Our editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, ZDNet may earn a commission.

Coursera's Global Skills Index highlights rush to digitize careers, focus on data

Coursera usage has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic as university partners moved toward online education and workers moved to upskill.

What's the new normal for online education? Coursera's Leah Belsky has some ideas

We're all business, tech and data students now, looking to upskill and digitize our careers to better weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

ebook

Coronavirus and its impact on the enterprise

This TechRepublic Premium ebook compiles the latest on cancelled conferences, cybersecurity attacks, remote work tips, and the impact this pandemic is having on the tech industry.

Read More

That's the upshot of Coursera's Global Skills Index report for 2020. Coursera usage has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic as university partners moved toward online education and workers moved to upskill. Toss in some extra time during quarantine and Coursera now has more than 65 million online learners with 13 million in the US.

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, said the GSI report ranks how countries and industries are performing on key skills based on proficiency. Coursera's skill graph, the crux of the report, looks at assessments, average scores, and degree of difficulty. "Employers look at this and get some sense for general skill in talent pools," explained Maggioncalda.

Must read:

Coursera saw a pop in almost every online education category, but technology, business, and data science courses have maintained momentum, said Maggioncalda, who added that healthcare courses and degrees are the next frontiers for the company. Indeed, Johns Hopkins' contact tracing course landed 430,000 enrollments in the first month as a way to become educated about COVID-19 and pursue a hot job category.

The 69-page report is worth a read because it has breakdowns by industry and countries. Here are some key takeaways:

The top five trending skills related to COVID-19 are public health, recognizing symptoms, understanding risk factors, social distancing, and contact tracing.

global-trending-skills.png

Highlighted areas highlight differences between trending global vs. US skills. Credit: Coursera

For business skills, Switzerland was the top-ranked country followed by Austria, Denmark, Finland, and the United Arab Emirates. Canada was 14th with the US at 17, Australia at 19, and the UK at 19.

Trending business skills include:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Project Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Blockchain
  • Business Analytics
  • People Management
  • Writing
  • Human Resources
  • Product Placement
  • Supply Chain

Maggioncalda noted that Excel is a business staple since it is the most basic tool for handling data.

In technology skills, Russian Federation ranked No. 1 followed by Belarus and Switzerland. The US didn't make the top 30 and landed at No. 37. Trending technology skills included:

  • C Programming Language
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • JavaScript
  • Web Development
  • User Experience Design
  • Cybersecurity
  • Convolutional Neural Network
  • Cloud Computing
  • Internet of Things
  • Application Programming Interface

In data science, Russian Federation again finished No. 1 in skills followed by Switzerland and Belgium. The US was No. 23 followed by the UK at No. 24. Trending skills included:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Project Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Blockchain
  • Business Analytics
  • People Management
  • Writing
  • Human Resources
  • Product Placement
  • Supply Chain

Data science interest spikes with COVID-19: Here are the online courses to get you started

data-science-global-skill-ranking.png

In North America, Canada topped the US in skills. The US saw disparities in regional performance with the West topping the South and Midwest in most business, technology, and data science categories.

In Latin America, Argentina and Chile had the most data science skills.

In the Middle East and Africa, United Arab Emirates was the top country followed by Kenya in business. Data science featured Israel as the top country.

Python was a common thread in the report and a trending skill. 

Also: Python programming language: Now you can take NSA's free course for beginners

APAC featured Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia as strong performers across business, technology, and data science.