Hybrid Jobs: A 4-Minute Primer on Fast-Growing, Lucrative Career Paths
March 6, 2020 | edX team
Jobs are mutating to be unexpected, hybrid combinations of skills that Burning Glass Technologies call “the secret of career success in the digital world ahead.”
According to their Hybrid Job Economy report, hybrid roles are growing at twice the rate of the overall job market, and are 20-40% higher-paying than their more traditional counterparts. In fact, often, the introduction of a single skill can increase salaries by up to 40%.
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What exactly are hybrid jobs? And how can you build hybrid skill sets that set you apart in a job market rapidly evolving alongside new digital technologies? Take 4 minutes to read this article and get started on your path to the fastest growing, highest paying, most future-resistant skills.
What are Hybrid Jobs?
Hybrid jobs draw upon skill sets from widely different, traditionally unrelated fields. They’re complex, multidisciplinary, and often blend technical left-brain skills with creative right-brain skills.
“Some of these jobs are new, some are new versions of existing jobs, but all of them pose much different challenges for workers, students, employers, and educators,” The Hybrid Job Economy report reads.
“Most of us are familiar with hybrid cars, animals, plants, molecules, investments… the list goes on,” said edX founder and CEO Anant Agarwal in an article for Forbes. “When something is a hybrid version of itself, we associate it with being something new, unique perhaps, even something exciting. The same can be said for hybrid jobs and hybrid professionals. Hybrid jobs are taking the workforce by storm, mixing equal parts traditional business knowledge, like management skills or relationship building, with equal parts in-demand and in-the-moment new skills, like data analytics or coding.”
Adding Hybrid Technical Skills: Data Science and Computer Science
Big data and analytics skills are widening the opportunity for careers specifically in fields like data science, but according to the the Hybrid Job Economy report, the bigger impact is on jobs that once had little to do with statistics, like marketing and business. For example, an increasing range of professionals are leveraging data science skills to ask questions and explore problems.
“Data science is a 21st century job skill that everybody should have. Everybody should have some knowledge of these tools. Every field,” said Eric Van Dusen, curriculum coordinator for data science education at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. “I tell students, you all need to learn this language. You all need to come out with this set of skills. You’re going to be a lot more powerful in whatever career you go into.”
And you don’t need to be starting from a non-technical career to benefit from adding more technical skills–you can diversify.
“Some of my favorite types of students say, ‘I’m a chemist by trade,’ or ‘I’m a physicist,’ and I don’t want to change careers but I understand computer science is important to my career,” said David Joyner, PhD and executive director of online education for the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Antonio Cangiano, software developer at the IBM Digital Business Group, echoes that idea for the artificial intelligence space.
“The best job opportunities will be available to those who can apply AI to their existing domain-specific knowledge of a particular field. For example, if you specialize in cybersecurity, injecting AI into the mix will allow you to distinguish yourself in the job marketplace,” Cangiano said.
Learn more about building hybrid skills in data science and computer science.
Adding Hybrid Creative and “Power” Skills
The demand for technical skills is a driving force of job hybridization, but it’s not the only factor behind this shift. Jobs in fields that were once purely technical, from engineering and IT, now require business knowledge as well as communication, collaboration, and leadership skills.
“Hybrid jobs are significantly more likely to demand skills like writing, creativity, and collaboration than jobs in general,” The Hybrid Jobs report reads. “Just like the marketing manager who is now an analyst, the software engineer or data scientist is now a business person, designer, and team worker.”
For example, the seven most important skills Google looks for in prospective employees are all soft, or “power,” skills, including communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
“Power skills will be the differentiator between those earning the median income and those in the highest tax brackets. Also, power skills are deeply satisfying to use when perfected. They’ll be the breed of data scientist and strategist that every CEO wants by her side,” said John Johnson, strategic program manager for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland.
Anthony Suen, program analyst for the UC Berkeley Data Science Education Program and Berkeley Institute of Data Science (BDIS) fellow, also sees these skills being especially impactful for those working in emerging roles like data science.
“We’re kind of in a transition place where the value is starting to stream in and projects can be more successful. And I think that takes not just a purely technical mind. It takes that kind of a hybrid mindset, knowing what actually will benefit the organization, and how to really influence change in the organization,” Suen said.
Learn more about strengthening core business and soft skills.
Use Modular Learning to Build Customized, Hybrid Skill Sets
Modular, online education is a great tool to build hybrid skill sets, offering the ability to augment your education with a specialized credential or portion of a degree to more easily combine humanities skills with technology skills, communication skills with coding skills, data analysis skills with design skills, etc. and better position yourself in today’s job market.
Set yourself up for success: explore hybrid skill-building courses and programs that draw from today’s fastest-growing, highest-paying fields.
“I am confident that the hybridization of jobs across all industries is a powerful and meaningful movement, and is here to stay,” Agarwal said.
“[Using modular learning,] students can essentially synthesize their own education with the customized skill set they need to advance their careers, making for a truly unique job candidate. Hiring companies will also have clearer insights into the skill set that a potential candidate has, as the modular credentials of their education will call out the types of skills the candidate has acquired.”