A few days ago, a best-selling fiction author I follow on social media asked her followers to complete the sentence: “I’d like to learn about ________”. My answer was “high altitude baking”. Having recently moved to a rather high-up area (mile-high, actually), none of my baked goods turn out the way they used to and, upon some research, I realized that altitude was the issue. It never occurred to me that dough was susceptible to such a thing but there you have it: you live, you learn.
I was surprised at the diversity of the answers, but I also could not help but notice that there were some identifiable clusters. From water coloring to carpentry or Genealogy, people seemed to be interested in a lot of crafts and skills. One thing that kept coming up was “I tried to teach myself, but it didn’t go very well” (especially in the case of manual tasks).
That prompted me to look around the internet and find out what are the particular subjects and niches that are in demand at the moment. What you are about to read are the results of some days of online reading and several chats with my trainer and instructional designer friends. It’s not a rigorous study worthy of being cited in academic works but I hope it will give you some ideas you can further investigate for yourself.
CS-related online courses
Various aspects of computer science, from programming and testing to simply operating digital devices are of the highest interest. The global crisis had a lot of people working from home and unfortunately, a lot of people not working at all because their jobs either required physical labor or their industries were deemed non-essential and took an unfortunate extended break (the hospitality business is the best example of this).
As a result, people are looking to either perfect their digital skills or changing their line of work altogether. Since technology is obviously the future, there is quite an appetite to learn computer programming, testing, and software creation. They all seem like safe bets at least for the foreseeable future and today’s workforce is willing to invest in courses that will set them on that particular path.
If this is an area where you have knowledge to share, some specific ideas for online courses would be:
- Computer repairs
- Cellphone repairs
- Network management
- Operating systems
- Website design and maintenance
- Software development
Creative writing, content creation and curation
When a lot of our professional and personal lives moved online due to the sheltering in place orders given everywhere, social media saw an even bigger rise that it had already mustered by the start of 2020. Businesses big and small now find themselves in need of being seen and followed online and the internet has become the number one medium for disseminating messages and information.
Blog posts, social media posts, tweets, pins, insta stories, all get enormous attention and as a result, there is a surge in the need for competent content creators. With so many more readers, reading material is required and people have caught on to that, so they are looking to learn or simply brush up their skills and get fresh insights on:
- Freelance writing
- Video creation
- Blog writing
- Writing website copy
- Content marketing
This subject sounds as it is something aimed mostly at high school and college students when in fact, it is not. Yes, the younger demographic might have a higher interest in learning about their personal strengths and how those would help them fit with the workforce but since the world has changed so much in the last few years and there is so much talk about a ‘new normal’ that will follow this pandemic, mature individuals who until recently were quite certain they were on a career path they would follow to retirement realized it’s no longer the case.
As such, there is quite a demand for courses focusing on:
- Personal finance
- Professional reconversion
- Resume writing
- Dealing with interviews
The entertainment industry
If your first thought when reading the headline above was that there is a need for college-type education on screenwriting, filmmaking, music composition, or any of the classic entertainment options, you were mistaken.
The rise of high-speed internet and high-performing mobile devices has led to a certain liberalization of the industry, in that anybody can be a very successful online entertainer. And I mean VERY successful.
My husband watches the YouTube channel of some individuals who drive exotic cars every day – they started with one such car and apparently made so much money they now have quite the fleet and continue making videos and tons of profit.
And if those people needed at least an initial investment, there are quite a few channels that succeeded with an almost inexistent starting budget. My kids love a lady who does yoga for them with nothing than a mat and a cute, colorful background.
Recognizing this, people are looking for courses about:
- Video creation and editing
- Live streaming
- Whiteboard animation
- Video marketing
- Growing YouTube audiences
- Instagram marketing
These are a few of the trends I noticed, dealing mostly with people’s needs to either advance their existing career or start a new one. In my next article, I will be covering the demand for online courses focused on people’s personal lives.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.