10 Digital Marketing Skills You Need in 2021

The skills and abilities required in the tech industry are ever changing and therefore keeping up to date with newest technologies and upskilling activities is often easier said than done. However, digital experts are urgently needed in companies regardless of size and industry. Talent Garden has analyzed over 100 of the most popular digital skills – soft skills and hard skills – and compared the data with the LinkedIn ranking of the same name. 

The result is this top 10 of all those digital skills that will make you the stand out in the current job market.


1 | Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which third parties receive a predetermined commission for generating traffic to a company’s products or services. As a pioneer, Amazon was crucial to its success.

The online retailer has made the practice known that websites and bloggers place links to Amazon pages for a product that has been reviewed or discussed in order to receive advertising fees when it is purchased. With that in mind, affiliate marketing is essentially a pay-for-performance marketing program where sales are outsourced over a large network. The rise of digital and social media marketing has further paved the way for affiliate marketing and made it the new digital advertising standard. In the context of social media, affiliate marketing harnesses the power of influencers and corporate partnerships to reach hyper-goal-oriented audiences.


2 | Digital Project Management

The role of a digital project manager is to ensure that all deliverables required for a project are completed and delivered on time and on budget. More recently, project managers are responsible for ensuring that their project is in line with business objectives. In contrast to a basic project manager, the digital counterpart needs an acute technical understanding of programming, design and the corresponding technical interfaces.

The entire field of activity of a digital project manager usually includes:

  • Creation and communicating a project plan, schedule, and budget
  • Assignment of tasks and appointments
  • Obtaining all information for the smooth running of a project
  • Planning and allocation of internal and external resources
  • Provision of status reports for managers
  • Documentation of all project events and results
  • Contribution to customer suggestions and offers
  • Assessment and evaluation of the project’s success


3 | Creativity

The first and only soft skill in our top 10 has been at the top of the LinkedIn ranking as the most requested soft skill for years. 

The need for creativity is hardly surprising, but is particularly important in an uncertain economic environment and the fast-moving digital world. By having the ability to find a creative solution could be the difference between staying afloat or sinking in difficult times. In a blog post, LinkedIn’s Amanda Van Nuys states that creativity is invaluable in any job anywhere in the world, “regardless of the industry or country someone is doing business in”.


 4 | Machine learning

From voice assistants to data analysis to self-driving cars, there are countless use cases for this futuristic technology across all industries. In fact, almost all of the other digital skills listed here have or can use machine learning for greater efficiency.

However, the AI​​/machine learning ecosystem is quite large and is currently mostly used for research. It is therefore important to understand the current state of machine learning in the corporate world. Because only when the benefits for your company are given is it worth investing in the acquisition of the necessary qualified resources. In this context, almost all experts agree that the demand for machine learning will increase rapidly in the coming years.


5| UX/UI design

UX/UI design has been around for quite a while now, but as users’ attention spans continue to decline, user experience is more important than ever. In the current dynamic, UX/UI is not just about a visually appealing user interface and proven navigation. It has become more of a creative-analytical role that relies more on data than mere intuition. 

Today’s UX designers also need to think across platforms, as the buyer’s journey of modern customers spans multiple platforms. Therefore, it is important to deliver a consistent digital customer experience across multiple platforms to ensure a smooth shopping experience.

We have already discussed in detail what it takes to be a good UX designer. In addition, our UX expert Rudi Zwieselbauer answered our questions about what he thinks are the biggest challenges in the UX/UI area and revealed his very personal tip for a successful career start.


6|  Data Science and Analytics

The big data hype makes it all possible! Data science and data analytics are in demand like never before. Sales with big data applications and analytics are expected to increase from €4.7 billion in 2018 to €17.2 billion in 2026.

84% of all companies surveyed by LinkedIn have already launched advanced analytics and big data initiatives to accelerate their decision-making. This is one of the reasons Data Science took the top spot in LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs report for the past three years.

Data analysis is the entry-level skill and can lead to a lucrative career as a data scientist through additional training. It is estimated that the average gross annual salary for a data analyst is the equivalent of €41,900. With the appropriate work experience and additional qualifications, it can be up to €60,000 in this professional field.


 7 | Web and app development

The story of the future is written in lines of code. The heart of any technical product or digital service is coding. Accordingly, the demand for experienced front-end, back-end and full-stack programming has been unbroken for years. 

The main languages ​​that most web and app developers need include Bootstrap, jQuery, Angular, Code Igniter, PHP/JavaScript, and MySQL. Each of these skills are regularly featured in the top 10 hard skills requested by employers on LinkedIn.  


8|  Blockchain

The importance in Blockchain can be found in its diverse application possibilities, which go far beyond trading Bitcoin. These include peer-to-peer payments, crowdfunding, data storage, identity management, digital voting, etc. Blockchain specialist Anna Belaya writes: “More and more companies need developers who can use the blockchain and the understand smart contracts and be able to create decentralised applications

Key blockchain skills include networking, cryptography, database design, and programming languages ​​ranging from Java, JavaScript, and C ++ to Go, Solidity, and Python.


9 | Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) was the most frequently mentioned digital skill in over 100 lists. AI is rapidly changing the work landscape, making 2020 and beyond an exciting time for programmers. The hiring growth for AI specialists has risen 74% annually over the past 4 years. Due to the increasing prevalence, AI specialists have earned the best places on various job portals.

As early as 2018, 31% of companies on LinkedIn said that implementing AI would be on their agenda for the next 12 months. The main use cases are the inclusion of AI in the data analysis and the user experience.


10 | Cloud computing

Cloud computing has earned its well-deserved first place in the most sought-after digital skills in 2020. More and more companies are switching from classic server infrastructures to location-independent cloud solutions and nobody doubts that this will be the global standard in just a few years. According to the American market researcher Gartner, the market for public cloud services is expected to grow by 17% in 2020 to a total of €237 billion.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud platform that provides content provision, database storage, network and more than 50 services in total. AWS specialists are usually engineers, cloud architects, or system administrators. IT pros who are AWS certified earn more than their non-certified counterparts. This is one of the most profitable skills an IT professional can learn, as certified AWS specialists make an average of €80,000 a year.


Starting instead of waiting

It’s time for HR managers and people managers to broaden their understanding of digital skills and digital talents. HR managers who are increasingly working with top management to identify the most useful skills for business development have an important role to play in leading the company in the right direction for digital innovation. Digital HR managers are able to carry out advanced research activities in a corporate context in order to understand people deeply and to use data to develop new HR solutions that ensure business effectiveness on the one hand and positive experiences for employees on the other.

10 September 2020

Sign up to our newsletter

Stay up to date with all the latest news