10 Easy Ways to Get Hard Skills

  1. Project Management—setting goals, due dates, running meetings, driving consensus, and overall managing people, leading people, and helping teams of people be a success.
  2. Software Engineering—Almost everything has a tech component these days. Building your own software is a critical skill in any business (Software Engineer).
  3. Data Analysis—Whether it is building a financial model, making sense of marketing web traffic data, designing a survey, or analyzing the efficiency of a supply chain, every business needs its workers to know the fundamentals (and expertise) in data analysis.
  4. Design & User Experience—Every business has a visual or human-interaction component. From visual ads and the brand, to how the product or factory is designed, to how the website looks and works, the skill of design and user experience is critical.
  5. Marketing & Sales—Every business has to sell itself to people, so the hard skill of building a sales pipeline and handling objections or creating a marketing funnel and tracking and optimizing for conversions is critical.

Project Management

I wouldn’t recommend signing up for a PM Udemy course—it will probably be pretty dry. Instead I recommend just deciding on a team project to do and then do it. Projects anyone can do include:

  • Throw an event for a community, business, or school. Could be a volunteer day, a party, or a musical event.
  • Make a mini conference like an unconference or a hackathon
  1. Airtable—to track things and make sign up forms and surveys
  2. Google Docs—to make shared documents and spreadsheets
  3. Trello—to track tasks as “Todo”, “Doing”, and “Done”
  1. Radical Candor
  2. First Break All The Rules
  3. First Time Manager
  4. The Coaching Habit
  5. How to Make Friends and Influence People

Software Engineering

Software engineers, web devs, code monkeys, pixel pushers, whatever you want to call them, they are critical to almost every business these days. But where to start?

Data Analysis

Data analysis is a newer but ever more critical super skill found in almost every business context these days.

Design & User Interaction

To get started on design all you need is a pen and paper.

Marketing & Sales

How do you become a great marketer or sales person?

Industry Contacts & Mentors

In all cases, as you get involved in these hard skills it is a great strategy to reach out to people who know more than you do and get coffee or have a brief phone call. Ask them about how they got started and what they’d recommend you do. Ask them what are the best and worst parts about their jobs and career. Let them do most of the talking!



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Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.