Top 5 Skills for the Modern Geek

Top 5 Skills for the Modern Geek

Common and valuable skills for self-proclaimed geeks tend to change over time, and adapt to technology. In the ‘90s some examples might have been having an inside track on how to install a laptop hard drive, or developing a particular aptitude for ripping and burning CDs. In the 2000s, ideal geek skills were things like web development and downloading game emulators. And in the 2010s, we saw skills like cybersecurity expertise and cloud management emerging.

Those examples represent only a small sampling of different “geek” skills that have been particularly relevant over the years. But what skills will stand out for the decade we’re only just starting in on?

1. App Development

It’s not uncommon now to hear people declare that apps are the new websites — or at least that apps are more essential for businesses today. This may not be fair as an absolute claim. But Business-2-Community dove into the topic in some depth, and came up with some reasonable “pros” in favor of apps. For instance, apps tend to perform better than mobile websites, offering a better user experience; apps are better able to leverage device capabilities; apps can provide offline access; and there’s a certain brand awareness associated with apps that mobile websites don’t bring about. For all of these reasons, it may well be the case that app development will be in the 2020s what web development has been in the past two decades. It’s an ideal skill for the modern geek!

2. Browser Customization

Browser customization is a concept a lot of people don’t even really think about — let alone consider a skill. But the truth of the matter is that most of us — even those of us who are on computers constantly — do very little to take advantage of modern browsers. We’ve looked at how to ‘Change Google Plus Bar Color Using Chrome Extensions’ before, and this only scratches the surface of what a computer-savvy person can do with a browser in the 2020s. Extensions, plugins, and commands of all kinds can largely customize a browser experience to a user’s preferences, and the ability to help with all of this is a valuable geek skill as well.

3. Printed Circuit Board Design

PCB design has been the exclusive realm of electrical engineers and hardware enthusiasts for a while now. But two developments are pushing it toward more mainstream geek relevance moving forward. The first is ease of access: As Altium conveys in a guide to getting started with PCB design, an online tutorial accompanied by free software can teach the basics, from sketching out a circuit to generating a completed PCB. The second factor is demand: With the Internet of Things rapidly expanding, here has never been more need to new and innovative tech devices, all of which need circuit boards to work properly. Given these developments, we expect more and more self-styled geeks to explore custom PCB design to build their own connected devices and sensors over the course of the next decade.

4. Social Media Optimization

Social media optimization is a fairly broad concept — and one that might not even fall under most people’s standard definition of a “tech skill.” But the truth is it’s only getting more important for people (and businesses) to be able to navigate and make use of social media effectively. And a lot of tech geeks are better equipped to handle all of this than the average person. From understanding seemingly limitless Facebook applications, to knowing the utility of a hashtag, to quickly picking up whatever social media phenomenon comes next, there’s a lot encompassed by this general skill. But it’s all of real value, and will be for some time.

5. Smart Glasses Programming

Smart glasses have existed for a few years in somewhat rudimentary form, but the more sophisticated versions are on their way. Apple and Samsung are busily racing to establish devices that will lead this market, and Fast Company noted fairly recently that Facebook and Ray-Ban are teaming up on a pair of tech-infused glasses as well. Right now we don’t know exactly what such devices will look like, but the idea is for them to be packed with interesting functions. That will mean that they’ll need programming and customization, and likely that they’ll require their own app development also. All of this opens up fascinating opportunities for self-styled tech geeks in the years ahead. In fact, it won’t shock us if glasses app development is the tech skill of the next several years, at least at the consumer level.

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