As we finally find our feet in 2019, many of us are now looking to acquire a new skill, to improve our career prospects, or explore an entirely new career pathway.
The new year is the perfect time to add a new string to your bow. With this in mind, we asked attendees at two of our biggest Women in Tech conferences a question: If you could only learn one skill in 2019, what would it be?
We’ve collected the responses to see what our tech community at Women of Silicon Roundabout in London, and European Women in Tech in Amsterdam, wanted to learn in order to improve their careers in the coming year.
Join us at Europe's largest and most vibrant women in tech conference, European Women in Tech 26-27th November 2019 in Amsterdam.
Soft skills vs Tech skills
Over 500 women in tech told us what one skill they would want to learn this year. Many wished to learn soft skills, such as team building, or improve their public speaking abilities, whilst others aimed for technical skills, such as learning a new programming language.
Across all the respondents, there was a fairly even split between these two types of skills. 52% per cent said that they wanted to learn soft skills, whilst 48% opted to learn a technical skill.
Soft skills most wanted
Of the 52% of respondents that wished to learn soft skills in 2019, the skill most in demand was public speaking, at 15.6%. In joint second place was learning how to network better, and to have more confidence – both these skills accounted for 11.5% of soft skills answers.
One could argue that most of the top answers we received are related to confidence in some way. Public speaking, in particular, requires confidence, and speaking in front of a room of peers is a task many find extremely difficult.
At our upcoming Women of Silicon Roundabout conference, we have a range of sessions dedicated to improving soft skills. Here are just some of these:
- Ten Ways To Get Your Colleagues To Work With You Better
- Getting Your Manager Engaged In You & Your Priorities - 5 Ways To Create A Better Relationship With Your Boss
- "Can We Ever Truly Be Ourselves At Work?"
Technical skills most wanted
A massive 29% of all respondents at our events said that they wanted to learn a coding-related skill in the next year – over three times as many as public speaking.
We know that coding and programming skills can be extremely beneficial to women in tech, and provide new opportunities that can boost careers. That’s why we’ve got several coding-related sessions at our agenda for Women of Silicon Roundabout 2019.
- 2019 Coding Trends to Watch
- How Will Coding Be Relevant in the Future?
- The Future of Software Development
Python is the holy grail
Of all the respondents that said they wished to learn a coding-related skill in the next year, 19.8% said that they wished to learn Python, a programming language which has grown massively in popularity in the last few years.
Python is a general-purpose programming language. It’s designed to be easy to read, and the Python community often produce tutorials that have a lighthearted take on traditional coding – the language’s name is a tribute to the comedy sketch group Monty Python.
Interestingly, many respondents said that they wished to learn how to code but did not specify a language. With the vast array of programming languages available to learn, it’s possible these respondents simply didn’t know which would most benefit them. If you want to learn how to code in 2019 but don’t know which language is for you, our session ‘2019 Coding Trends to Watch’ could be very helpful.
Overall, it seems that soft skills, helping professionals to express themselves and work better together, are just as desirable for women in tech as in-depth, technical skills.
Becoming more proficient in any area takes time, but there are several steps you can make to take action, and begin improving yourself and your career.
If it’s a technical proficiency you’re looking to acquire, you could try taking an online course., Coursera, edX and Udemy all have several courses related to coding and other tech-related skills.
If you want to learn in the presence of other women in tech, you should have a look at what’s on offer at a tech conference. Our Women in Tech series offers a whole host of sessions focussed on both soft and technical skills, with inspiring speeches from some of the most successful professionals in their field, and practical hands-on workshops:
2-3 May 2019 - San Francisco Marriott Marquis
25-26 June 2019 - London - Excel
26-27 November 2019 - Amsterdam - RAI
18-19 March 2019 - Cape Town - Century City Conference Centre and Hotel
Perhaps the most important thing to remembers is that you have to start somewhere. There are steps you can take today to begin on your path to learning a new skill, such as reading a relevant online guide, or just ordering a relevant book online. If you want more inspiration to help you decide where to start, check out the stories of these 7 tech entrepreneurs.
Women of Silicon Roundabout, Europe's biggest event for women in tech, returns to London on 25-26 June 2019.