Is Python a Skill?

Is Python a Skill?

You might remember our "What Is a Skill After all? blog post about baseball, where we talked about the increasing gender diversity in the sport. As baseball franchises broke down their jobs into more granular pieces, they realized that women could be scouts, hitting instructors, and managers, as major-league baseball experience is not the defining characteristic of success on the job.

So it was interesting to see Northeastern University grapple with the definition of a skill as well. In its recent report on the Emerging Skillstech Landscape, Northeastern brought up several examples showing how people define skills different ways:

French as a skill: You might be able to pass a vocabulary or even a written test, but could you hold a conversation in the language? 

Python: Sometimes the word alone is considered a skill. Other times, a verb is used, such as "writing Python code" or even "teaching Python."

Project management: To some people, it's a skill. To others, the term is way too broad.

Northeastern also notes how dramatic the differences are between the number of skills tracked by different organizations. O*NET, maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor, lists 35 basic and cross-functional skills. Some companies list tens of thousands of skills.

As for SkyHive's skills intelligence, we store profiles of 1 billion anonymized workers and 60+ million companies; 3 billion job descriptions from 200 countries; and 3 trillion unique skill combinations required for current and future jobs.

Northeastern argues that what's most important is not just the total amount of data (though we believe that's quite important), but "how well employers are able to make use of skills-based approaches to meet their needs." Now that's an insight about skills inventories and skills intelligence we can all agree with.

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