Hard skills-The New Industry to Explode

Hard skills

Hard skills

Hard skills are the abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify and learn. One will be able to learn hard skills in the classroom, through books or other learning materials, or on the job. Examples include knowledge of a programming language, your proficiency with a software suite (Suites Office, Adobe Creative), or your fluency in a foreign language. Learning skills is not the same as learning facts. You can think of a skill as a mental organ that lets you understand some aspect of the world and take advantage of it.

Why skills are important

Hard skills are what you need to do well on a job that requires them, and they are needed for anything that requires a good deal of mental effort. This can include anything from working out how to fold a paper plane so it flies, to doing a crossword puzzle, to doing your taxes.

Hard skills are like the muscles in your body. They need to be exercised to get stronger and more useful. And like muscles, they cannot develop until you start doing something physical: running or lifting weights with weights or playing an instrument with your hands. If you want children who can solve complicated problems, you should spend as much time teaching them how to solve simple ones as how to solve complicated ones.

The world is full of things that are hard to do, but once you know how to do them, there’s no reason to. Computers are hard to program. But once you know the right way to write it and then run it, it can be done in a few hours. Physics is hard to understand, but once you have mastered it, you can explain it in five minutes.

Learning a new skill is hard. But once you know a few hundred words and how to use them correctly and how to spell them correctly and how to order them correctly in a sentence, there is no need for any knowledge of grammar or vocabulary. There are all kinds of skills that are hard to learn because they are so complicated that no one bothered before. Chess is an example: we think “chess” means playing chess, but if we look at the rules again, it’s clear that playing chess means learning the rules.

How do you learn hard skills?

A good way to learn hard skills, though, is to get a job where you can pick them up on the fly. For programming, it’s best if the job involves working on a well-defined project with a concrete deadline. This forces you to learn what you need at the time you need it.

Many people implicitly assume that if someone is very smart, they must learn hard things quickly. In fact, the opposite is often true. Smart people tend to be perfectionists. They often are reluctant to try new things until they’re sure they can do them right. And because they’re smart, they have a pretty good idea of what “right” looks like.

The obvious way to get good at something is to practice it. But there’s a difference between deliberate practice and just doing the thing. Deliberate practice is what you do when you’re trying to improve at something specific. For example, when I was in high school I got interested in playing poker. So I read books on how to play and made an effort to be conscious of the decisions I was making while I was playing, and tried to figure out what I should have done differently in hands that didn’t go well.

To take another example, suppose you want to get good at soccer. You could play a lot of soccer, but that isn’t enough by itself; lots of people play soccer without getting any better than they were when they started. You’d have to make an effort to notice where you were going wrong and think about what would be a better way of doing things. You’d have to look at other people who were better than you were and try to figure out how they were succeeding that you weren’t. And then once you figured out something new you wanted to try, you’d have to deliberately practice it until it became automatic.

What type of skill to focus on

Hard skills are easy to learn, but take a long time to master. They’re competitive; not everyone has them, but everyone can learn them. They’re transferable; once you have them, you can use them in lots of different fields.

The example that comes to mind of a hard skill is programming. A programmer can take their technical skills from industry to industry, being valuable in different companies and organizations. Hard skills are difficult to develop. They are objective and measurable, and often involve specific knowledge and training. Hard skills include a wide array of things like typing, writing, mathematics, reading, and more. In the tech industry, hard skills are usually learned through schooling or on-the-job training.

Examples of hard skills:

  •  Account Management
  •  B2B Marketing
  •  Business Analysis
  •  Customer Service
  •  Data Analysis
  •  Engineering
  •  Finance Management
  •  Graphic Design
  •  Human Resources Management

A lot of people would say that the most important skill you can have is communication, but while communication is certainly hard, it’s not a hard skill; it’s not easy to teach, but it doesn’t take 10 years of practice. So while communication may be more valuable than hard skills in any specific job, if you have a choice of which hard skill to master first, communication should not be it.

Hard skills vs. soft skills

There are basically two kinds of skills, hard and soft. Hard skills are the qualities you need to do a specific job. For instance, if you are a programmer, your hard skills might include knowledge of different programming languages, software engineering principles, or data structures. Soft skills, on the other hand, relate to how you work. They include communication and interpersonal skills, the ability to work in a team or lead a group, organizational abilities, and so on.

Soft skills are less tangible than hard skills and tend to be subjective. As such they are often overlooked during the hiring process but they can have an enormous impact on your performance at work and your overall career development. In fact, most people with a high level of soft skills will have better opportunities in their careers compared to people with high levels of hard skills but low levels of soft skills.

If you want to improve your chances of landing a job interview and subsequently getting hired for your dream job position, you should definitely work on developing both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are easy to test and measure

It is easy to make excuses for the poor performance of older people. They might have poor health or old age or past-life karma or some such things. We can’t blame them; they are just doing what they have always done, and we have grown to expect less of them.

But it’s harder to make excuses for younger people. They might have poor health or poor education or a newfangled job like computer programming, but they are supposed to be doing something different. If they do less well than older people, why don’t we blame the system? It’s not the system’s fault; it just wasn’t designed for them.

The reason is that hard skills are easier to test and measure than soft skills, like perseverance and creativity and leadership. If you want to predict whether someone will succeed at computer programming, it is relatively simple to test whether he has basic knowledge of writing and arithmetic. And if he passes those tests, then you can also predict whether he will stick with the program long enough to get good at it.

But if you want to predict whether he will persist when challenged by a difficult boss, or be creative when given an unusual problem, then testing for those things is much more difficult. 

Hard skill is often a consequence of hard work

The reason people think hard skills are so important is that they have spent a lot of time themselves acquiring them. They’ve become experts, and expertise gives you a distorted view of the world. The rest of the world isn’t like you. If you look at someone who’s an expert at playing chess or writing software or cooking French food, it looks like they have some magical skill. But if you look at a thousand people who are trying to learn to do those things, you’ll notice something else: most of them don’t make much progress.

From the outside, it looks like becoming an expert in anything requires simply working harder than everyone else. And that’s true in some fields. If your goal is simply to be better than other people at doing whatever it is they’re doing, then working long hours is the way to do it. But for most people, I don’t think this should be their goal. When I was younger I wanted to be among the best programmers in the world. Now I’m satisfied with being among the best programmers within walking distance of our office.

Hard skills can be valuable across different industries

Hard skills are a valuable and versatile asset. They can be applied across different industries, making it easier to move from one role or company to another.

If you’re early in your career, hard skills are more valuable than industry experience. If you have the skills needed for a job, it’s easier to learn about the industry than if you have industry experience but lack the skills. Hard skills defined the value you create for a company. You can learn the details of a new industry faster than you can acquire hard skills.

If you’re making a change later in your career, hard skills are still more important than industry experience, but they must be relevant to the role or company. For example, if you want to use your technical background and sales experience to work in tech sales, that’s great. But if you want to use your technical background and sales experience to start an organic farm, that’s not going to work so well.

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