Last year, Mark Cuban scoffed at the idea that coding is the be all and end all to professional success. He said he believes automation will eventually eliminate many of today's in-demand software jobs.

Instead, Cuban heralded creative and critical thinking as the next most in-demand job skills. And guess what? The Shark Tank oracle just might be right. Now there's real data to prove it.

LinkedIn data reveals the most sought-after job skills

Hundreds of thousands of employers around the globe post jobs on LinkedIn. These job postings span many industries, levels, and regions. LinkedIn recently analyzed 50,000 professional skills that appear in its job postings to find out the most in-demand job skills for 2019.

In the soft skills category, it turns out, Cuban hit the nail on the head. LinkedIn discovered that employers are most eager to hire for creativity this year. Across both soft and hard skills, creativity still came in at number two. (Cloud computing took home first place, but LinkedIn says this only applies to a portion of the workforce. Plus, hard skills don't have staying power the way soft skills do.)

"It's no stretch to say creativity is the single-most important skill in the world for all business professionals today to master," LinkedIn says of its results.

You don't need to be an artist to be creative

There's a misconception that to be creative, you need to excel at some sort of artistic endeavor. That's simply not true. You need not be able to produce art museum-quality work to leverage creative thinking.

Creativity is not just thinking up wacky ideas or making things look beautiful. These are simply part of the creative process.  

There are plenty of creative accountants, office managers, and software developers out there. (There's hope for you yet, coders!) Creativity is really all about how you solve problems. A true "creative" is someone who can bring together seemingly unconnected ideas to create a novel solution.

Creativity can mean:

  • Reviving and remixing an old idea everyone forgot about in a fresh context.

  • Presenting an inventive solution to an age-old problem the whole team has been grappling with.

  • Moving a project forward in a meaningful way, even when you're strapped for time, budget, or resources.

Flex those creative muscles

Still don't feel like you're particularly creative? Don't worry, you can get there.

Like all soft skills, it's something you can work on. Creativity is like exercising. You might not be particularly good at it at first, but the more you practice, the stronger your muscles become.

LinkedIn Learning has more than 2,000 courses on the topic of creativity alone. They recommend these few to get started:

So, you have no excuse! Give 'em a watch. ?