9 Hot Tech Skills for 2018

Posted on January 10, 2018

Jennifer Juo

Jennifer Juo

HR and L&D Insights Writer at Udemy for Business

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Based on analyzing the kind of skills 20+ million people are learning on Udemy and Udemy for Business, we can spot hot tech skills that are trending. Here are the 9 top tech skills for 2018 that companies and employees should keep an eye on to stay ahead of the game.

1. Kotlin

New programming language Kotlin helps streamline Android app development. Kotlin v1.0 was released in February 2016 as an alternative to Java for Android app development. On our Udemy platform, learning on Kotlin courses spiked by 95x last year, making it the #1 hot tech skill for 2018.

Java is an older language, verbose, error-prone, and has been slow to modernize. Kotlin is a new modern, sophisticated programming language that simplifies and streamlines the Android development process. Once Kotlin was released in 2016, two Kotlin courses started trending on Udemy. When Google announced formal support for Kotlin in May 2017, 29 more courses were published (5 in May alone) and consumption of Kotlin courses skyrocketed. See popular course: Kotlin for Beginners: Learning Programming with Kotlin.

2. Neural Networks

Neural networks, also known as Deep Learning, are pushing computing power into a new frontier. As the second most popular skill, we saw a 58x growth rate of neural network learners last year on Udemy and expect this skill to continue to be in-demand in 2018.

Driving autonomously through busy streets or recognizing human emotions through facial expressions is possible as a result of a new type of computer simulation based on the structure of the human brain. Artificial neural networks simulate neuron-like connections and mimic how the human brain processes, stores, and acts on information.

The power of neural networks can be leveraged for just about every industry – from online retail (shopping cart analysis) and finance (credit card fraud prevention) to sports (winning games), healthcare (disease prevention), and agriculture (managing crops). See popular course on Udemy: Deep Learning A-Z: Hands-on Artificial Neural Networks.

3. Project Management

On our Udemy platform, we saw a 42x uptick in learners taking Certified Associate Project Management(CAPM) courses, making it the 3rd most in-demand skill. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is a certification course that teaches the essentials of effective project management. It is a critical first stepping-stone for entry-level project manager roles.

Project management is a rapidly growing profession. 87.7 million project managers will be needed by 2027, and qualified talent is in huge demand, according to the Project Management Institute. This talent shortage in project management skills poses risks for companies. Failure to anticipate this projected demand could result in a loss of $207.9 billion in gross domestic product through 2027. See popular course on Udemy: CAPM Exam Prep: Earn your CAPM Certification.

4. Apache Kafka

Apache Kafka integrates diverse data sources enabling companies to understand customer behavior. Apache Kafka is the engine behind internet companies like Twitter or Airbnb. By integrating diverse kinds of data such as likes, page clicks, searches, orders, shopping carts, and inventory, Apache Kafka feeds this data into predictive analytic engines that can analyze customer behavior.

We saw a 40x growth in demand for Apache Kafka courses on Udemy last year, making it the 4th hot tech skill for 2018. Apache Kafka-related questions on Google Search and tech forums like StackOverflow and Github have also skyrocketed in recent years—signaling a trending hot topic. See popular course on Udemy: The Apache Kafka Series: From Beginner to Intermediate.

Apache Kafka’s ability to integrate and synthesize valuable data can be a differentiator for businesses as they seek to innovate and stay one step ahead of competitors. But it’s not just for internet startups; traditional large enterprises are also starting to take note of its advantages.

5. GraphQL

GraphQL is a data query language developed internally by Facebook in 2012 to improve mobile app performance. Almost every application pulls data from a remote data source such as a server. As mobile apps become more complex and data-rich, GraphQL optimizes mobile performance by redesigning data-fetching or how data is retrieved from servers to update mobile apps and webviews.

GraphQL was publicly released in 2015 and provides an alternative to REST and ad-hoc web service architectures. Demand for GraphQL courses on our Udemy platform grew by 39x last year, making it the 5th hot tech skill to pay attention to in 2018. See popular course on Udemy: GraphQL with React: The Complete Developer’s Guide.

6. Chef Software

Chef Software helps automate the management of IT infrastructure like physical servers or the cloud. Chef is a configuration management tool that ensures the files and software on a machine are present, configured correctly, and working properly. When you have one server or even fifteen, it’s possible to configure them manually, even though it might be time-consuming. But if your IT infrastructure scales to thousands, it becomes easier to rely on Chef or other third party software to help automate the management process.

Many companies use Chef to control and manage their infrastructure, so it’s not surprising Chef is the 6th most popular tech skill in 2018, with demand for Chef software courses on our Udemy platform growing by 35x last year. See popular course on Udemy: Chef Fundamentals: A Recipe for Automating Infrastructure.

7. Microsoft Certification

Microsoft certification courses on Azure, SQL Server, Windows Server and Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Outlook, and Powerpoint) continued to be popular skills. Demand for Microsoft certification courses grew by 34x on our Udemy platform, making it the 7th in-demand skill for 2018. See popular course: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions Certification.

8. Artificial Intelligence

Closely related to neural networks, artificial intelligence is the 8th hot tech skill for 2018–with learners mastering artificial intelligence on Udemy expanding by 31x this past year.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is considered the most important technological innovation of our era. AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience. AI enables computer systems to perform tasks that require human intelligence like speech recognition, visual recognition, chess-playing, or self-driving cars.

The speed in which AI technology has improved in accuracy and effectiveness in just the last few years makes it possible to use in many industries. AI can help scan images and detect cancer with better accuracy than humans or analyze patterns on PayPal to catch out money launderers. The applications for AI in business are endless, and we’ve only scratched the surface. See popular course: Artificial Intelligence A-Z: Learn How to Build an AI.

9. Ethereum

Ethereum is an open software platform based on blockchain technology. Blockchains are a ledger of transactions that are recorded as “blocks,” time-stamped, and unalterable. Blockchains are designed so that data cannot be altered retroactively, making it more resistant to fraud or tampering. Ethereum blockchains are used by developers to build and deploy decentralized applications that are not controlled by any individual or central entity.

Similar to Bitcoin blockchains, which provide a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments, Ethereum blockchains can run code on any decentralized application for managing records or transactions like voting records, bank loans, medical records, or regulatory compliance.

These decentralized applications are more resistant to corruption, tampering, and hacking as third parties cannot make changes to data, and no individual is involved in running the system. Ethereum has the potential to disrupt all kinds of industries from finance and insurance to real estate.

On our Udemy platform, we noticed a 20x uptick in demand for Ethereum courses last year, making it the 9th hot tech skill in 2018. Popular course: Ethereum BlockChain Developer: Build Projects Using Solidity. Expect to hear more about Ethereum in 2018 and beyond.

For information on other hot tech skills and learning trends, download our latest report 5 Workplace Learning Trends & 5 Predictions for 2018.

Udemy is an online learning marketplace founded in 2010 with 20+ million students worldwide, 55,000+ courses, and 30,000+ instructors. Udemy for Business curates the best content from Udemy for companies to support the ongoing learning and development needs of their employees.

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