The Skills New Grads Are Learning the Most

May 9, 2019

See the skills new college graduates are learning the most – data visualization.

Perhaps the single biggest moment in any professional’s career is the transition from college to the working world.

This is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful time. And a common cause of that stress is finding a job (more help on that here) and then succeeding in that job.

This is totally normal – the fact is, no education program can fully prepare you for your first job; there are always skills that become more important once you enter the workforce. We at LinkedIn Learning wanted to help by uncovering what those skills are – and providing courses that teach them.

The Biggest Learning Need New Graduates Have When Entering The Workforce: Analyzing and Storytelling with Data

Thousands of professionals watch courses on LinkedIn Learning each week to learn skills they need to succeed at work. So, our team took a closer look at the skills recent college graduates – defined as members who graduated in 2018 and who are six months into the workforce or less – were disproportionately learning. This is a clear indication that these are skills most recent college graduates don’t possess, and have an acute need to learn to succeed in today’s work environments.

What we found – recent graduates are much more likely to learn hard skills when they first enter the workforce. And these hard skills revolve around analyzing data and telling stories with insights gleaned from the data.

Here are the five skills recent college graduates are disproportionately learning on LinkedIn Learning, compared to other professionals:

  1. Data Visualization
  2. Data Modeling
  3. Python (a programming language often used in data science)
  4. Web Analytics
  5. Databases

This paints a clear picture – all five skills directly relate to analyzing and storytelling with data. And these skills are only becoming more important, as organizations become more data driven.

The good news? If you learn these skills early, you will stand out from other people with similar amounts of experience. And these are the skills you’ll use the rest of your career – the ability to analyze and storytell with data is the backbone to making smart business decisions.

To help, we have LinkedIn Learning courses that teach all of these skills. Here are five:

For those who want to master skills in data visualization, data science and database management, there’s hundreds of more courses on LinkedIn Learning to help you stay up-to-date with the latest on each subject.

Don’t Just Focus on Hard Skills, Though – This is a Key Time in Invest in Building Relationships and Develop Soft Skills

Yes, the trend is to focus primarily on learning hard skills when you get your first “real” job. But don’t forget about increasingly important soft skills during this time as well.

For example, how you treat people in your early days will have a profound effect on how you’re viewed within your organization. When you first enter the workforce, if you are open to learning, taking feedback and you treat people the right way, organizations will be much more willing to invest in you.

And it’s also the perfect time to find a mentor and get advice from people you admire. This is a time of great unknown – learning from people who have climbed your mountain can be both instructional to your career and boost your confidence along the way.

Here are some LinkedIn Learning courses that can help:

Bottom line: yes, the world of work can feel overwhelming at first, and learning data analysis and visualization can give you the hard skills you need to do your job. But it's also a great time to start building relationships and developing soft skills, which can have lasting effects on your career.


The unique skills that recent graduates are disproportionately learning were identified by analyzing the courses college graduates from the class of 2018 were watching. We looked at learning activity (and associated skills developed) within the first 6 months into their jobs out of college. We compared these skills to the skills the average LinkedIn Learning user is learning. Data provided by LinkedIn Senior Insights Analyst Robert Firme.