4 Essential Skills You Might Want to Learn This Year

Here we are in 2017. Being in a new year, it’s a good time for you and me to do something new.

There are many things that you could do, of course, but – because I’m a big believer in self-education – I’d like to encourage you to make your self-education a priority this year.

To give you some ideas on what to learn, I’m going to share with you four skills that I believe can help you prepare for the future.  These skills can help you find new opportunities and adapt to new situations.

Here they are:

1. Writing

Like it or not, how people value you depends on how you communicate yourself. You might have the skills, but if you can’t communicate yourself well, people will still doubt your value. That’s why the first two skills that I list here are communication skills. Communication skills are just as important today as they were a hundred years ago.

The first one of them is writing. If you haven’t done anything about it, I encourage you to upgrade your writing skills. In my case, I do it through blogging. I have been blogging since 2006, and I have learned a lot about writing during that time.

To improve your writing skills, consider starting your own blog. Or you could start a personal journal. You might also want to read the books that I recommend below.

Recommended Resources

2. Public Speaking

The second one of the communication skills is your speaking skills. In particular, I’d like to encourage you to improve your public speaking skills. This is how you can share your ideas in front of many people.

In my case, I did it by joining Toastmasters. It’s a good club that helps you improve your public speaking skills. It’s also a good way to meet new people.

Recommended Resources

3. Coding

Learning to code is becoming more and more popular today. There is a good reason for that: it can help you make the most of the technology around you. The fact is, many things around us have computer code behind them, so knowing how to code can help you a lot.

You don’t need to learn advanced coding. You could start with just HTML and CSS, the languages for building simple websites. With these two, you will be able to build and edit your own website if you want to.

I’m fortunate because coding has been my hobby for years. In fact, that’s what I majored in at college. My coding skills have helped me run this website because I can make customizations myself. It has also allowed me to build an app business.

Recommended Resources

4. Online marketing

The last skill that I want to share with you is online marketing. More and more things are sold online these days, so having online marketing knowledge can help you sell whatever it is you have. This includes building your personal brand.

In my case, I have been learning online marketing as I run this website. Not only has it helped me a lot, but also it’s fun to learn!

Recommended Resource


What do you think? Do you have other skills that you’d like to recommend? Comments here.


  1. thanks a lot me too in this year i would like to improve my communication skills and computers skill so i hope that i will gain more by these tips.

  2. Hi Donald, your advice for these 4 things to learn is great, as a matter of fact, I have taken up on writing, drawing and trying to learn French. Public speaking is another one I really need. I am much better at writing than at speaking, I am so shy and by nature quiet, but it is on my list. The coding and online marketing, are good ideas, but I am not so sure that I could learn that. For writing I have started my own blog, just 15 days into it, still struggling with the newbie mistakes, doubts etc, one of my tags is “learning” I call it “learning along the way”

    • Hi Maria,
      Congratulations for starting your own blog! Blogging for me is a great learning experience.
      I’m also interested in learning a foreign language. In fact, that’s one thing that I’m going to do this year.
      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey, Donald! Public speaking is definitely a must, and even though I have already taken a course…I still can’t do it. Probably because I don’t really do speeches a lot, I mostly write. And in 2017 I want to learn how to play the guitar! Soo excited!

    • Hi Jenna,
      That’s a good thing that you want to learn how to play guitar! I like to play guitar myself, though my guitar skills haven’t improved for years 🙂
      And yes, doing a lot of speeches will help you improve your public speaking skills. That’s what my experience has been.

    • Thank you for help me take note of this skills

  4. This year I think I will start to work on Coding Python and probably public speaking. Thanks for you advices, those fit me very well..

  5. Listening-and really hearing what is being said.

  6. Great laconic and up-to-date list, I had the pleasure to read. As for me, it could be extended with one more skill: negotiating, because being a good communicator can give you lots of keys and opportunities. Moreover, such a skill is presented in many lists of top skills that will be mandatory after 10-20 years.

  7. Great article, thank you

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