By Ben Thomas
It’s no secret that traditional employment isn’t as stable as it used to be. When it comes to securing your income and improving your quality of life in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, marketable skills are far more important than degrees. In fact, even if you don’t have a college degree – or if your degree program didn’t teach you a lot of marketable skills – you can still track down additional income and expand your employment horizons by teaching yourself new tricks.
While plenty of articles – including many you’ve probably seen – will tell you to learn computer programming, you might not be particularly interested in developing websites and software. There’s nothing wrong with that. The good news is, the internet is a great place to learn many in-demand skills – including some that you might not have considered learning before.
Here are three lesser-known marketable skills you can teach yourself with online 1:1 learning.
1. Statistics and Data Analysis
You might think data science sounds even harder than computer programming – but in many ways, data analysis could be described as “programming lite.” That’s because the past few years have seen an explosion of powerful new tools that take much of the heavy lifting off the data analyst’s hands, and make crunching a huge database as simple as writing a few short lines of code.
And while the field might sound dry and boring, the truth is that data scientists are doing some genuinely cool stuff right now; from helping save endangered animals, to making cities more green, to discovering words for happy thoughts in languages around the world. Data analysts and statisticians are in huge demand right now, as more businesses harvest Big Data and need experts to crunch that data for them. A full-time data analyst can make around $50,000 a year.
Johns Hopkins University offers an entire sequence of data science courses on Coursera, absolutely free. The course track will take you from the basics, all the way up to professional-level data analysis projects. You can also learn Data Science and Analytics with your own personal teacher on live 1:1 video on Savvy.
2. Language Translation
Do you love to learn about other people and cultures, and discover new vocabulary? Language translation might be just the right field for you. You might be thinking, “There’s no way I can learn enough of a new language to become a professional translator,” but the truth is, that depends mainly on which language you choose to learn, and how much time you invest.
Learning a language isn’t inherently different from learning anything else: the more you practice and put your knowledge to use, the more quickly you’ll become an expert. Some translators who learn languages similar to their native ones – Germans who study English, for example – report that they’re getting paid for translations within just four months of learning. Savvy makes it easy for you to find the right language and teacher for you and start learning online.
Once you’re ready to test your translation skills, head over to sites like TranslatorsCafe, Transperfect and Gengo, where you’ll find loads of freelance translation jobs. Translators make an average of $20 per hour, so it’s well worth the effort to try.
3. Digital Branding and Marketing
No matter where your talents lie, you can find some way to put them to use in the wide fields of digital branding and marketing. Brands all over the world are in constant need of graphic designers, HTML and CSS web designers, professional writers for their websites, articles and press releases, and – of course – social media marketers to help spark conversations about their companies.
And that’s only the beginning of the digital marketing field! Companies also depend on search engine optimization (SEO) experts to keep them at the top of search results, reputation managers to help them deal with negative reviews and invite positive ones, market researchers, email marketers, tweet writers, bloggers, and at least a dozen more types of experts – many of them getting paid full-time to handle a certain subset of the above tasks. High-level marketing managers get paid around $61,000 per year. Get started with learning marketing skills online and see how far you can take your skills in the job market.
However, many companies – especially small and midsized businesses – prefer to outsource those jobs to individual freelancers on sites like Savvy and Freelancer. Depending on your skill level in one or more of these areas, it’s very possible to put together a client list that nets you as much income as a full-time office job – or even more.
These three skills are only a few of the many lesser-known marketable skillsets you can learn online. Instead, you might choose to teach yourself cloud computing, video production, or one of dozens of other marketable skills. Whatever skill – or skills – you choose, the important thing is to remember that you’re not defined by your degree, or the skills you have now. Make your skills more marketable, then go out and make some money.