodologies to craft spectacular virtual reality experiences. Utilising innovative applications and new mediums, VR Design transforms the way people experience the world around them.

Augmented Reality (AR) applies design frameworks that enhance the way we experience the physical, real-world environment. By focusing on ‘screens’ and digital interfaces that we use every day, AR enables us to simulate experiences before they become a reality.

The modern applications of VR have allowed people to remotely participate in concerts, social meetings, and is set to change the way education is delivered. AR is also currently being used to help businesses understand and manipulate large amounts of data.

“Virtual Reality has the capacity to utterly and irrevocably change humanity’s relationship with technology.” Lachlan Sleight, VR instructor at Academy Xi

In a report by CCS Insights, the VR industry is set to be worth US $3.6 billion in 2018, and by 2022 is expected to be worth US $9.9 billion. A large portion of this growth within the VR industry will be driven by the world’s need to find new innovative ways to teach and upskill the current workforce and next generation.

Within this immersive world of VR and AR, some of the highly demanded skills are:

  • The ability to use Unity 3D software
  • Coding skills such as Java and C#
  • Graphic Design and animation
  • Audio Design
  • Problem-solving involving persona design, user stories, and psychology
  • Knowledge of Relevant SDKs (HoloLens, etc.)

From Growth Marketing, to User Experience Design, the digital literacy required for each role will vary from business to business. Ultimately, upskilling your skills increases your employability and gives you the opportunity to take on new responsibilities. Explore your career potential with an investment in future skills today.

Academy Xi is a future-forward training company that provides short, practical, skill-specific programs in areas spanning the breadth of design and emerging technology. We’re problem-solvers that strive to embed purpose in everything we do. Our vision: transform the world through education, and inspire our community to create positive change.



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