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15 Self-Taught Skills To Learn Before You Graduate From University

Welcome to the university community. It’s crucial to equip yourself with practical skills that go beyond the knowledge gained in

Abstract graphic design showcasing vibrant colors and dynamic shapes in a visually captivating composition. Graphic design is one of the self-taught skills you can try.

A captivating coding screen showcasing PHP codes. Coding is really ine of the real self-taught skills you do not want to miss.

Welcome to the university community. It’s crucial to equip yourself with practical skills that go beyond the knowledge gained in the classroom. Why must you take the self-taught skills route? The answer is simple. You can’t learn everything in the classroom or lecture hall.  The countless online resources leave you with no room for any excuses. Is it really important to know any of these skills? Yes, it is. This is because the job market is becoming overly competitive by the day. As a result, beyond your certificates, employers look for skills that set you apart from the pool of applicants. Take note that, with some of these skills, you can be self-employed and take hold of your time.

In this article, we’ll explore 15 self-taught skills that you can acquire before you graduate. Obviously, you may not be able to learn all of them. But learning, one or two or more will be a great investment in your growth.

1. Programming and Coding

A busy table with a laptop's screen full of coding language. The user may have been self-teaching him or herself.

Programming and coding skills have gained significant value across various industries in today’s digital age. Whether you’re interested in software development, data analysis, or web design, having a solid foundation in programming languages like Python, JavaScript, or C++ can open up a world of opportunities. Online platforms such as Codecademy and Coursera can be of great help.

2. Digital Marketing

With the rapid growth of online businesses, digital marketing skills are in high demand. Moreover, familiarizing yourself with search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content creation, and analytics can give you an edge in the job market. Additionally, you can explore resources like Google Digital Garage and HubSpot Academy to gain insights into the strategies and tools required to create successful digital marketing campaigns.

3. Graphic Design

Abstract graphic design showcasing vibrant colors and dynamic shapes in a visually captivating composition. Graphic design is one of the self-taught skills you can try.

In an era where visual content dominates the online space, having graphic design skills can be immensely beneficial. Also, if you learn how to create eye-catching visuals, manipulate images, and design engaging layouts, you’ll be doing yourself a great service. You can use platforms such as Canva, Adobe Creative Cloud, or YouTube tutorials. Undoubtedly, these skills can be useful for marketing materials, presentations, and creating a cohesive brand image.

4. Public Speaking and Presentation

Effective communication is a vital skill in nearly every profession. However, mastering it requires a lot of work. If you can master public speaking and presentation skills, you can confidently articulate your ideas, engage audiences, and leave a lasting impact. So, how do you develop this skill? Well, there are several free resources online that can assist you. Moreover, you can join a Toastmasters club, watch TED Talks, or start speaking in the midst of your peers or clubs. Engaging in these experiences can significantly enhance your abilities and boost your self-assurance when presenting to others.

5. Project Management

Every project is managed by somebody. Consequently, many employers seek individuals who have the know-how in this field. Self-taught project management skills can demonstrate your organizational prowess and ability to coordinate teams. Use platforms like Trello and Asana to learn about project management methodologies, task delegation, and timeline management.

6. Financial Literacy

No individual can afford to be financially illiterate in this day and age. As such, developing financial literacy is crucial for your personal and professional success. If you understand concepts like budgeting, investing, and debt management you can make informed decisions and achieve your financial goals. Websites like Investopedia and books such as “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki will guide you to build wealth and financial independence.

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7. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Employers value graduates who can think critically and solve complex problems. Self-taught skills in critical thinking involve analyzing information objectively, evaluating different perspectives, and making logical decisions. Do you want to sharpen your problem-solving skills? Then take puzzles, brain teasers, and other courses on platforms like Udemy or edX.

8. Foreign Language Proficiency

A multilingual is a borderless human. In an increasingly globalized world, being multilingual can give you a significant advantage. Self-teaching a foreign language can broaden your cultural understanding and open doors to international job opportunities. Notably, apps like Duolingo and Memrise provide interactive language courses that enable you to learn at your own pace and practice speaking with native speakers.

9. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are essential regardless of your career path. Therefore, it’s great to learn how to motivate teams, delegate tasks, and communicate effectively. To begin, seek leadership roles in student organizations, actively participate in workshops, and engage in reading books. These steps will help you embark on your leadership journey.

To kickstart your learning, consider reading books such as “The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. They offer valuable insights and guidance in developing your leadership abilities.

10. Time Management

Oh Yes, you may be a culprit in this, but you’re not alone. In fact, many people like you also struggle to manage their time. However, effective time management is essential for balancing academic commitments, personal life, and future career aspirations. So, why do you need this skill? Well, it’s because it enhances your productivity, reduces stress, and enables you to achieve a better work-life balance. You can leverage techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique, as well as productivity apps like Todoist or Evernote, to help you stay focused and organized. Additionally, creating realistic schedules will allow you to make the most of your time and accomplish your goals efficiently.

11. Photography

A camera standing on a tripod capturing the beautiful sunset clouds

The new era is a visually-driven world. Hitherto, people undermined photography and couldn’t consider it as a full-time profession. As a result, photography was often pursued on a part-time basis or as a hobby. Nevertheless, the story has drastically changed in today’s world. Photography skills now hold significant value across various fields. Whether you’re into marketing, or journalism, or simply want to capture memorable moments, having photography skills gives you a distinct advantage. To enhance your photography, it’s important to learn about composition, lighting, and editing techniques to improve the quality of your photographs.

Now, where should you begin? Fortunately, there is an abundance of resources available online, both in free and paid formats. Platforms like YouTube alone can provide you with tutorials covering photography basics, advanced techniques, and post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom. These resources will help you develop a solid foundation and refine your photography skills.

12. Video Editing

Data suggest that many people prefer viewing a video to reading content. Hence, video content is increasingly becoming a dominant career venture. Therefore you’re not wasting your time if you’re learning video editing skills. For comprehensive tutorials and resources try Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. These platforms will give you insights into the intricacies of video editing. You can learn from cutting and arranging footage to adding effects and transitions. Mastering video editing techniques can elevate the quality and impact of your visual storytelling.

13. Photoshop

Photoshop, a powerful image editing software, is widely used in various industries, including graphic design, photography, and marketing. With photoshop skills, you can manipulate and enhance images, create stunning graphics, and bring your creative visions to fruition. Platforms like Adobe Creative Cloud and YouTube tutorials provide a wealth of learning materials

14. Complementary Skills

Complementary skills refer to a set of abilities or competencies that complement or enhance each other when combined. These skills are typically different from each other but work together to create a synergistic effect, leading to improved performance or productivity in a particular context or field.

For instance, if you’re interested in digital marketing, combining your knowledge of programming and coding with skills in search engine optimization (SEO) and data analysis can make you a well-rounded digital marketer. Similarly, if you’re passionate about graphic design, adding photography and video editing skills to your repertoire can open up new opportunities in multimedia design.

15. Data Analysis

A laptop screen beautifully covered with graphs, and curves dipicting the arts works of data science.

In today’s data-driven world, the ability to analyze and derive insights from large datasets is highly recommendable. Generally, data analysis skills equip you with the tools to make informed decisions, identify patterns, and extract meaningful information from complex data. Proficiency in data analysis positions you to fit into any workplace. For example in the field of finance, marketing, health, and research, etc.

To develop self-taught data analysis skills, you can start by learning statistical concepts and techniques. Online platforms like Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy offer courses on statistics and data analysis fundamentals. Additionally, tools like Microsoft Excel, Python libraries such as pandas and NumPy, and data visualization platforms like Tableau can aid in processing and interpreting data.

As you progress, explore more advanced topics such as regression analysis, hypothesis testing, and machine learning. Resources like Kaggle, DataCamp, and YouTube tutorials provide practical exercises and real-world datasets for hands-on learning.

In conclusion, self-taught skills have the potential to significantly enhance your professional prospects.  You can choose some skills listed above that interest you and start your journey today.

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