Some of the hottest jobs on the market right now are those within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Experts anticipate that these positions will only continue to increase in the future. Economic Modeling Specialists International predict that STEM jobs will grow 13 percent between 2017 and 2027, with the largest changes in computing, engineering and advanced manufacturing. To fill these positions, employers look for highly skilled individuals but are faced with a talent shortage. In 2015, the same institution reported that only 25.6 percent of degrees and certificates were in STEM fields. With an increasing demand for these positions and not enough candidates to fill them, employers are challenged to be creative in their hiring processes in order to find the right individuals for the job.

Today, we will look at which skills are the most sought after for a position in STEM and dive into some unconventional ways to learn these skills.


Hard skills are specific abilities that can be measured and evaluated. These skills are often essential for most STEM positions and are unique to the industry and level of experience required for the role. 15 of the 21 skills listed in Money Magazine’s “The 21 Most Valuable Career Skills Now” are hard skills. This may not be surprising, as many high paying jobs require expertise in a handful of these skills. Which hard skills are the most sought after by employers? LinkedIn cites the following skills as the most in-demand hard skills for 2018:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing

2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

3. Middleware and Integration Software

4. Web Architecture and Development Framework

5. User Interface Design

6. Software Revision Control Systems

7. Data Presentation

8. SEO/SEM Marketing

9. Mobile Development

10. Network and Information Security

Soft skills are less tangible than hard skills and are more difficult to measure. Though they may not be as emphasized in job requirements, these skills are what help individuals make an impact and succeed in their position. In a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 77 percent of employers believe that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. LinkedIn surveyed 2000 businesses to find out what soft skills are the most in-demand for 2018. The top four they identified are:

1. Leadership

2. Communication

3. Collaboration

4. Time Management


Resources to learn these skills

Regardless of career path, hard and soft skills can help you secure a STEM position and excel in your role. Today, there are many resources to expand your abilities in these areas including educational institutions, professional development programs and online organizations for specific disciplines. Below, we’ve listed a few popular online resources to learn some of the skills mentioned above.

Online Resources for Hard Skills:

Online Resources for Soft Skills:


Show what you know

All of these skills are important to have, but they won’t help you land a job if you don’t showcase them to hiring managers. Incorporating your technical expertise with examples of ways you’ve used soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and effective prioritization will help your resume stand out. Below, we’ve listed some places you can easily highlight your skills and better your chances of landing an interview – or even a new career opportunity!

Places to Make Your Skills Shine:

  • Resume/CV
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Cover letters
  • Phone screens
  • Interviews

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