January 2017

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Hot Skills for 2017

Companies are looking for people who can grow their customer base through better project management and data analysis.

Manny Mandrusiak

Manny Mandrusiak,

Executive Director, Q College
and Q Academy

Contributing Editor

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Anyone that you ask will attest to the fact that 2016 was definitely a year of the unexpected.  Most definitely a wild ride for all as technology became more and more complex, and the competition in the job market became more diverse. 

More and more companies are looking for people with relevant skills and a proven track record versus years of traditional education. The College and Academy get people walking through the door asking us what the “hot skills” are to secure employment, and what types of jobs are showing the most areas for growth. These individuals want to ensure that the time and money that they invest in their education is going to give them the practical skills to either get the new job or advance in their current role. 

I’ve taken some time to put together a short list of the top three skills that we are seeing being in demand by employers in 2017.

  1. Growth Marketing: Growth Marketing is something that I’ve practiced for a long time in my business ventures.  It differs from traditional marketing in that it is not about simply the top of the sales funnel and acquiring customers; it is about making them long term customers.  Growth without retention is really no growth at all.  Growth Marketing focuses on the entire sales funnel and essentially removes the traditional boundaries f marketing.  This enables marketers to freedom to market to every aspect of the customer experience and attracts more engaged customers.  If we have seen nothing else in 2016, it is that social media, and mobile devices, are the new platforms for engagement, and people want companies and brands to engage with them.  To get creative and challenge them with new and creative ideas and campaigns.  This is especially true for startups.  Startup companies are scrambling to do more with less and gain market share quickly.   They are too disadvantaged to cling to the old concepts of marketing, and they have to get creative with SEO, Analytics, and Pay-per-click campaigns because they simply do not have the capital to make mistakes.  This is where the employment opportunity lies for individuals with these skills.  Startups are looking for growth, and are hiring people that can help them establish a long-term client base.
  1. Project Management: Project Management is back!  It truly never left being an area of employment growth but cooled down in the late 2000’s.  We are seeing the Project Management opportunities growing in the technology sector mainly due to the influx of government funds into growing a stronger technology infrastructure in North America.  It is simple math that adding more money to the tech sector equals more projects that require individuals to put together teams and execute technology solutions. We have seen employers looking for Project Managers who have the skills to adapt quickly to new technologies in an Operational development environment.  To respond quickly to client changes in scope, and who understand the roles and capabilities of team members in a development environment.  This is critical to ensure that budgets are maintained and not eaten up in research and discovery hours.  Developers have to be managed effectively so that milestones and budgets stay on track.  The last thing companies want to do is issue change work orders and have to renegotiate contracts with the client because they went over budget.  Project Managers who can effectively manage fluid development teams are in huge demand as they assist in retaining long term clients.
  1. Data Analytics: 2016 saw a boom in big data.  According to a study conducted by IBM, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years.  That is a huge amount of data, and traditional methods of analyzing simply cannot keep up.  In 2016 large corporations were on the hunt for individuals who could tackle the challenges associated with collecting, storing, and effectively analyzing data.  We saw a marked increase in training requests from companies sending us individuals for data analytics training, and it was not just for the web.  The Academy trained individuals in medium to large corporations on advanced skills in Microsoft Excel.  Power pivot, queries, how to create dashboards.  The trend that we saw was that it did not matter if it was a government client, crown corporation, or public sector client, they all had the same problem- the need to turn large amounts of data into useful information.  We learned that big data means big opportunities in the job market for those with the right skills.

Well, those are my top three picks for areas of employment opportunities in 2017.  I would like to highlight that we did see a spike in people looking for specific skills such as networking, code, and Raspberry Pi design.  Many individuals were looking for the skills to automate their homes using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled devices which would be controlled by Raspberry Pi systems.  

All and all I think that 2017 will continue to be a wild technological ride, and I’m always excited about what new opportunities are created through the adoption of these technologies. 

Wishing everyone a bright and prosperous 2017!


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