Stack Skills to Build the Career You Want

By Des Sinkevich on January 11 2023

Today, a traditional college degree or training program isn’t the only way to prepare for a rewarding job that pays well! More than ever before, employers are focusing on the skills you have on your resume instead of just evaluating job candidates based on the school they graduated from or the degree they earned. That means there’s more opportunity now than ever before to really design the career you want by gaining job-relevant skills through something called “skill stacking.” Here’s what you need to know.

Round black rocks stacked on top of each other.

What is skill stacking?

Skill stacking is basically when you learn a combination of relevant or complimentary skills that, when combined, can help you start a career or stand out in your current industry. This can generally be done through taking a variety of shorter courses or training programs versus concentrating on completing one degree. While skill stacking can be beneficial in a variety of industries and help you boost your resume, it’s important to keep in mind that there will still be some career paths that require you to earn a specific degree or have specific certifications that you may not be able to get by stacking skills alone.

What skills can you stack to build a career?

When you’re looking to start skill stacking, the first step is to consider what you really want to do. If you’re looking to start a brand new career, what industry are you hoping to get into? What work really appeals to you?

If you want to advance in your current career or industry, consider what skills and qualifications you may be missing that are holding you back from moving up.

From there, you’ll want to start looking into different ways you can learn these skills and get a better idea of where to start.

Skills you can stack can include knowledge that’s relevant to a variety of careers, like learning how to use Microsoft Excel, or specific to a particular industry, like learning more about social media management or user experience design.

Read more: How to Write an Effective Creative Resume

Example of skills stacking for event planning

Event planners work for companies or start their own business, helping clients plan and organize all sorts of events from corporate meetings to weddings and anniversary parties. Through an online event planner course, you can learn the fundamental skills needed to work in the field and take the next steps toward starting a job or a business. But, by adding on skills through a wedding planner training program and a floral design program, you can stand out from other event planners as a wedding expert and even offer your own floral arrangements to clients as part of a package deal. This can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to start your own business versus work for an established event planning company because it will allow you to stand out from the competition by offering as many services in-house as possible!

Read more: How to Become a Professional Event Planner

Example of skill stacking for web development

The tech industry has led the charge in focusing on skills building over degrees with companies like Apple and Google moving to hire employees who have the skills they need to do the job right instead of just those who have graduated from a four-year college. That means there are endless possibilities for skill stacking and career building. A good example is working in website development.

As a web developer, you’ll design and build websites and apps for clients, if you’re a freelancer, or for your employer if you work for a company. You can start by learning the fundamental skills you need in a front-end web development training course, then add on additional skills to boost your resume and advance in your career.

A great skill for web developers to have is an understanding of user experience (UX). More than ever, UX plays a huge role in designing websites, so knowing what to focus on to help the user better navigate the site you create can save a lot of editing and time in your design process. And, further, if you want to add in some creative work with your tech capabilities, learning about graphic design can come in handy! With all three skills, you’ll be able to design, create, and code a website that is effective in getting users the information they need and looks amazing.

Additionally, if you are a freelancer, having multiple skills like these on your resume can help you stand out to potential clients by offering more services – all of which can help you earn more!

Read more: What Do Front-End Web Developers Do?

Example of skill stacking for interior decorating

Interior design focuses a lot on what happens inside of a residence or business, but by stacking a few additional skills, you can offer more than the standard design might be able to. For example, you could take an interior design course to get the fundamental skills that can help you take the next step toward being an interior designer but then expand to learning landscape design. That way, you can offer more to potential clients!

And, if you want to be able to easily show your clients potential plans and designs for your indoor and outdoor ideas, learning 3D modeling can help – and make your client’s experience feel much more focused and collaborative.

Read more: How to Become an Interior Designer

How to start skill stacking

Even if you’re already established in a career you love, you don’t have to stop learning! Skill stacking can help you learn more about your industry, develop skills that can help you stand out from others in the field, and, in general, offer more to current and potential employers.

Skill stacking also doesn’t have to happen one skill – and course – right after another. You can take your time and stack new skills on your resume at your own pace. If you’ve just finished one online course, you may need a break and just want to focus on your job for a while before moving on to another skill – and that’s great! The easiest way to start skill stacking is just to sign up for a training or certificate program. From there, you can add more skills and courses throughout your entire career.

Read more: The Benefits of Learning Creative Skills Online

Build a career your way with NYIAD

With NYIAD’s online courses, you can design and build the career you want one program at a time! To learn more about our programs, how online education works, and how to get started, reach out to our expert admissions department at 1-800-583-1742.

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