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Updated Dec 20, 2023

What Employers Want: 22 In-Demand Skills

Technical skills dominate three separate rankings of the top skills employers are looking for.

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Shayna Waltower, Business Operations Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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If you have technical expertise, you shouldn’t have trouble finding work: Computer programming and technical design skills dominate the list of the skills employers are looking for most in employees, according to three separate rankings from LinkedIn, Upwork and Adobe. If you’re looking to upgrade your resume or expand your knowledge, check out the 22 most in-demand job skills.

In-demand skills that are leading the list

Here’s what the three companies’ rankings determined:


The most in-demand skill, according to LinkedIn’s data, is blockchain development and engineering. The rapid growth of the cryptocurrency industry has led more companies to call for experience in working with digital ledgers. Blockchain skills apply to more than just crypto, as blockchain technology is also used to track large amounts of information, making blockchain skills essential for many positions in the shipping, healthcare and farming industries.


Upwork’s data shows that IT, data analytics and programming are among the hottest skills. The researchers found that, due to the rapid growth of technological innovation, more companies are looking for tech-savvy employees. In particular, hiring managers are seeking employees who stay ahead of the digital curve and use important data to move businesses forward.

Video production, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing were also among the top in-demand skills from Upwork’s research.


Adobe analysts surveyed 750 recently hired professionals about the skills they use daily. They found that project management skills are in especially high demand and that companies are looking to fill jobs in digital marketing and sales as well. 

Adobe’s team also found that skills in business development and sales, engineering, data science, user experience and digital content are highly important to employers. Specifically, IT automation, data analysis and statistics, software development and artificial intelligence are among the skills that employers consistently seek. 

Additionally, trends in favor of digital content products and online content suggest that visual communication skills can benefit job seekers. Companies that prioritize their social media presence, mobile applications and websites for marketing are seeking employees who know how to capture and keep users’ attention. Adobe’s research thus identified user experience as one of the top visual skills.

Update your technical skills every two and a half years to keep up with rapidly advancing technology, IBM's Training and Skills Blog recommends.

Most in-demand job skills

These are the 22 most in-demand skills overall, according to the reports from LinkedIn, Upwork and Adobe:

  1. Blockchain development. Many companies are looking to implement blockchain technology in their everyday operations. If you understand the ins and outs of blockchain technology and decentralized networks, your expertise may be appealing to employers.
  2. Cloud and distributed computing. Employers seek employees who can deliver and manage resources via the internet and a communication network. Experience with cloud hosting services can earn you a spot on employers’ wish lists.
  3. Search engine optimization. With SEO experience, you’ll understand how search engines prioritize search results based on elements such as links and keywords. Companies place high importance on SEO skills, as they’re key to increasing website traffic. 
  4. Virtual reality (VR) development. VR and augmented reality programs facilitate simulated experiences that mimic the real world. As many companies seek to expand their digital presence, the number of positions for VR developers has increased.
  5. Data analysis. The ability to work with data of all kinds is imperative for a wide array of employers.
  6. Mobile development. Knowing how to create and develop apps for various types of devices is considered a plus, given the widespread use of apps.
  7. Scientific computing. Also known as computational science, scientific computing refers to the tools and theories needed to solve complex math problems using computers. With demand for computer science jobs increasing, having this skill can help you stand out to employers.
  8. Analytical reasoning. The ability to assess information and make logical judgments can be especially valuable to employers that have open positions for business analysts and accountants.
  9. Artificial intelligence. With all the growth across technology fields, companies need devices and systems that can expand on human intelligence and perform complex tasks.
  10. Web architecture and development. If you are skilled in working with software frameworks that help to simplify the development of web applications, you may be highly sought after by many employers.
  11. Algorithm design. If you are skilled at creating simple steps to solve complex issues, there are plenty of employers that will want to work with you.
  12. Business analysis. Business owners are constantly looking to grow their organizations. With business analysis skills, you can help businesses identify areas for change and make the right adjustments.
  13. Java development. If you are an expert at using this popular programming language, you will be highly useful to an array of companies and organizations.
  14. Affiliate marketing. Through affiliate marketing, a company pays a third party for promoting its products. Affiliate marketing skills can make you more appealing to companies that want to get their brands in front of a larger audience.
  15. Machine learning. With knowledge of machine learning, you’ll have an understanding of how to develop computer systems that use data and algorithms to improve over time. All kinds of employers are looking for employees with this skill.
  16. User experience (UX) design. If you are skilled in UX design, you’ll know how to create products that are easy and enjoyable for customers to use and, in turn, help companies acquire and keep customers.
  17. C++ programming. Given that C++ is considered one of the oldest and most efficient programming languages, being skilled in it is considered a major asset by companies of all kinds.
  18. MySQL programming. Because MySQL is the prominent language for adding, accessing and managing content in a database, those who are skilled in using this language are needed in the workforce.
  19. Project management: With experience or a certification in project management, you will be able to oversee and handle projects of all kinds, thus making you much more valuable in the workplace.
  20. Video production and editing. If you possess video editing and filming skills, there are plenty of employers that will hire you to produce content for marketing purposes.
  21. Sales. The ability to connect with customers and sell products or services will always make you a highly attractive candidate to various types of employers.
  22. Business development. If you know how to help businesses grow, build partnerships and reach new heights, many small and midsize businesses could use your help.

How to acquire in-demand skills

If you lack in-demand skills, there are several ways you can get experience in these areas and increase your appeal to employers. Although one of the most common ways to learn new skills is to attend school and get a degree, there are a few other approaches you can take to expand your skill set.

1. Take an online course.

You can work through online courses at your own pace, and there are several inexpensive or free options. For example, Udemy offers classes starting at $14.99. Stanford has many free courses in areas such as machine learning, database design and cryptography (a blockchain fundamental). If you prefer to jump through content freely, you can find in-depth YouTube videos from experts on just about any skill imaginable.

2. Learn at your current job.

You might not be able to learn certain skills in your everyday role at work, but there’s bound to be someone in your workplace who has one or some of the skills you want to acquire. Reach out to colleagues in other departments or a supervisor who uses those skills every day. They might be willing to give you tips and even some hands-on training.

3. Get an internship.

Internships aren’t just for college students and recent graduates. Many companies are open to hosting interns of any age who are willing to learn and contribute to their business. Internships are designed to give you hands-on experience in a particular field. They allow you to work alongside professionals who have many of the skills you’re looking to obtain. 

If you attended college, your school’s career services department could connect you with internship opportunities. You can also reach out to people you know who work in positions that require your desired skills. They might be willing to put in a good word and help set up an internship for you.

4. Create a self-study program.

Thanks to libraries, bookstores, websites and online courses, you have tons of expert-level knowledge at your disposal. Make a plan to set aside some time every week to focus on learning about your desired skills.

You can search for conferences or other events that are coming to your area. Local colleges and universities often host talks that are open to the public. You might find an event that relates to the skills you’re studying, and many speakers are open to sharing their tips and advice with someone who is trying to enter their field. 

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
There are several ways to advance your skill set, including reading books, taking an online training course and getting on-the-job training.

Staying ahead of the curve

When you’re choosing new skills to learn, assess the latest trends and determine how to stay relevant to meet changing employer demands. As you go about learning new skills, try to focus on areas you find interesting. You’re more likely to stay motivated to finish that programming or SEO course if you already have some curiosity about the subject. With some dedication and self-discipline, you can start gaining key skills that will help you stand out to employers.

author image
Shayna Waltower, Business Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Shayna Waltower is a business journalist with a multimedia background. She spent years doing on-the-ground reporting in local communities from coast to coast before narrowing her focus to helping small businesses nationwide streamline operations, attract customers and improve profitability. Waltower, with her previous experience in storytelling across mediums (broadcast, social media, etc.), enjoys not only producing digestible guides for business owners that break down complex topics but also helping entrepreneurs competently convey their brand stories to consumers. Over the years, Waltower has developed expertise in a number of wide-ranging but critical business areas and topics, including POS systems, workplace management and cybersecurity.
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