The world is gradually undergoing a shift from an industry-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. This together with the high rate of unemployment today is enough to force us to ask the question, “Are there 21st century skills we need to learn, that we are not learning? Are there abilities and competencies we need to develop in order to fit better into this rapidly changing world? Using the words of Jimmy Dean, “I can’t change the direction of the wind but I can change my sails to always reach my destination.” In the same light we can also say, “We can’t stop change, but we can adjust our position so that change will favor us. Here are 8 must-have skills to keep us at par with the ever increasing pace of technological innovation driving changes in the world today.

  1. Leadership.

Leadership has been discussed for centuries, and a wide array of different definitions and theories about what it means has been generated. While anyone interested in the field should in fact explore further on their own, one good place to start working towards a basic understanding of the concept of leadership is a contemporary review of the subject by scholars in the field.

In the 21st century, leadership is not going to be about powerful individuals directing others. Rather, it is about fostering collaboration and working towards common goals.


  1. Digital Literacy.

Digital literacy is the ability to use digital technology to locate, review, utilize and create new information. It is very important in this age as a lot of jobs these days require the applicant to be at least, computer literate.

  1. Communication.

Students must be able to effectively communicate; communication is an in-negotiable tool towards fostering growth and development. These include written communication, oral communication, sound listening skills and effective communication through multiple multimedia formats. Effective communication fosters understanding and understanding creates the needed atmosphere for success in both personal and professional life.

  1. Emotional Intelligence.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines emotional intelligence (EI) as “a type of social competence involving the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.

Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, job performance and leadership skills. Together with communication, emotional intelligence is essential in building and maintaining relationships in both the classroom and the workplace.

  1. Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship involves the art and science of innovation for profit in business. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.” That said, fundamentals of entrepreneurship such as creativity, drive, innovation, and passion, can apply to any venture, whether it is in the business or entertainment worlds, or the non-profit and public sectors. It may also be said that, at its real core, entrepreneurial spirit is about people having a unique vision for their place in the world and sacrificing and striving towards making it a reality, regardless of whether a financial profit is involved or not. Whatever the case maybe, instilling or cultivating this sort of active, motivated mindset in students regarding education is guaranteed to lead to improved success rates.

  1. Problem-solving and Team-working

Problem solving is very important because as society advances, so also will it problems. Most of these problems are absolutely unimaginable at the moment. The more problems students can solve the more valuable they become to the society. More so, they can work independently or in groups without need for much supervision. In the near future, pro-activity in lieu of reactivity will be a very gainful resource as regards problem solving. Howbeit, connection and collaboration with others are essential not only to their learning but their mental and emotional health.

Do you agree that these skills are worth learning? Which of them do you think is the most important? What other skills not mentioned here do you think should be included? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

solomon Author

I’m Solomon Onu Idenyi: a writer and public speaker. I’m really glad you came around. I sincerely hope you do come around often—I wouldn’t be here not for you! WWW.solowrites.com is website that not only promotes education and innovation but also showcases young and bustling entrepreneurs and innovators across Africa. We would love to know your ventures and advertise for you! So go ahead and contact us today!

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