Success in the 21st Century: Top Skills You Need to Develop


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Rapidly changing business landscape, technological advancements, and tons of information flooding out of every device — these are the main factors that are already defining the lives of young aspiring professionals. The challenging demands of the modern-day labor market urge students to equip themselves with a universal skill set that will help them find a way into any task their future employer might entrust them with. To make it easier for you, we’ve identified a list of core competencies that will help you to unlock the key to success in the 21st century.

Information Literacy

The amount of information we produce daily is increasing at a break-neck pace. It’s estimated that an average person creates about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Though we have this immense stockpile of wisdom available right at our fingertips, our educational system is still clinging on to a content-driven model, in which teachers are trying to hammer some facts and concepts into their students’ heads.

This approach is pretty outdated, as tech devices can store that information for us. What we really need to do is to grasp how to find, interpret, process, and apply the information. Those skills will help you learn how to learn and, thus, adapt to any challenges the future might bring.

Learning Skills

Though understanding the information that’s around us is one of the universal needs for the 21st century, there are other important learning skills that are essential to thrive in the modern-day work environment. These are the so-called 4 C’s: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.

●     Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to rationally analyze available data and make a correlation between different pieces of information to draw objective conclusions. It implies studying the subject from various perspectives to see the complete and holistic picture. Critical thinkers are good at choosing effective reasoning appropriate for the given situation, evaluating claims and arguments, judging evidence, and coming up with innovative solutions to emerging problems.

●     Creativity

Creativity refers to new and original ways of thinking. It means the ability to see the world in a different light, find hidden patterns, and use various techniques to generate, develop, and refine new imaginative ideas. Creative thinking is the most important determinant of innovation, which is a powerful driver of progress.

●     Collaboration

Collaboration is the ability to effectively work together with other people to accomplish a common goal. Being a part of a team teaches you to respect others’ needs and opinions, value the individual contributions made by each team member, and assume shared responsibility. It also helps to overcome personal, social, and cultural differences to achieve compromise for the benefit of all.

●     Communication

Communication is the process of exchanging information among people to reach mutual understanding. On the individual level, it also refers to the ability to express one’s ideas, views, opinions, desires, needs, feelings, etc., by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. If you don’t have much experience in communicating your ideas on paper, you can seek professional help from expert writers at

Global Awareness

Collaboration and communication happen not only on the group, company, or national level. They go beyond country borders and can connect people who come from opposite parts of the world. So it’s no wonder that the ability to forge strong bonds and create professional networks with partners from foreign lands has become a valuable asset in the 21st century.

Global awareness is already one of the top requirements for candidates seeking employment at international corporations. Potential employees must show their understanding of the mindsets of people from other cultures, respect differences, communicate effectively with various audiences, and promote diversity and tolerance.

Tech Competence

Though the global environment is undergoing constant transformations, one thing is for sure — the 21st century is going to be the age of tech. People have lived and worked alongside machines since the dawn of mankind, and yet never before in our history have we used so many gadgets as in current times. And there is still something new coming out every other day.

Today’s emerging technologies, such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, the Internet of things (IoT), and biometrics will soon go from being a strange curiosity to a background condition of our daily life. The only way to move with the times is to consistently develop and update our tech literacy.

In its broadest sense, technology literacy refers to a general understanding of various tech tools. It is used to describe an individual’s ability to quickly adopt new technologies and select those devices which best correspond to one’s own needs. Many appliances modern students will have to use when they enter the workforce are not invented yet, but some basic info about how tech functions will definitely ease the formation of new human-machine partnerships in the future.

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