Careers

CEO reveals the No. 1 skill that employers want right now

Things are looking better for the American worker, with a relatively low unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in July. But the skills gap is still keeping many from well-paying jobs.

What skills will help job seekers stand out?

According to Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of education start-up General Assembly, data skills are the most in demand.

"We see really a secular trend in the demand for design skills, development skills — data skills are exploding," Schwartz told CNBC.

"Right now we're seeing demand for data skills. Data skills, analytics, data science — things around that [are] exploding at just an incredible rate," he said.

Jake Schwartz, Co-Founder and CEO of General Assembly
CNBC
Jake Schwartz, Co-Founder and CEO of General Assembly

Demand for data skills is outpacing even the demand for coding, another hot commodity, Schwartz said.

And companies are willing to pay for them. The median salary for data scientists is around $110,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor.

Man at computer, startup
Robert Daly | CalaImage | Getty Images

New technologies will likely dictate what skills employers will be looking for in the coming years, something that education start-ups like General Assembly, Coursera and Udacity say they're uniquely positioned to adapt to.

"I think you'll see this over many years to come, which is this constant rotation of skills that are needed in order to keep up with the digital economy," Schwartz added.