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Top 10 hard skills that employers will be looking for in 2022

Top 10 hard skills that employers will be looking for in 2022

In a previous post: Top 10 soft skills that employers will be looking for in 2022, I said that once you know what your soft skills are then you can apply them to hard skills training. Hard skills are the job-specific certifications that qualify you for the position you are applying for and they are what we will look at in this post.

Whereas in the Soft Skills post, I concentrated on the top 10 skills, the number of hard skills available are way too numerous to write about individually.  So, I have listed the top 10 areas that employers are looking to fill, explained a little about each one and then listed underneath the hard skills necessary to qualify you in that area.  However, before we take a look at these skills, let’s first look at computer literacy

Computer Literacy

I have put computer literacy at the top of the list because without a basic knowledge of navigating a computer, it would be very difficult to carry out regular job searches, and although computer literacy is not listed as a top hard skill, employers practically take it for granted that you will be able to use a computer.  So, as a new job seeker, if you are not already computer literate then when choosing your hard skills training, it would firstly be worth considering courses such as Microsoft Office which covers the below areas.

Microsoft Office is a set of tools used by almost everyone nowadays.  The course consists of every package you will need as a beginner in IT and I have listed them below:

Word is a word processing programme that enables writing and editing text.

Excel is a spreadsheet programme for storing and sorting data

PowerPoint is a way of creating and presenting designs, animations and information

Outlook covers using email, calendar and contact information

OneNote is a digital notebook where you can save text, images, screen clippings and audio files

Access is a database management system that can be linked to other apps and databases

Publisher – is a layout tool where you can alter and style many things such as text or pictures

Aside from basic computer know-how, companies very often use Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft SharePoint, so it would also be worth familiarizing yourself with these applications (apps) too.  As well as this, because of the pandemic more and more employers are turning to apps such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom for interviews, so these too might be worth familiarizing yourself with, especially if you are looking for an office-based role.

So, now that we’ve covered the basics of computer literacy, let’s have a look at hard skills employers really will be looking for in 2022.  We’ll start with data analytics…


1) Technical literacy (high level IT)

High level IT skills are those that include sound knowledge of using specialised computer software or equipment.  I have listed some below, but we will look at others as we go through each skills area:

  • CAD (Computer-aided design)
  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Multivariant Analysis
  • CRM (Customer relationship management)
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills
  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)

NB: It is HTML that provides the coding for the structure of web pages, whilst CSS provides the visual and oral presentation.


2) Data Analytics & Data Science

Whereas the data analyst makes sense of existing data, the data scientist role is slightly different because it is they who find new ways to capture the data that analysts work on.  By collecting, evaluating and processing business data, analysts and scientists’ roles alike allow valuable insight to company performance.  With strong programming knowledge added to finely tuned analytical skills, data analysts and scientists can solve many problems and issues.  They are of real value to any employer.  So, if you are good at figures and programming, data science could be the perfect career.

Some courses to look at in this area:

  • Microsoft Future Ready: Introduction to Data Science
  • Microsoft Future Ready: Introduction to Azure Cloud for Data Scientists
  • Introduction to Data Science with Microsoft Azure
  • IBM Data Science
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • SQL
  • Oracle
  • Visual Basic
  • Microsoft VBA


3) Cyber Security

Cyber security is a very sought-after hard skill and one that is not going to lessen in demand any time soon.  As more and more businesses spread their data through different networks, so more hackers relentlessly try to breach these networks.  Cyber security skills therefore are very much here to stay.  If this is the area you would like to get into, then have a look at the list below:

  • Microsoft Technical
  • Cisco (Core Information Systems Control Officer)
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
  • CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association)
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner
  • CompTIA Cyber Security Analyst+
  • CompTIA CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)


4) Cloud Computing

Remote servers such as Google Drive or Dropbox are now increasingly popular with businesses and private users alike.  Cloud engineers must be tech-savvy as they are responsible for the technical structure and design of the user interface.  They plan, manage and maintain cloud infrastructure.  If you are looking to get into cloud computing, you need to have a strong knowledge of web services, application programming interface (API), It, data Security and Data Migration. 

Courses you might like to look at for this kind of career are listed below:

  • AWS (Amazon Web Services)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA A+ Technician, Network+, Security Training Bundle


5) Web Development

A web developer designs and develops web applications.  They are the architects who create the site and then take care of any further developments, maintenance and on-going optimisations as necessary.  They also develop software solutions to issues.  So, if you are looking to get into web development and design you will need a good understanding of coding and programming.  Have a look at courses such as:

  • Python       
  • JavaScript
  • SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • C# (pronounced C-Sharp)
  • C++
  • JavaScript
  • Power BI
  • HTML


6) UX Design (User Experience)

User Experience (UX) designers research how users behave and interact with products.  Once they have gathered this information, they will design interactive prototypes and test them with users which allows them to provide the best possible user experience.  The UX designer creates digital services that make for convenience and ease of usage for the customer.  With the increasing number of websites and apps, UX designers are very much in demand.  To get into the field of UX design you will need to have a solid foundation in user research, prototyping and information architecture.

Courses to look at include but are not limited to:

  • Introduction to User Experience Design
  • User Experience Design Fundamentals Course
  • Professional Diploma in UX Design
  • Google UX Design Certificate


7) Marketing skills

Marketing skills are most valuable to those who wish to work in social media, advertising, e-commerce or product management areas.  You need a general knowledge of sales, advertising and consumer research as well as some quite highly technical digital skills if you wish to pursue this kind of career.  The most relevant skills for marketing are analytics, data visualisation, campaign management, content creation, data-driven marketing. 

For training in this field have a look at the list below:

  • Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing
  • Certified Social Media Marketing Specialist
  • Certified Search Marketing Specialist 
  • Certified Digital Strategy & Planning Specialist 
  • IOSH Working Safely   
  • IOSH Managing Safely    
  • SEO Power Suite  

Courses such as UX Design, Google Analytics, Google AdWords and Facebook paid ads would also be worth looking at as well as PPC (Pay-Per-Click). 


8) Project Management

You might not necessarily want to pursue a career in project management but that is not to say that you would not benefit from such training. To have project management skills would be a feather in your cap in any environment.  It shows you can coordinate people and tasks and that you have a knowledge of certain project management frameworks and software.  Microsoft Project would be a good place to start, but also look at this list of courses:

  • PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner                                                 
  • PMP® Project Management Professional
  • PRINCE2 Agile® Foundation & Practitioner
  • AgilePM® Foundation & Practitioner
  • Change Management Foundation & Practitioner
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt
  • Kanban
  • ITIL® 4

There is also the option to progress from project management to a career in programme management, whereby you would manage a programme of several projects rather than just one.  If this sort of career interests you then have a look at Managing Successful Programmes (MSP).


9) Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly popular as an approach to problem-solving for large and small businesses.  Companies such as Amazon use AI for demand forecasting; machine learning algorithms estimate potential orders, so costs and storage are reduced.  This brings savings for the customer. There are new fields of AI applications constantly evolving such as facial recognition software and self-driving cars, so creativity is an essential soft skill. In terms of hard skills to be an AI professional would require a Batchelor’s degree in computer science, IT, maths, statistics and finances. You would also need a solid foundation in such areas as software design and programming.


10) Graphic Design skills

If you are a skilled illustrator and have the ability to create professional and polished visuals, then graphic design may suit your career aspirations. Below is a list of graphic design skills that employers are looking for now (and will be even more so in 2022):

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • UX design
  • Data visualization

So, these are the top 10 hard skills areas that employers will be looking to fill in 2022, but there are many more besides and I have listed these below.


Business Protection/Compliance Courses

If you like the idea of a finance or investment-based career, then look for a CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment) accredited course.  The CISI is a global professional body who set the standards of conduct for these industries.  They provide globally recognized qualifications for financial and investment professionals.   These courses also qualify for CPD points.


Compliance courses

  • GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation
  • Business Continuity Management
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Operational Risk Management
  • Information Security and Cyber Risk Awareness
  • Anti-money Laundering (AML)
  • Anti-Bribery/Anti-Corruption Training
  • As well as any of the above courses, a business analysis course may interest you, so have a look at one of the below:
  • BCS Accredited International Diploma in Business Analysis
  • Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing
  • Certified Social Media Marketing Specialist



If you are good with figures, perhaps a career in accounting would suit you.  Have a look at the courses I have listed below:

  • Sage Accounts
  • Sage Payroll
  • AAT (Association for Accounting Technicians)
  • CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)                   
  • CeMAP Mortgage Advisor 1, 2, 3 & CeRER Equity Release                   
  • CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment)

Again, for these sorts of careers you will need to know your way around various computer software packages. 



It goes without saying that you really should possess good people skills to be a good manager.  As well as this you need project management skills and a knowledge of associated frameworks and software.  You need to have business knowledge too as you’ll be planning, budgeting and dealing with finances, logistics, negotiations and other tasks besides.

A good starting point for this type of career would be a Better Business Cases course, or a Management of Risk (MoR) course.  A CMI (Chartered Management Institute) Diploma in Management and Leadership would also be a worthy qualification to be considered.


Customer service

Whilst some say this is a hard skill, I do not totally agree.  Anybody can become customer service qualified with perhaps a National Vocational Certificate in Customer Services (or something similar), but good customer service should also be listed as a soft skill.  Customer service requires adaptability, communication, collaboration, and if the customer is having issues, then decision-making, creativity and emotional intelligence may also be required.


Presentation skills

Presentation skills are both soft and hard skills.  They require confidence, adaptability, self-awareness (emotional intelligence), decision-making and good communication skills.  (Maybe a little stress management too if you do not like presenting?)  On the hard skills side of things, Microsoft PowerPoint would be an excellent place to start, but also Microsoft Visio and/or a graphic design, data research, analysis and reporting course would be extremely useful too. There are also, many presentation skills courses available. 

Writing skills

Similarly to good customer service, I would argue that writing is both a soft and a hard skill.  To some, writing is a soft skill because it comes naturally, but if you do not have a natural flare for grammar or spelling, there are courses that will give you the necessary hard skills to be able to create emails and documents.  There are also many tools to assist with grammar and spelling and a solid grasp of writing technique will not hurt anyone’s CV. 

Below I have listed some courses that might interest the budding writer:

  • Note-taking
  • Letter writing
  • Email writing
  • Business reporting and content management
  • Data visualization
  • Creative writing
  • Copywriting
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Editing
  • Journalism
  • Presentation writing
  • Proposal writing


Language skills

Speaking a second language is a great advantage in the job search market.  Being able to speak more than one language will set you apart from other candidates, especially if the company deals with international customers.  If you are good at languages, then it would be worthwhile learning as many as you are comfortable with.  If you live in Wales, then Welsh might be a good one to start with as it is increasingly in demand especially in the medical or customer-facing professions.  German, French and Spanish are also often asked for by employers.


Health and Safety

First Aid is an asset on anyone’s CV, regardless of job or industry sector.  If you are interested in mental health first aid, then have a look at eMHFA which is an e-learning course.  Particularly since the pandemic, mental health issues are of increasing concern to employers, so skills in this area would sit well on any CV.

Health and safety courses such as Working safely IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) would also look good on your CV as a hard skill.  IOSH qualifications are ideal for those who need to manage risks and resources but who are not necessarily health and safety personnel.  They are not as intense as a NEBOSH course would be.

NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) provide widely recognized health and safety certifications.  Similarly to IOSH, NEBOSH offer a selection of courses tailored to various job roles and industries, but the courses are more in-depth than IOSH and are geared towards those who wish to pursue (or are already pursuing) a career in health and safety.  They are often a prerequisite for supervisory or managerial positions.  NEBOSH certificates to consider are:

  • NEBOSH National General Certificate
  • NEBOSH National Fire Certificate
  • NEBOSH National Certiifcate in Construction Health and Safety
  • NEBOSH National Diploma
  • NEBOSH International Diploma


Construction Skills Training

If you are looking to get into the construction industry then have a look at any CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) recognised courses.  Many construction roles demand this training as a minimum requirement.

  • CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course (1 day)
  • CITB (SSSTS) Site Supervisors Safety Training (2 Day)
  • CITB (SMSTS) Site Management Safety Training Scheme (5 Day)

You will need to hold a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card if you are going to access a construction site career.  To acquire this card you will have to complete a CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test.  As someone new to construction it will more than likely be the Operatives test you will need to sit as this covers the most common skills such as labouring, brick-laying, carpentry and decorating, to name but a few.


SIA – Security Industry Authority

There are several qualifications you could look at to top your hard skills up if you wanted to get into security.  This is not just about standing on night club doors checking who comes in or out or walking around a supermarket all day watching for unsavory characters.  There are several branches to an SIA licence as you will see by the list below:

  • Qualification for a cash and valuables in transit licence
  • Qualification for a close protection licence
  • Qualification for a door supervisor licence
  • Qualifications for key holding
  • Qualification for a public space surveillance (CCTV) licence
  • Qualification for a security guarding licence
  • Qualification for a vehicle immobilising licence

For this type of work, there are also City and Guilds and NOCN (National Open College Network) qualifications available.



If you prefer the open road, then a HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) licence might be the hard skill for your CV.  Providing you have a Passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) licence you can also drive a minibus and if you have a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence you can drive public buses too.



Introduction to HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) covers food safety and food hygiene certificates as well as allergen awareness courses.  These courses are geared specifically to retail, manufacturing or catering industries. They are approved by RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) and count as CPD (Continuous Professional Development) points.  You could also look at the Alcohol Personal Licence holder or the Licenced Premises staff course.  Both accrue CPD points.


Green Energy

Do you fancy becoming a solar project manager or an ocean advocate?  If you care about the environment and wish to follow a career in green energy then you will need many skills such as (Hi) technical knowledge, an inquiring mind, innovation, good communications skills and a passion and motivation to make changes for the better. 

Courses to consider:

  • Green Chemistry
  • Sustainable Urban and Regional Planning
  • Sustainable Food Systems
  • Geographic Information Systems Science and Technology


In Summary

As we grow increasingly reliant on technology the demand for IT professionals is also increasing.  So, whilst the top 10 skills areas that employers will be looking for in 2022 are mostly IT related, don’t be put off by this fact.  There are many hard skills and trades available that are not in the world of IT and I have tried to capture some of them in this post. 

Whether you choose to pursue a career in IT or not, you would be well advised to become computer literate (if you aren’t already).  Whatever career path you choose, when applying for jobs it is most likely that you will be doing so on a computer.  You may even find that your interview will take place virtually too.  The hard skills you choose to pursue will largely depend on the soft skills that you already have, but the more skills you can gain, the more you have to offer employers.

So, we hope this post has given you some ideas to think about during the festive season and all that remains to be said is… from all of us here at NILC, we wish you a merry Christmas, a prosperous new year and a happy job search.


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