What useful skill should I learn?

What can I learn to do that needs doing? I’d like it to be something that keeps me mobile, so I don’t get stuck in any one place. Maybe even something I can use to get a work visa in another country (my current country is the United States). It doesn’t even have to be the most lucrative thing in the world, as long as it pays enough to meet expenses and save some.

I’m male, 41, and physically healthy.

Speak a foreign language.

Fix computers. Set up Home A/V systems (most people can’t do it themselves).

Learn to fix things around the house. Plumbing electrical. Learn to repair cars.

That will save you a fortune!

Carpentry. Especially if you go the Union/Craft Hall route and become good at everything from rough (framing for concrete for example) to finish work. Throw in some cabinet work and you will never be without options.

I was a mechanic by trade and a solid all around handyman. At 40 years old I decided to drop out of society and live in my truck. I made so much money trying to just get by I was back in an apt before the first week was up. I had to go back to work full time just to avoid being overworked.

3d model design. In a few years 3d printers and the like will be as common as regular printers are today. People are going to need things they can print and being able to create designs for those printers is going to be in high demand.

Not enough. Speaking Spanish, French, Portuguese or Chinese will be very useful, but it is not a job skill if that is all you can do.

Yes ! MY mom is part of a LETS circle. You wouldn’t beleive how much work there is for these skills, and how little demand there is for virtually every other kind of skill.

Not really. Very few people want to buy hand made wooden furniture when there’s an IKEA around. You would always be far more expensive then a local crafsman. Also, you need a workshop, invest in expenisve tools, and some wood materials have to be prepared for years before you can use them properly. Not something to do on the go.

If you want to do develop some marketable skill that you can do online, from anywhere on the world, look at fiverr.com and see for what skills there is a demand.

Welding and especially Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) thereof. Trust me.

We can’t hire a level III NDE person where I work; they’re aren’t many available and those who are don’t want to move to what appears to be the middle of nowhere Canada.

What DO you do? What are you good at? What do you want to do?

I’m very lucky in that I was brought up to be a Jack-of-all trades. I am now a GIS programmer (never expected that).

If you want to travel, I think learning another language is a great idea.

When you don’t get what you want, you get experience.

Learn to save money. Live on less.

It’s a valuable skill, that will serve you well all of your life.

Whatever comes. Wherever you land. You’ll be better prepared.

Then, find an organization in your city that teaches English to immigrants and refugees, and volunteer with them. They will train you and give you a certificate. Then, anywhere in the world, you would be qualified for any position teaching English as a foreign language. You already know the language with native fluency, but prospective employers would want to see some evidence that you have teaching skills. You can even get recruited while still at home, and have your passage and visa documents provided, as well as a (barely) subsistence job over there.

Get a degree as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

How to change a tire. How to by-pass a busted brake line and get home. Cooling system basics. How to replace a flapper valve. Cooking. Avoiding arguments with women. Basic wiring and knowledge of AC and DC. Soldering.

And, of course, Brewing.

If you like cooking, computers, coding, construction or caring for others, projections for future jobs look good. They say “do what you love” is bad advice but I’m not so sure.

Train your own, and call them Level 3’s. That’s what we do, and we’re a big, giant company you’ve probably heard of. Only difference is we call it NDT instead of NDE (“testing”). The L2’s and L1’s are the same.

Of course we have reasons we can’t just hire off the street, and that’s usually our union agreements, wherein any type of testing belongs to an hourly person who can bid into the job, and we’re stuck training them until they rotate out (training is perpetual and expensive). Maybe your luck is better.

Are you looking more for welders or for NDT personnel? I’m genuinely interested because both are what I do for a living, although both aspects involve very different personnel (one group to make welds, another group to test them, and another group to test them non-destructively).


Thanks for all the responses.

Good advice, although like Maastricht said, it’s probably not enough. I was once approaching fluency in Spanish, and I feel like if I could immerse myself in it for a couple of months I could call myself fluent. That’s one reason I’m looking for a skill, so I could go places and learn things like that.

Hmmm… maybe.

I have ALWAYS wished I knew cars. I wouldn’t say I have a natural aptitude, but I’m sure I could be competent with them if somebody were to show me how they work.

This, maybe. My grandfather was a welder. He didn’t like it, but he HAD to do it to support his family.

How do you become a certified welding… guy, or whatever? Do I have to go to Lincoln Tech for two years? (That’s a vocational school I used to see ads for when I was home sick watching Gilligan’s Island as a kid.)

Congratulations on the programming career.

I have a college degree in nothing in particular, and a CDL ‘B’ with passenger endorsement that allows me to drive buses anywhere in America. The CDL has afforded me the ability to live and work in a lot of different places, so I don’t feel trapped anywhere, which is very important to me. But I’m getting a little tired of driving around in circles all the time.

The college degree has been pretty much useless, I’m sorry to say. It was a ticket into several jobs that I absolutely couldn’t stand. I could probably get one of these jobs again and be stuck doing something I hate and don’t believe in, but then I’d have to drink a lot more (or something) and I don’t really want to do that.

As for what I want to do… I’m not sure how to make a living doing it. That’s why I’m looking for something to get me by until I figure out how.

That’s good advice. I’ve learned that I need far, far less money than I used to think I did.

I’ll have to look up what that is, but it doesn’t really sound like “me” just based on the name. I guess it’s someone who manages projects professionally?

I know what it’s like to do what I hate, and it’s not good. Among the options you list, I could see myself coding. But I was on the fringes of that field years ago (as an “information systems support specialist,” whatever that is) and coding seemed like a really hard thing to break into. Although maybe I didn’t want it bad enough.

I’ve heard that ain’t easy.