Investing in Your Skills: The Impact One Additional Skill Can Have on Your Paycheck

Employers judge a candidate by their skills, and adding one additional skill to a working learner’s resume can make a noticeable difference in their paycheck.

Take data science as an example. Big Data is a hot commodity on the job market these days as more and more businesses use data analysis to make themselves more efficient. Yet using big data isn’t about becoming a data scientist or a Ph.d statistician.

Burning Glass Technologies research shows that two-thirds of all jobs demanding data science and analytics skills aren’t classic data science jobs. Instead, big data is reshaping other, more traditional jobs as they become more data-driven. Good examples include marketing managers, business analysts, supply chain managers—all roles that increasingly demand data skills.

For working learners, this is a huge opportunity. Workers go back to school precisely because they want to advance their careers, and learning data science skills can bring a considerable salary premium.

Consider the four jobs listed in the chart below. None of them would have been considered a “data job” a few years ago, but if you’ve got data skills, you can command an average annual salary premium of anywhere from $8,000 per year (for a health care administrator) to $33,000 per year for a production plant manager.

Data science covers a lot of territory, and within that field specific skills carry specific benefits, depending on the job.

For example, if you’re in a hard-core data science job, like Computer Science, Data Mining Analyst, or Data Scientist, the most valuable skill is Hadoop. Product Managers or Market Research Analysts will find SQL more in demand. But for many of these roles, such as Market Research Analysts or Data Mining Analysts, the data visualization tool Tableau will also provide a salary boost.

For working learners, the crucial point is this: it doesn’t cost $33,000 to learn skills like SQL or Tableau. And those skills may or may not be built into traditional training programs—a working learner might have to shop around for the right program, or add these skills independently.

Data science isn’t the only skill that can be targeted in this way. Real-time labor data allows for granular analysis of a wide range of job skills, so that educators and corporate learning officers can target training programs more effectively. And with the right guidance and career maps, this data also enables working learners to make smart career choices that pay off.

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