Career Skills to Prepare for Industry in The Future | The proof of such spectacular innovation and transformation is all around us and while it is transpiring at a meteoric speed, it is also creating a whole new host of job roles that demand an unprecedented set of skills.

The fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is and will continue to disrupt the way we live, learn and work. While certain jobs will fade away in the near future, others will flourish and jobs that don’t even exist today will become more commonplace.

The pandemic has probably accelerated that timeline substantially. What is clear is that the future workforce will need to match its skillset to match the relentless pace of technology.

According to the ‘Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum, the dual impact of automation and COVID-19 will displace 85 million jobs by 2025. However, among the jobs that are meant to stay, 50 percent will require reskilling by 2025.


The current disparity between the skills possessed by today’s youth and that of what the market needs are at risk of widening even further as Industry 4.0 revolutionises businesses and job roles faster than people can keep up.

Both the youth and professionals of today are in need of building future resilient skills that will help them adapt and thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. So, what are these key skills that will help candidates face the wave of the fourth industrial revolution?

Soft skills

The ability to interact, communicate and work together with a range of people such as co-workers, clients and leaders is what makes up soft skills. As people increasingly work beside robots, essential human skills – such as creativity, complex problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, emotional intelligence and people management – will be irreplaceable by machines.

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No robot can replace the perfect worker, oversee a team, or play the role of a leader, and hence, leadership and managerial skills will continue to be integral. Communication skills will also remain crucial as employers will still need people to engage and build relationships both internally and externally.

With the current emphasis on company culture and teamwork, emotional intelligence will continue to be a crucial element in building high-performing teams and increasing motivation in the workplace. Social skills are equally important too, especially when it comes to building friendships and strong networks, which in turn is needed for personal development and career growth.

Technical skills

Technical or “hard” skills such as computer programming, coding, project management, financial management, scientific tasks, and technology-based skills represent the knowledge and capabilities required to perform job-specific tasks.

As new job opportunities are being created due to technology, so is the demand for skilled professionals who possess industry-specific technical skills and targeted training. It is obvious that a strong set of technical skills will continue to be critical. It is, hence, crucial to determine and understand what the industry-specific demands are so that job seekers are better prepared for the demands of these roles.



Entrepreneurship is the knowledge, mindset, and ability to transform a potential work or business idea into a reality that includes not only those who set up a new business but also those who are described as a self-starter within their work environment.

As the gig economy grows, more and more young people will take the initiative to launch new ventures enabled by entrepreneurial skills such as innovation, creativity, diligence, resourcefulness, resilience, curiosity, optimism, risk appetite, courage, and business acumen.

Hence, people who possess entrepreneurial skills would be better placed to navigate the changing job environment and would be more likely to be resilient towards future challenges.

As technology rapidly evolves, the above combination of skills could help job seekers chase the top careers of tomorrow. So, what will be the most in-demand job roles in the future?

Data Analysts and Data Scientists

Data science experts are desired in almost every field, from logistics and e-commerce to healthcare and banking. Millions of companies and government entities depend on big data to succeed and better serve their customers. Data science careers are already soaring in demand and this trend will continue to grow into the future.

Degree programmes in both data science and data analytics, such as those offered by Heriot-Watt University have been designed to develop the skills that employers are seeking and provide students with the opportunity to build hands-on experience prior to graduating.

Deriving real business value from data needs a unique blend of technical skills, numerical knowledge, storytelling, and intuition. It is important to consider aspects such as your aptitude, interests, and career goals in order to find out what kind of degree programme would be suitable for you and to take the next step towards achieving your goals.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Specialists

AI is destined to create some of the most significant and disruptive innovations of this century. Autonomous cars, chatbots, and smart home devices are all the applications and creations of an evolving AI era that will redesign the way we live and work. In the future, more and more industries will be depending on AI and ML which will lead to incredible growth in the job market for talented AI and ML specialists. No matter what the new AI economy means for the future workforce, young students and professionals will undoubtedly benefit from entering this growing field.

However, breaking into AI and ML isn’t as easy as earning a few certificates. It takes initiative, intuition, and knowledge to craft a career in AI and ML. Both AI and ML have a high learning curve, but for motivated students, the rewards of a career in these fields far offset the investment of time and energy. To enter and succeed in these fields, people usually require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or artificial intelligence, to begin with.

Digital Marketing Specialists

Digital marketing has taken over, and there is no doubt about that. Today’s consumers have become extremely dependent on digital platforms for various purposes such as online shopping and telehealth. The field of digital marketing is booming and as the significance of online media grows, so does that of digital marketing.

An accomplished digital marketer needs, in equal measures, strong analytical thinking, a knack for creativity, and a data-informed decision-making approach. This is important because data now allows us to deploy marketing campaigns that provide internet users with personalised products, communications, and suggestions.

A career in digital marketing means a fast-paced environment where something new is just beyond the horizon. Digital marketers need to stay updated about new tools and changing guidelines governing the various channels; so lifelong learning is certainly a unique part of this field. Short courses and a degree programme, such as Heriot-Watt’s MSc International Marketing with Digital Marketing, combined with hands-on internship experience, can help one enter the world of digital marketing.

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Internet of Things (IoT) Experts

Global market intelligence firm, International Data Corporation, popularly known as IDC, predicts that by 2025 there will be 55.7 B connected devices worldwide, 75% of which will be connected to an IoT platform. Such intense IoT-ization will require the talent of IoT developers with the relevant set of skills to power these devices with functional software, which means only one thing: higher demand and more jobs for IoT specialists.

IoT is multilingual — it speaks many programming languages and needs experience with a wide variety of frameworks. Being able to operate at only one layer of an IoT architecture (which includes the device layer, the communication layer, the data management layer, the data analytics layer, and the user communication layer) is in itself adequate to begin a successful career in IoT. After data sciences, IoT is one such field that offers lucrative opportunities, however, IoT experts are also required to stay updated and need to evolve with the emerging trends.

Cybersecurity Specialists

Cybersecurity vacancies are high in number and it looks like the demand for security professionals is not going anywhere in the near future. Cyberattacks are growing by the day, and although we mainly hear about such attacks of high-profile entities in the news, however, no organisation or individual with an online presence is completely protected from such attacks.

Moreover, due to the continuously evolving nature of cybersecurity threats, continuous professional development is incredibly important in the field of cybersecurity. Plenty of opportunities are available to those looking to enhance their skill set including professional certifications from global tech giants, degree programmes such as Heriot-Watt’s BSc (Hons) Computer Science (Cyber Security), and credible short courses. The right choice depends on the specific knowledge or skill required. There is no one-size-fits-all.

As a society, we need to consider how existing roles will change and how people with at-risk jobs can shift to roles where they work in tandem with technology and go on to add value on top of it. Besides the economic repercussions of the pandemic, the current times have brought us an opportunity to relook at education, training, and skills development. Navigating your way through the ever-evolving professional world can feel daunting, especially for those who work in more traditional jobs and sectors. However, the future of work is packed with potential.

The key to success? Securing opportunities to grow and transform your knowledge and skill set. Forward-thinking individuals are rethinking the way they approach their careers and will develop a love for continuous learning, upskilling and reskilling. By becoming agile and future-proof, such individuals will be better prepared to face the wave of the fourth industrial revolution and will ultimately thrive in the new landscape.

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