Udemy Workplace Learning Trends 2020: The Skills of the Future

Jennifer Juo

Content Marketing Team Lead, Udemy for Business



November 13, 2019

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is redefining how businesses operate. Artificial intelligence enables computers to learn from experience and accomplish human-like tasks more efficiently by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns. Think of how credit card companies use AI to troll through mountains of data to predict and detect fraudulent activity.

Over the next decade, data analytics and AI will augment workers’ efficiency, as companies rely on leading tech to beat out competitors, according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2019

Is your workforce ready for AI?

However, given the speed of change, most organizations aren’t ready for AI. According to the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 65% of leaders cited AI and robotics as an important or very important issue in human capital. Only 26% of surveyed organizations are ready or very ready to address the impact of these technologies.

Reimagining learning & development in 2020

With large-scale technology disruption, organizations will need to respond in a transformational way. It means rethinking how organizations approach workforce skills and talent management.

Our new 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report highlights the emerging skills your organization needs in 2020 and how you can reimagine learning & development to prepare your workforce for this new decade. 

  • Based on what 40+ million people are learning on Udemy, we uncover the latest learning trends and the hottest skills by role, industry, and country. 
  • Based on a survey of 200 L&D leaders, we also share 5 learning predictions or innovative ways organizations are reinventing learning to prepare their workforce for the future. Download the report here.

Here are some of the report’s learning trends:

1. From concept to reality — AI goes mainstream in 2020

When looking at the hottest skills trending on Udemy over the past three years, we see a shift to AI and data science skills. Machine learning and neural networks are the muscle behind artificial intelligence (AI) innovations that have taken the world by storm. Artificial neural networks (skill #5) mimic how the human brain processes, stores, and acts on information. While self-driving cars or facial recognition are the most popular examples, the power of neural networks can be leveraged for just about every industry. 

Building these neural networks and machine learning models is a complex task. New technologies like TensorFlow (skill #1) make this process easier. Tensorflow is an open-source library featuring machine learning algorithms and code for developers to apply to their own applications.
Computer vision is the field of AI that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images like facial recognition tasks. OpenCV (skill #4) is another open-source library of programming functions that helps developers build real-time computer vision applications. Driven by AI, chatbots (skill #2) can recreate the way a human interacts with customers to solve administrative tasks, sales, or frequently asked questions. Download the report to get the full list.

2. Industries are becoming more AI and data driven

We also took a look at the top 10 fastest-growing skills by industry on Udemy for Business and saw interesting trends in AI and robotic process automation. For example, the manufacturing industry is upskilling on artificial intelligence skills like deep learning and neural networks as well as app development like Android and Kubernetes. Soft skills such as focus mastery and business strategy are also popular fast-growing skills in manufacturing. In the government and nonprofit sector, employees are learning robotic process automation, AWS cloud, and cybersecurity. Soft skills include emotional intelligence and gender equality.  

Finally, fast-growing skills in the consumer goods industry include artificial intelligence skills like algorithms and Natural Language Processing, cybersecurity, and soft skills like goal setting. Download the eBook to find out the top 10 skills by industry.

3. Learning & development teams are starting to reskill the workforce 

Organizations tend to lay off workers to address obsolete skills and then hire for new skills to move the business forward. However, with tight labor markets, business leaders are beginning to recognize retraining existing talent for new roles as more effective than competing for scarce talent, particularly in the data science and AI fields. While reskilling for future skills requires long-term planning, the cost of disruptive layoffs and hiring can be more expensive than providing continuous training for employees. 

“The net savings: it can cost as much as six times more to hire from the outside than to build from within,” concludes a recent study by Josh Bersin.

In our survey of 200 L&D leaders, 39% of L&D leaders said current jobs are either being altered or replaced by new technologies like AI and automation. 59% of L&D leaders reskilled 10–20% of their workforce in the last year. 64% of organizations have an informal or formal reskilling program. For example, at Booz Allen Hamilton, they are retraining thousands of internal employees as data scientists — effectively transforming their organization. See How Booz Allen Hamilton is Winning the War on Talent

To find out more about the hottest skills trending by role, industry, and global country benchmarking, explore the full 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report here.

About Udemy for Business:

Udemy for Business is a learning platform that helps companies stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing workplace by offering fresh, relevant on-demand learning content, curated from the Udemy marketplace. Our mission is to help employees do whatever comes next—whether that’s the next project to do, skill to learn, or role to master. We’d love to partner with you on your employee development needs. Get in touch with us at business@udemy.com

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Discover the latest trending tech & soft skills, top 10 skills by industry & role, and how organizations are preparing their workforce for the future.

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