Coding is widely considered to be the professional skill in highest demand, but LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says the biggest skills gap he sees in the United States is soft skills. As the leader of the world’s No. 1 professional-networking site, Weiner has access to troves of detailed employment data. He knows what jobs people advertise, what jobs people have and what jobs people want. What most employers desire, Weiner says, are written communication, oral communication, team-building and leadership skills. Federal data show the median salary for coders in the United States was $103,560 last year, indicating these technical skills are highly valued right now. Nevertheless, soft skills have staying power. “As powerful as AI will ultimately become and is becoming, we’re still a ways away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch,” Weiner said at an Oct. 12 Wired forum on the future of work. “So there’s a wonderful incentive for people to develop these skills because those jobs going to be more stable for a longer period of time.” Wired Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson agrees that in the automated future, jobs involving social interaction and social skills will be most protected. “I think we overrate coding and engineering as a long-term profession,” he says. “It’s something that machines powered by artificial intelligence will be really good at.”
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