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According to Coursera’s CEO, These Are the Skills We Need to Succeed in 2019

By Cait Etherington
December 16, 2018

If you’re contemplating your New Year’s resolutions and don’t want to give something up in 2019, consider learning something new instead. If you’re wondering what new skills to acquire, a great place to start is with Jeff Maggioncalda recently published list of skills you’ll need in 2019. Not surprisingly, Maggioncalda, Coursera’s CEO, suggests learning more about artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, but he also highlights a few other key skills for 2019.

Lifelong Learning is Here to Stay

Maggioncalda joined Coursera as CEO in 2017.  As someone who has pivoted several times in his own career, Maggioncalda knows all about lifelong learning. Since taking the reins of Coursera, he has also become a public advocate for it. As he recently told Forbes magazine, “If you look at what’s going on in the world, we’re living in a period of unprecedented change. Globalization and technology – especially AI, robotics and social media – are having a profound and accelerating impact on our lives, and it is posing some significant challenges for humanity.” But as he also emphasizes, Coursera is committed to responding to this unprecedented change: “We are a platform that connects the world’s best educators and employers to bring life-transforming learning and credentials to people around the world.”

Artificial Intelligence Is Among Key Skills for 2019

As reported on eLearning Inside, in early 2019, Coursera will launch “AI for Everyone.” The course was developed by Andrew Ng–one of Coursera’s co-founders and a lead at Google’s Brain Project. As Ng emphasized at the time of the new course’s announcement, today, everyone needs to understand AI, not just engineers.

Maggioncalda agrees that the time has now come for everyone to learn about AI. As he explains in a post on the Coursera website, “We’re seeing demand from non-technical company leaders across industries to understand how to they can align their long-term business strategies with today’s AI capabilities. This foundational knowledge will only become more important to executives next year, as AI continues to dominate business plans around the globe.” On this basis, AI is at the top of Maggioncalda’s list of key skills for 2019.

Data Science Needs Expertise

Like AI, data science is a rapidly expanding field in desperate need of expertise. On this basis, it also ranks high on Maggioncalda’s list of key skills for 2019. As he observes, “McKinsey forecasts that in the coming year, the U.S. will experience a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts who can use big data to make effective decisions.” Maggioncalda notes that a lever to accessing these emerging roles is understanding how Python relates to data science. “Predicted to be one of the fastest growing programming languages of 2019,” says Maggioncalda, “Python is critical for both traditional data roles as well as computer and data science-related jobs in emerging technology sectors like cryptocurrency, information technology, and web development.”

Other Key Skills for 2019

Beyond AI and data science, Maggioncalda emphasizes the value of some sector-specific skills and knowledge sets, including those applicable to the healthcare sector. As he notes, “Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026; that’s about 2.4 million new jobs, more than any other occupational group.”  But the most important thing anyone can do in 2019 is learn to learn.

“AI, data science, and industry skills may have been the most in-demand this past year, but it’s impossible to know if these same skills will dominate the market in the coming five to ten years,” says Maggioncalda. As he explains, “Learning how to learn is the key to lifelong career success in today’s dynamic workforce.” So, how does one get started? Predictably, Maggioncalda highly recommends Barbara Oakley’s Coursera course on Learning How to Learn.  The MOOC, which was a DIY affair shot in Oakley’s own basement with the help of family on a budge of just $5000, is the most popular MOOC offered on the Coursera platform and apparently, the most popular MOOC in the world.

Feature image by Roven Images on Unsplash.