Few years ago, precisely in 2010 while studying in university of Ibadan, Nigeria, I started experimenting with developing websites for people. This was only a hobby for me back then because I never got paid. I succeeded in convincing a family friend to help her develop a blog. It was all fun. Two years afterwards, I was done with school and went for National Youth service. Again I started talking to people about helping them develop their business websites. Not long, I secured my very first gig to develop a website for a Restaurant/Bar. Three weeks after, I secured another job to develop a website for a church. This was when I first got paid for my skills. This was a validation of the wiliness of people to pay for my service. Then I went into full time Freelancing & blogging. Looking back, it is overwhelming to see the “little” effort I devoted to building digital skills paying off. Today, I own a technology solution company – Onesphere Solutions and make good pay freelancing and consulting for a few companies. So, I thought of sharing the top in-demand digital skills you need to make a fortune in year 2018.
The ideas I will be sharing here will follow a street smart approach and not some conventional “get rich quick syndrome”. This will require you to take some smart steps which I have tested and validated over time.
The goal here is to help you create multiple source of income or even build a thriving business from using these skills. I have practically deployed these digital skills, so I’m sharing from my experience.
First, Why go for digital skills if you may ask?
- Due to high internet penetration in Nigeria and the urgent need for businesses to leverage on technology and digital platforms, digital skills are currently in high demand. This is why people skillful in digital skills will command high pay this year.
- Digital skills give you the flexibility of working remotely (as a freelancer). You have the freedom to work from anywhere and at your convenience. This also means you have the time for friend/family and to learn other stuffs that interests you.
- Digital skills can create a steady alternate source of income for you while employed with a firm or planning to change your job.
Here is a comprehensive article on how your business can leverage on technology to gain competitive advantage
Below are five in-demand digital skills:
- IT Consulting
- Web development
- Digital Promotion
- Data Analysis
Having spent 3 years+ in the technology consulting space, I can attest it’s highly rewarding. All you need is some business acumen or domain knowledge and knowledge of technologies/tools that can improve the business processes of your clients.
You must however be vast with trends and emerging technologies/tools for you to provide better advisory services to your clients. Two of the core business challenges faced by most businesses are:
- How to reduce business operational cost
- How to maximize return on investment (increase revenue).
As an IT consultant, you must tailor your services to address these challenges. Research and come up with off-shelf technology solution or ones you can get a developer to build to help potential clients address these challenges.
While the IT consulting field is quite juicy, getting into this space is a bit challenging. You must prove your expertise and experience with a compelling portfolio.
You may also read Top 3 Technology Trends For 2018, Which Will Be A Game Changer!
How do I start?
From a street smart perspective, start by researching the businesses of people you know (your potential clients) as well as the problem faced by such businesses. Then research existing technologies that can solve the business problems. Write a compelling proposal on your findings and send to the business owners. Follow up with a pitch & sign the deal.
You must be consistent & dogged to get your first deals. Once you have your first few clients, others will come by referrals. To succeed in IT consulting, you must be good at presentation as well as writing compelling proposals/contracts. You can easily develop these skills (if you’re not already good at them) by picking courses on them on Coursera.
- Web development:
With lots of open source tools like wordpress, Drupal, Opencart, Magento that enables rapid web development as well the huge online resource for learning basic web development technologies (Html, css, boostrap), learning to build websites or web application has never been this easier. In the case of using open source tools (I strongly recommend WordPress), you may not need to even write codes. These tools take care of all the background code while you focus only on the content of the website
Armed with a web development skill, you can make some good pay building web solutions (cooperate websites, e-commerce websites, blogs, forums etc.) for companies.
You can also outsource your web development jobs to a full-time web developer while you manage the deliverables, specifications and quality of the project. Both ways, you earn a decent pay. What is required in this case is a project management tools like Slack and WhatsApp for managing work and communication with the developer. Just like with consulting, you will require patience to get your first few gigs (projects) afterwards your clients will refer you.
While it may be tempting to pick a full time job with a company with your web development skills, I will however advice freelancing or negotiating for remote working with any company interested in hiring you. The reason is; freelancing or working remotely is more flexible & lucrative as it gives you time to work on different projects for your clients.
Quite a lot of people think the blogging space is saturated. But hey, if you think this space is saturated, think again because the opportunities in blogging are limitless. All your need is your passion for sharing your experience and thought in any niche (Entertainment, sport, movies, food, scholarships, business etc.) You can get a developer to build you a simple WordPress blog or build one yourself using this tutorial. Blogging is one digital skills that will also stand you out in your career.
You don’t necessarily have to blog full-time. the smartest way around this is to pay content developers for your blog while you manage and do the monetization. Another opportunity here is to build a blog and resell at higher a price after some time. You become more motivated and enthusiastic about blogging once you start earning some money from your blog. You should however see blogging as a form of capital investment that brings good return in the long run.
Digital promotion involves creating strategies and driving promotion for products or brands on social media platforms/blogs. It also entails email marketing, Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
Digital promotion is one of the top digital skills currently in high demand by businesses. Recently, I contracted adigital promotion gig to promote an event. The bulk of the work was done by a team of social media influencers. And guess what, I got 60% of the deal while the team of influencers got 40%. Other skills in digital promotion is managing social media pages/handle, optimizing websites for ranking on major search engines and helping businesses create rich and viral content for their social media platforms.
How do I start?
Pick up Google’s Digital Skill for Africa online course and practice with the a small digital promotion project. You can start by volunteering to do digital promotion for events or Not-for profit organizations. This will give you the opportunity to deploy the digital skill your have learnt.
Data mining/Analysis is one of the digital skills that have to do with helping businesses find trends, patterns and insight from their data. This requires expertise in the use of data analysis/visualization tools such as Power BI, Tableau, Python and R. Data solutions like customer segmentation, Customer churn prediction, credit scoring etc. can be built to help businesses make good use of their data. Start with a data visualization course like Power BI to understand how to visualize patterns in data for businesses. With this you can start making some good pay.
Then develop skills in predictive and exploratory data Analysis using advance data analytic tools like Python, R and Microsoft Azure Machine learning studio.
These are the top 5 digital skills that will be in high demand in 2018. Go for them and create more impact.