Alex Visotsky
Alex Visotsky
Business Booster co-founder
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Hard Skills: What They Are and How to Develop Them for a Successful Career

Hard skills are specific skills related to professional activities that can be measured, mastered, and trained. These could be knowledge of a specific programming language, skills in working with a computer program, the ability to operate industrial equipment, etc. Employers usually require the presence of hard skills from candidates for certain positions.

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Business Booster Alex Visotsky

In this article, we'll explore the various types of hard skills and how to hone them to achieve career success.

What are hard skills?

Hard skills are specific knowledge and abilities needed to perform particular tasks within professional activities. They can be measured and evaluated, learned and developed. Hard skills are necessary for problem-solving in a specific field or profession and are often a requirement for candidates for certain positions within a specific industry.

Differences between hard skills and soft skills

Soft skills are a set of personal qualities and abilities related to interpersonal relationships, communication, and human behavior within a team. For example, these could be communicative skills, leadership qualities, the ability to work in a team, problem-solving thinking, empathy, etc. Unlike hard skills, these skills are more difficult to precisely measure and evaluate.

Soft skills are personal qualities and relate more to emotions and psychology, while hard skills can be measured more objectively. It's important to understand that both types of skills are vital and necessary for career success.

Hard skills might be more significant in situations where specific knowledge or skill is required, for example, in IT, scientific research, finance, etc. Soft skills usually play a role in interpersonal interactions, decision-making processes, and team work. Career success typically depends on both personal soft skills and specific hard skills, so it's important to develop both sides.

Examples of Hard Skills in Various Industries

To clarify, let's examine sets of hard skills in different spheres. These are the basic skills without which you cannot develop in these professions or even simply find a job.

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IT sector

  • Knowledge of programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, PHP, and others;
  • Knowledge of databases and SQL;
  • Skills in software analysis and testing;
  • Knowledge of the basics of network security and data protection;
  • Skills in e-commerce and working with content management systems.

Marketing and Advertising

  • Market and competitive environment analysis skills;
  • Knowledge in the field of digital marketing and search engine optimization;
  • Skills in working with CRM systems and analytical tools;
  • Knowledge of the basics of copywriting and web design;
  • Skills in working with social media and email.


  • Skills in operating manufacturing equipment;
  • Knowledge of assembly methods and material processing;
  • Skills in designing and optimizing manufacturing processes;
  • Knowledge of quality standards and certification;
  • Skills in working with automated management systems.

Finance and Accounting

  • Knowledge of taxation and accounting;
  • Skills in working with financial reports and analytical tools;
  • Knowledge of the basics of investment business and risk management;
  • Skills in working with banking and financial systems;
  • Knowledge of the legal aspects of financial operations.

Medicine and Pharmacy

  • Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology;
  • Skills in processing and analyzing medical data and research results;
  • Knowledge of the basics of medical terminology;
  • Skills in working with equipment and tools for diagnosis and treatment;
  • Knowledge of the basics of pharmacology.

How to develop hard skills

Education and self-learning

Reading books and articles, watching video tutorials, taking online courses, and attending webinars – all these can help you develop hard skills. You can look for educational resources on the internet, in libraries, in your professional community, or from your colleagues.

Practice and Experience

It's hard to develop hard skills without practice, so try to apply new knowledge and skills in action. This could be completing tasks as part of your current job, participating in projects, volunteering, or creating your own projects. The more you practice, the more experience you'll gain and the stronger your hard skills will become.

Working with Mentors and Teachers

One-on-one work with experienced mentors and teachers can help you progress faster and more effectively, as they can share their knowledge and experience, as well as provide feedback and advice on improving skills. Mentors can be found within your organization or professional associations. If you don't have access to a local mentor, you can turn to online platforms for help.

Tools and Methods for Developing Hard Skills

Courses and Trainings

Courses and trainings typically offer a structured approach to learning, which includes theory, practice, and feedback. Many courses and trainings are conducted online, which allows you to learn remotely and at a time convenient for you.

Simulators and Practical Assignments

Simulators allow you to practice in a safe environment that can be as close as possible to real conditions. For example, they can be used to develop skills in air transportation management or driving cars. Practical assignments allow students and employees to apply the knowledge and skills learned in courses and training to real projects.

Working on Real Projects

Working on real projects allows you to apply your hard skills in real life and gain work experience, which can be very valuable for your career. For instance, if you are developing software, participating in a real project will help you understand how the process of development and refinement works.

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Business Booster Alex Visotsky

It's important to remember that the development of hard skills takes place throughout your life. All the above tools and methods should be used regularly and in combination with each other to achieve maximum effect.

In-Demand hard skills in the labor market

The specific hard skills that interest employers always depend on the specialty and role for which they're hiring. Different skills may be in demand at different periods of time. As technology changes rapidly, the requirements for employees also transform. For example, not long ago there was no such profession as a social media manager, and no one took social networks seriously. Now, the ability to create the right content, gain followers, and understand the algorithms of any given platform is among the most in-demand hard skills.

Other notable skills include the ability to analyze data, programming, knowledge of languages, project management, and people management.

Simply mastering a certain hard skill is not enough. Skills need to be constantly improved. This will help you transition to another position or to a job in another company with better opportunities for career growth.

Technological progress and innovation will continue to bring changes to the requirements for hard skills. The development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation may change employer expectations and requirements for employees. New hard skills will emerge that will need to be learned and developed in order to remain competitive in the labor market.

Learning and development in the area of hard skills is a process that should be constant.

Alex Visotsky
Business Booster co-founder