LinkedIn released its most valuable skills of 2018 list, based on job listings on the service. Let’s take a look at the overall list:
- Cloud and Distributed Computing
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
- Middleware and Integration Software
- Web Architecture and Development Framework
- User Interface Design
- Software Revision Control Systems
- Data Presentation
- SEO/SEM Marketing
- Mobile Development
- Network and Information Security
- Marketing Campaign Management
- Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
- Storage Systems and Management
- Electronic and Electrical Engineering
- Algorithm Design
- Shell Scripting Languages
- Mac, Linux and Unix Systems
- Java Development
- Business Intelligence
- Software QA and User Testing
- Automotive Services, Parts and Design
- Database Management and Software
What do we see here? The first thing that leaps out immediately is how overweight the list is in all things technology, hardware and software. The second thing I note, especially for marketers, is the general dearth of marketing-specific skills on the list. We see SEO/SEM, and we see marketing campaign management, and that’s it.
Why? Why would so few marketing skills be in highest demand?
A couple of possible reasons why this might be the case. First, it’s possible that for all the skills available in the marketing profession, we have enough people to fill those skills. We have plenty of email marketers, social media marketers, etc. to operate our companies.
A second possibility is that demand for marketing skills is declining because of marketing automation and marketing technology. As systems become ever smarter, we need fewer people to operate them.
Top Marketing Skills of 2018
Let’s look at the skills again, but color-coded:
I’ve categorized the skills list as hardware, software, data science, marketing, and other. Hardware takes up 7 of the top 25, though we could make the argument that virtualization and security are as much software as they are hardware. Software takes up 10 of the top 25. Data science takes up 4, and then we have marketing and other with the remaining 4.
Consider some of the most important channels in marketing:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Referral traffic
- Organic search/SEO
- Paid search marketing
- Display advertising
- Native advertising
- Mobile marketing
- Direct marketing
These individual skills, save SEO, aren’t part of the top skills list. However, if we blend these skills with some of the top skills in the list, we see entirely new career opportunities for marketers.
What if we were email marketers who also had specialization in statistical analysis? We’d be a rare breed of email marketer, to be sure.
What if we were social media marketers who also had a specialization in Python or Ruby? We’d be powerful social media marketers who could bring high levels of automation to any social media marketing program.
What if we were SEO professionals who also had business intelligence skills? We’d have a formidable combination of capabilities which would make any SEO program much stronger than operating in a search marketing silo.
The top marketing skills of 2018 will be blended combinations of marketing and technology skills. Marketers who bring new combinations of technologies and talents to familiar marketing disciplines will be incredible assets to our companies and will far exceed the productivity and impact of people only with traditional marketing skills.
For Marketing Job Seekers
The mandate for job seekers is clear: skill up in one of the areas above. I would strongly recommend either software or data science as places to invest time and effort, particularly languages like R or Python, which offer the best of both worlds, data science and software.
For Marketing Hiring Managers
When it comes to evaluating candidates to hire, give priority and consideration to those individuals who bring combinations of technology and marketing skills to the table. These marketing technologists are rare breeds who will deliver outsized value to our companies.
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