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Top skills to teach yourself and boost your resume: Part 1

career opportunities

We’re all familiar with the belief, “You need experience to get a job but you need a job to get experience.” While this may be true, experience alone won’t get you the job. The skills you possess take precedence instead. The best thing about living in this day is that you can easily teach yourself pretty much any skill.

How? Everything is online — and we mean everything. You can easily take a free online course or watch dozens of Youtube tutorials. There are tons of blogs online giving away free templates and information, you will never be short of essential reading resources.

Let’s look at some of the best skills you can learn to boost your resume — part one!


Coding is one of the most highly sought-after skills in the world. It could highly improve your chances of getting bigger, better opportunities — be it foreign or local. Basic coding is very accessible online and easy to learn (as long as you practice and do all the drills, but that’s true of any field).

In order to become a coder, you must first learn a coding language. From there on, it’s about honing your problem-solving, out-of-the-box thinking, communication and observation. This would make you the ‘perfect package’.

Aerial view of two hands typing on a macbook.

Some areas for specialization you can consider include the following.

1. Website developer: The thing about developing websites today is that while some basic coding will help you go a long way, it’s a whole lot easier now to build one. With a plethora of easy-fix options available online and low-code or no-code platforms to help you, starting your career in this area would be less challenging.

But where no-code and ready-made templates can’t help you is with super-accurate customization. That is where learning code will come in most handy. WordPress is a good starting option, and you can take this free HubSpot WordPress course to get started.

2. Data analyst: If problem-solving is your forte, then consider data science. A business relies on its data analysts to solve impossible problems through data. In this case, you would be in charge of gathering and interpreting data, and coming up with solutions.

There are many hard and soft skills and forms of expertise a data analyst needs to possess, including data cleaning, data visualization, and of course, a solid grasp of programming languages like SQL and NoSQL, Python, etc.

There are, again, tons of online resources to help you here, including courses from Harvard, Coursera and HubSpot.

3. App Developer: If you own a smartphone, you probably have at least a dozen apps on it. A study done by App Annie’s, showed that the number of hours spent using mobile apps in 2021 was over 3.8 trillion. The average phone has over 80 apps installed. What lies here is an opportunity to flex your creativity and bring something to life.

As an app developer, you will have to do the designing while thinking about the UI/UX angle and the overall aesthetic and branding. You will also have to test, debug and oversees the entire process from start to finish — especially when you’re starting out by yourself. For this, you could take a course to learn how to build iOS apps, or ones for Android.

For a more general approach, you can pretty much take up any free course to learn JavaScript, Ruby, HTML, and CSS. Some good websites to check out include The Odin Project, Coursera, and CodeAcademy.

Graphic design

A graphic designer plays a core role in outgoing communications from a company. You’d be expected to work on a great variety of things, whether it’s brand identity, which comprises everything from brand colors to the logo, to the typography, etc., or newsletters, templates, images, and social media posts.
A mac, keyboard, mouse, design book and a tab with all the Adobe app icons on the screen.

The key to getting a job as a graphic designer is to build a portfolio to showcase your abilities. In order to do that, you must first familiarize yourself with the most-used programs and tools. This includes the likes of Photoshop, Illustrator and Canva.

Depending on the specific field you want to learn, there are courses you can take, including ones for understanding the basics, user interface design, and PhotoShop.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a major driver of any business’s online presence. What SEO does is help push your website higher up the rankings so that your website or page will receive more traffic. With SEO, you’re mostly playing the long game. It takes time for results to show and that’s when you get an idea of what you did right or wrong. 

Good SEO is a great friend to have. Even small businesses can make a gigantic digital impact with good SEO, and that is why SEO specialists are in such high demand. Some skills you will require include critical thinking, understanding link building, keyword research, and the ability to adapt rapidly. Trends can come and go like waves in the ocean, so to be able to spot it and ride it, you have to be keen and committed. 

Two people discuss data as they look at a paper with various charts.

Fortunately, tons of SEO platforms offer courses to help you learn about both their tools and services as well as SEO in general. Some that you can check out include Semrush, Moz, and SkillUp.

Social media marketing

We’ve all used at least one social media platform in our lives. In fact, in the modern day, social media is intrinsically connected to your life. It’s hard to avoid it — as it offers practical means of communication across the globe as well as an online space to call your own. 

With many living more of their lives online than off of it, brands have had to establish their own presence in the digital sphere just to grab the attention of their target demographics. A social media marketer is key to establishing this presence. Your brand’s voice, reputation and reach are in your hands.

A smartphone in hand, screen facing viewer. A series of social networking apps are visible on the screen.

Establish a digital presence.

To be an effective social media marketer, you need to have communication down. You’d be the representative of an entity and speaking to an audience, trying to engage them and convince them that your company’s product or services are a good option for them. You may occasionally have to handle conflict, too, so conflict resolution skills and empathy are key. 

You can take courses online to help you with the more technical aspects of social media marketing as well, and learn about how to engage your followers, boost your message, analyze data, and build your online network, among other things. Check out Quintly, eMarketing Institute, and HubSpot.

Once you’ve gotten a firm grasp of social media marketing, you’ll be able to contribute to strengthening your own online presence, too. This, in turn, makes you look like a viable candidate for more lucrative positions.

Final thoughts

Before you even decide on a field to upskill in, you need to work on three things by yourself: time management, passion, and commitment. Unlike when you’re attending lectures and getting assignments to learn, you will be in charge of your own learning progress. 

Manage your time accordingly and stay dedicated to completing your course. 

Keep boosting your skills and certifications listed on your resume. Create a personal development plan to make sure you’re on the right track and that you’re improving consistently. In turn, you’ll see new doors opening that’ll enhance your career to new levels.



Kahless is a writer with a special interest in sociology. He spends much of his free time travelling, reading, writing, and stopping his cats from ripping apart everything he owns. It’s advised to bring along a strong cup of coffee (3 espresso shots minimum) when approaching him.

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