The Future of Hard Skills: What To Look For In New Employees

In-demand hard skills change over time, and they will continue to change in the future. Many hard skills currently desired by employers either have become commonplace or may become outdated. This is in opposition to soft skills, which are generally timeless. Companies should always hire with the future in mind, meaning you must consider what hard skills will be the most useful in the future. These are the hard skills poised to be in-demand in the future and should be sought after in new hires.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is undeniably the future of business technologies, meaning you should look for these skills in new employees. Your business has likely already adopted cloud computing, such as if you use QuickBooks Online or subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. Employees with knowledge of cloud computing can further streamline your business operations, ensure your data is safer and adapt more quickly to new and changing cloud technology. This makes them valuable employees both now and in the future.

SEO and Branding

SEO is and will continue to be a hard skill employee can put to use for your company in all digital interactions they have. Candidates with these skills understand how using the right words raises awareness about your company and draws in customers. These employees can help your company continuously improve your digital marketing, even if they are not marketers. Candidates who understand professional branding and its place in marketing will also be a major asset to your company because they understand how to create strong personal bonds and associations between companies and their customers.


Coding is still a highly in-demand skill to have in all professions, not just IT and other technological jobs. Candidates who understand coding, stream processing and other forms of computer programming have a strong understanding of how the modern world works and runs. Non-IT employees benefit from knowing coding and computer languages because they can speak intelligently with IT employees about the subject. Because IT departments continue to grow in importance for companies, interdepartmental communication is going to be more important than ever.

Mobile Usage and Development

More companies are switching over to using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to get the job done. Mobile app development and web optimization are also key for your business to remain relevant and discoverable by customers. Apps make using your product or service easier or can serve as an important marketing tie-in for your company. Search engines prioritize content that is optimized for mobile, and customers prefer to use mobile-friendly sites on their devices over clunky, unoptimized ones. For these reasons, the ability to use mobile devices in a work setting is going to be an important skill, as is the ability to develop and optimize websites and apps for mobile devices.

Specialized Software Knowledge

Every industry has specialized software that is in common use. For example, graphic artists need experience in Photoshop, and legal professionals need experience in Westlaw. As more and more niche software options are developed, the skills to use them all will be preferred. The more programs an applicant has experience with and knows how to use, the better. To continue with the legal field example - WordPerfect is still used in many law offices, although Microsoft Office is growing in popularity. Applicants with skill in both have an edge over their competition. The same is true for graphic design and Photoshop - candidates having experience in other programs such as Corel Paintshop Pro can expose your company to better software for your needs. The more specialized, industry-specific technology an applicant is familiar with, the more likely they are going to be useful to your company.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that most desirable hard skills in the future of business are technological. Remember the importance of soft skills when hiring as well, and any new employees you hire will be much more likely to grow alongside your company in the years ahead.

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