As 2020 begins, it’s time to consider which technical skills you and your team should master for the year ahead. Whether you have goals of advancing your career in programming, taking your company’s infrastructure to the cloud, or discovering deep customer insights using data and artificial intelligence, we’ve outlined in this article the technical skills that software engineering, data science, and IT professionals need for success in the decade ahead. These skills are foundational for both your career and building successful teams in programming, web development, data science and AI, cloud computing, and IT. Based on the learning habits of 50+ million Udemy users, here are the 10 most popular technical skills we see trending on Udemy and the skills you and your team should prioritize in the coming year. For more hot skills, download 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report: The Skills of the Future.

10 most popular technical skills of 2020

1. Python

How does a programming language become the fastest-growing and most popular language of 2020? In addition to being the language of choice for data science and artificial intelligence applications, Python is #1 on our list thanks to its simplicity, which makes it a great language for beginners to learn and for companies to use to scale their products. Instagram was able to grow its app to serve one billion global users through Python. You don’t need to have a decade of computer programming experience to get started in Python. The language uses less code than others, which helps it read more like English and has fueled its adoption with programmers of all levels.

One of Python’s greatest benefits is the number of open-source libraries built on the language. Python libraries like TensorFlow and PyTorch for machine learning or PyGame for game development are collections of modules that a developer can use for frequent commands rather than taking the time to write and rewrite common code. 

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2. React.js

Named the most loved web framework of 2019, React.js is a JavaScript library created by Facebook for building interactive website elements. Developers choose React as a straightforward way to construct user interface pieces of a web page such as buttons or search bars. It’s not surprising that React.js was our #2 most popular technical skill trending on Udemy. Because React is made up of tools that help build components, it’s a lean framework; pages render quickly and efficiently. Udemy React instructor Maximilian Schwarzmüller suggests using React with JSX, a script extension that’s a hybrid of HTML and JavaScript, which “describes what the UI should look like” in your JavaScript code. 

The community Facebook built for React users propelled its popularity. As a result, thanks to its ubiquity on development teams, React is often cited as one of the most important web development skills for programmers and teams to learn. 

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3. React Native

Mobile app downloads are expected to reach 260 million by 2022. Consumers split their screen time across multiple devices every day, with arguably more focus on the mobile smartphone and tablet screens that can travel anywhere versus desktop. Providing the same rich, interactive desktop experience to a mobile audience is more important than ever, which is where React Native steps in. As a result, React Native is the #3 most popular technical skill trending on Udemy for 2020. 

As a separate library from React.js, React Native is a collection of special React components that are compiled into native widgets for iOS and Android mobile platforms.  

React Native also provides access to APIs native to the mobile platform you’re developing for such as the use of a device’s camera. These capabilities are crucial for development teams to ship high-quality native apps to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store without having to teach their teams platform-specific skills like Swift for iOS or Java for Android. 

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4. Angular

Angular 8 is another JavaScript framework that sees continued learner demand on Udemy, topping the list as #4 technical skill for 2020. Not to be confused with AngularJS, its original and now unmaintained first incarnation, Angular 8 is developed and maintained by Google. It’s client-side and browser-based which means that with Angular in the browser, websites render much faster than those that communicate with a server to reload HTML pages.

Because Angular uses TypeScript, a subset of JavaScript, the components, modules, and syntax can look quite different than that of the JavaScript most developers know. This can make the framework challenging to learn, but Angular’s powerful built-in features make it a worthwhile skill as the coding patterns of Angular help build more efficient applications. 

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5. Machine learning

As a subset of artificial intelligence, machine learning uses algorithms to learn from large datasets and is the #5 most popular technical skill trending on Udemy in 2020. This differs from other data analysis approaches that require explicitly programmed instructions to derive insights. Machine learning techniques are best used for understanding highly complex and non-linear data.

Data scientists are most likely to use machine learning for classification and prediction of unknown data. An algorithm is programmed to learn from a dataset filled with millions of data points and then tasked with finding insights or trends based on patterns within that data. Machine learning techniques like classification have become common as digital services ingest and analyze data based on customers’ every click of a button. For example, the recommendations your favorite streaming platform makes after you’ve finished a movie? A machine learning algorithm was hard at work analyzing the platform’s movie options and referencing those against your previous viewing habits.

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6. Docker

Docker is a platform that makes it easy to install and run new software on a computer. Specifically, the Docker platform operates around creating and running containers. What’s a container? As Udemy instructor Stephen Grider explains in his course, Docker and Kubernetes: The Complete Guide, a container is a program with its own isolated set of hardware resources including memory and networking technology.

Docker allows developers to configure containers to the specific dependencies, operating systems, and libraries required for an application. These tailored containers can then be used across computing devices. From your desktop to a colleague’s laptop to a Linux cloud server, one container ensures all these devices run on the same configuration. This consistency is how Docker has become essential to a DevOps software development process. Teams can onboard quickly to a standardized software environment, collaborate on code with colleagues around the world, and even save money by running multiple containers on a single virtual machine rather than the costly alternative of one piece of software per machine. Due to these benefits, Docker is the #6 most popular skill trending on Udemy for 2020.

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7. Django

Django is another web framework that is #7 on our list of popular technical skills trending on Udemy for 2020. This high-level Python framework is great for beginners because it’s so easy to learn. Though it was first introduced 12 years ago, the framework saw a refresh in 2019 with Django 2.2. The Django framework offers features that create the infrastructure for database-driven websites, according to Udemy instructor Nick Walter. This includes the creation of contact forms, user authentication, file uploads, and more. 

These features can be developed quickly with the use of command-line tools for creating projects and apps and migrating data. As Udemy instructor Brad Traversy notes, Django allows you to build something in a month that would take at least six months to build from scratch. In other words, Django helps developers build complex websites with little code. Another reason to opt for Django in a future project? It helps websites scale with business needs and offers built-in security features. 

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8. CompTIA

Among the most in-demand IT certifications, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is the #8 most popular technical skill trending on Udemy. Over 9,000 IT professionals, educators, and students in the US are CompTIA members, a non-profit trade association known for its IT training. Since the organization’s training is vendor-neutral, professionals learn IT skills that aren’t specific to one provider like Microsoft or Apple. CompTIA offers 12 certifications across IT fundamentals, networking, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and more. 

Where to get started with CompTIA? The CompTIA A+ certification provides a well-rounded education in the subject matter an IT manager wants their teams to have expertise in, including knowledge on networking, cloud computing, and virtualization.

Prepare for the CompTIA A+ Core 1 exam in CompTIA A+ 2019 Certification 1001 – The Total Course.

9. Amazon AWS

In the age of digital transformation, IT budgets are directed to tools that speed up technical efficiencies, which include cloud computing services like Amazon’s AWS. The cloud computing industry is expected to see three times the growth of other IT services through 2022, according to a Gartner forecast. With AWS holding a 47.8% market share over competitors like Microsoft’s Azure or Google Cloud, AWS proficiency is an essential skill for IT specialists and software engineers.

With over 160 services available in AWS, developing proficiency in the platform can take some time. AWS offers 11 certifications starting with the foundational Certified Cloud Practitioner exam and building to advanced levels with the Certified DevOps Engineer exam

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10. Deep learning

Though deep learning research has been underway since the 1960s, it’s grown in popularity in the last decade as computer hardware has become powerful and affordable enough to power the processing needs of this AI specialization. The goal of deep learning is to mimic the intricate learning style of the human brain. By using tools like TensorFlow and Python, deep learning scientists create artificial brain structures, known as neural networks, to simulate the biological neurons of a human brain.

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These neural networks can perform more complex tasks than machine learning algorithms. Neural networks can identify objects in images, such as classifying with remarkable accuracy whether a photo depicts a cat or a dog. Classification networks like these can be used to improve self-driving cars’ ability to identify objects on the road and distinguish another car versus a human. As AI is poised to reshape businesses in 2020 and beyond, it’s not surprising deep learning is the #10 most popular technical skill trending on Udemy.