Unless you're a mind-reader, one of the most difficult parts of the job search process can be figuring out exactly what employers are looking for.
To simplify that process, jobs platform Monster analyzed 943,008 job postings using CEB TalentNeuronTM's tool to figure out what "hard skills" — those that are specific, measurable and teachable — employers most want from candidates.
Learning an in-demand hard skill while in college can be the easiest way to find a job, but online platforms like edX also offer free training in courses built by top universities. By building the skills set for the job you want, you can make yourself the ideal candidate no matter what your major or degree is.
Check out the list of the top 5 most in-demand hard skills:
Skill: Java is a computer programming language most often used for building software.
Jobs it can help you do: Java has long been a vital programming tool for software developers and engineers, occupations that have some of the highest median base salaries. The average software engineer makes $168,000.
4) Structural Query Language (SQL)
Skill: Structural Query Language (SQL) is a programming language used to manage databases, allowing you to insert, update and modify data.
Jobs it can help you do: SQL can help you snag a business analyst or data analyst position. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google's parent company Alphabet, and Jonathan Rosenberg, advisor to CEO Larry Page, say that data analytics will become increasingly important in workplaces.
According to Glassdoor, data scientists have the best jobs in the country and make $110,000.
Skill: Bilingualism is the ability to speak more than one language.
Jobs it can help you do: Employers in every sector from hospitality to finance are looking for people with this skill. One sector where bilingualism is particularly helpful is the healthcare. Medical professionals must be able to communicate clearly and efficiently with patients from all walks of life.
Skill: Pediatrics is the field of medicine that deals with the medical needs of children.
Jobs it can help you do: Studying pediatrics can help you land a job as a pediatrician, physician assistant or nurse, all jobs that are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the healthcare industry is projected to add more jobs — over 4 million — than any other industry between 2012 and 2022.
While this skill requires a considerable amount of time, effort and resources to master, it certainly pays off. The unemployment rate for pediatricians is 0.6 percent, and the median salary is $184,240.
1) Quality Assurance (QA)
Skill: Quality Assurances is the maintenance of the standards of a product or service.
Jobs it can help you do: At the top of Monster's list of the most in-demand hard skills for college graduates is quality assurance (QA) ability — it can be applied to nearly every industry. Almost all companies need QA experts because they act as the first line of defense against mistakes that can cost a company precious time and resources.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, quality control inspectors make, on average, $36,780.