With 2020, we entered a new decade, and although it’s been the craziest year in a while, nothing says this decade won’t be the best in a very long time.
The classic Silicon Valley model of sinking gazillions of dollars into an idea for years in the hope that it will one day start to be profitable is starting to lose momentum, especially with the economic downturn we are now facing. Cryptocurrency and online payment gateways are on the rise, allowing for fast and seamless transfers of money. The world has never been so connected, and as a consequence, power is changing hands. Independent business owners, bloggers, influencers and visionaries now have the key to build the world of tomorrow. So how do you jump on the bandwagon?
Well, if you want to be part of something big while making yourself some good money, here are 5 skills that are guaranteed to do just that this decade.
1. Website building
There are over 1.5 billion websites in the world in 2020, and this number is set to only go one way: up. The technology has never been so ripe for massive expansion. 10 years ago, you had to know how to code, compile, upload your content to a server, register a domain, point it to the right server… These days are over.
It’s now 10 times easier to build a website, but it still requires skills, and a lot of people and companies are on the lookout for those skills. They need someone who can redesign their website, make it more efficient from the backend, or create one from the ground up.
Plus, the platforms used by many to promote websites never stop expanding. There were 3.96 billion active social media users in July 2020. That’s 51% of the world population, and an increase of 10.5% compared to last year.
How to start?
The go-to resource for website creation is Wordpress. It doesn’t require you to know how to code to get started, but basic coding knowledge will definitely be a plus. Wordpress is a big beast to tame, but once you start getting confident using it, there will be a lot of people looking for your skills. The median salary for a web developer in the US is $70,000.
Google, Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX, Apple, Facebook, Paypal… All these companies are some of the biggest in the world, and although they all do different things, they are all built on one common foundation: code. The brains of these mammoths are made of millions of lines of code, constantly running, interacting with each other, and sometimes… bugging. Facebook has 180,000 servers (estimated) that serve millions of photos per second. That’s millions of ways code can mess up.
Coders have been an increasingly hot resource for the past 20 years, but they’re now more burning than ever. Coders working for startups are often rewarded with a greater equity package than average, and those working for established companies will have no problem asking for a nice salary. In the US, the median salary for a software developer is $100,000+.
How to start?
There are tons of resources online (courses and Youtube videos) to learn how to code yourself. Universities also offer coding curriculums. The framework each company uses to operate will greatly vary, and that always takes time to learn when you start as a new employee. But there are some common best practices you must ensure you know before going from coding in your bedroom to working in an office (or remote).
3. Data scientist
I mentioned earlier that Facebook has an estimated 180,000 servers. Google has 2.5 million, and that means one thing: data. Even looking beyond Silicon Valley, data is spreading everywhere. No matter the industry you work in, the type of job you have, the company you work for… data is becoming relevant for everyone.
In fact, data is becoming so important that in recent years, we’ve coined a new term for it: Big Data. It’s a term that describes the large volume of data that goes in and out of any given business entity, on a daily basis. We used to pay attention to the only data we thought was relevant: customer satisfaction, net profit, employee turnover, customer churn, net retention, production capacity…
But things have changed, and now data analysis enables us to do things we never thought were possible before. Here’s what’s relevant now: discovering consumer habits, optimising fuel emissions, live road mapping for autonomous vehicles, predictive inventory, personalised health plans… To handle all these new predictive models and algorithms, we need scientists.
Where to start?
Unlike the previous jobs I mentioned, data science is still a rudimentary “old school” field which will usually require you to get at least a bachelor’s degree in IT, computer science, math, physics, or another related field. You don’t go from bedroom analyst to having your own research team without a bit of studies. Data is a huge and complex world, so the more you study it, the better you’ll be able to server the needs of the future. A Masters or even a PhD in data is something that would have been unheard of 20 years ago, but is now very relevant. A data scientist can expect an average salary of $100,000+ in the US.
4. Climate expert
Despite the effort of many activists (and politicans people don’t pay attention to), climate change and global warming are still not as prioritised as they should be. Regardless, time marches on, and as long as we don’t solve the core issues around world climate change, we will need experts to assist us.
Climate change is one of the most underrated, unstoppable, and least understood side effect of massive industrialisation and expansion of the human kind. Very few people actually understand the magnitude of it and how bad it could get, how bad it is already. Increasingly, companies are hiring experts to help them understand not only how climate change might affect their bottom line if they don’t do anything, but also how to improve their way of doing things for the greater good of the planet, and how to comply with various governmental regulations.
Where to start?
Like in the field of data science, a rather academic path will be expected here. You will need a high-level degree in a scientific field, preferably in environmental science. The more specialised you become, the better. From there, you might get a shot at working for some of the top players in the field of climate change: Carbon Engineering (backed by Bill Gates), Prometheus (carbon neutral fuels), or Ocean Based Climate Solutions, just to name a few. Median salary: $71,000.
5. Online teacher
If you want to become a school, high school, or even university teacher, you’ll obviously have to learn how to teach before getting on that bandwagon. But if you have skills that are sought after, and a knack for sharing and explaining what you do, then you can find your own learners community online without the need for a diploma.
The e-learning market is worth $200+ billion, and is set to reach $375 billion by 2026. Nowadays, anyone can put together a course about a specific subject and start promoting it to people that are interested in this subject specifically. For instance, website building and coding, which I mentioned at the beginning of this article, are extremely popular topics for online courses.
Skillshare has 3.5 million students and almost 25,000 courses available online. If you can seize 0,01% of that audience, you got yourself a 35,000-people classroom. No pressure.
Udemy is another course platform where anyone can share their knowledge. As of 2020, they have more than 35 million students and 57,000 instructors who sell their course. That’s an average of 614 students per instructor. A lot of them will be willing to pay for your premium services and/or presentations if you’re good. The more students you enrol, the more income you’ll make. Since you’re the boss, the sky is the limit.
Where to start?
Again, academic school teaching will require academic studies. But if you want to create your own online course, you can start right away on Skillshare, Udemy, or other platforms. The upside of course platforms is that you get instant access to a poll of millions of potential students, with a lot of them interested in what you have to teach. The downside is that these platforms usually take a hefty commission on each of your sales. You can also go solo by creating free content on Youtube, and offering premium content on your own website, for instance.
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