Useful Hard Skills for the near future

What skills to learn, what tools to get
Papers of Indenture
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Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Papers of Indenture » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:03 pm

We have lots of renaissance type skill accumulators here. Presumably most of us either have or will have free time to expand skills sets. "Soft" skills like adaptability and critical thinking are all the rage now and while very important...I find myself yearning for competency in a technical or craft skill.

What do folks think is the most useful hard skill to acquire for the near term future (the next 10 to 15 years)? You can approach this with your own definition of useful....income in a shifting economy, survival, sanity providing. This type of thread on Reddit usually turns into 200 people typing "programming" so if you're going down that road try to provide some detail like...what kind of programming.

I'll throw learning a musical instrument out there. I've found that learning to play the guitar strengthens my soft skill set by building patience and focus. It has also opened me up to a new world of companionship that keeps me fulfilled on boring nights where I have nothing to do. It is impossible to experience ennui while playing, or attempting to play in my case, in a recreational session group.

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Dragline
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Dragline » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:32 pm

Well, the basic skill I've used most often in the past and expect to continue using in the future is basic plumbing and drain skills -- toilet problems, clogged drains, leaky faucets, disposals and sump pumps. Knowing your way around a septic system would also be advisable if you have one.

The other one is cooking. But you can usually trade plumbing skills for that.

Call me Captain Obvious.

More entertaining/rewarding is auto repair. But that's harder to really do as much with on a simple level since cars have become computers.

Bicycle repair is good too.

I always wanted to learn welding, though. But I can't say that I would likely use it all that much.

George the original one
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby George the original one » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:38 pm

Rather than programming, I'll say cyber security ;-)
DoS, buffer overrun, virus, cryptography, keystroke monitors, etc.
***

On a personal level, I think a useful skill is being able to "get the job done" when electricity or telephone service or transportation system are unavailable. It's up to you to figure out what the job is (cooking, staying warm/cool, doing the dayjob, commuting, coordinating) and how long you'll need. For instance, Portland came to a standstill when a recent snowstorm moved in mid-morning... commuting routes were at a standstill and schoolkids were stuck on buses and staying warm became difficult when power went out in some areas; many people did not get home from work or school until 9-10pm!

Papers of Indenture
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Papers of Indenture » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:43 pm

Dragline wrote:Well, the basic skill I've used most often in the past and expect to continue using in the future is basic plumbing and drain skills -- toilet problems, clogged drains, leaky faucets, disposals and sump pumps. Knowing your way around a septic system would also be advisable if you have one.


This is on my agenda. I have a septic system. Dual tank septic that flows into a dry well. Fortunately the septic tanks are new but the dry well is a relic of the past.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby enigmaT120 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:57 pm

Ha George, let's see what happens tomorrow. I think I'll be driving my '81Toyota 4x4 (which I work on myself) to work Sunday.

I want to get better at welding and learn more about mill/lathe work, as my hobbies(?) keep inviting custom made doohickies. Even my bicycle has a couple of things I couldn't find at Ace Hardware, and my machinist friend from work has a pile of fir logs by my driveway.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Riggerjack » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:33 pm

This is on my agenda. I have a septic system. Dual tank septic that flows into a dry well. Fortunately the septic tanks are new but the dry well is a relic of the past.


Why? Where are you, and how much room is there between the bottom of your drywell, and your highest ground water level?

Is this some sneaky way of excluding non natives from your local area!?! When the first Californians show up, they get E Coli, and never come back... Shrewd, sir. Very shrewd.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Spartan_Warrior » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:48 pm

1. Gardening, specifically aquaponics. Provides inexpensive fresh produce and some animal meat in almost any environment (some temperature restrictions apply) and particularly useful in environments with less access to clean water.

2. Hunting. Provides inexpensive and abundant animal meat in most environments. Also combines skills of marksmanship, firearm use and maintenance, stealth, outdoor survival, etc., all of which is both useful and marketable (depending on ethics) in times of war/civil unrest.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby black_son_of_gray » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:35 pm

Dragline wrote:Bicycle repair is good too.
I always wanted to learn welding, though. But I can't say that I would likely use it all that much.


You can combine the two! In college, I really wanted a recumbent bicycle but saw the price tag (typically over $1000). My family had some extra diamond frame bicycles* collecting dust in the garage, so I went at it with a hacksaw and cheap flux cored welder over a winter break. Viola! DIY budget recumbent bicycle. Worked surprisingly well actually. There could be a market for that kind of thing, because 'bents are typically $$$. A skill-based hobby that pays for itself.

*These were relatively thin steel tubing. You could get into aluminum welding, but that would require a more advanced welding setup.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby halfmoon » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:45 am

George the original one wrote:On a personal level, I think a useful skill is being able to "get the job done" when electricity or telephone service or transportation system are unavailable. It's up to you to figure out what the job is (cooking, staying warm/cool, doing the dayjob, commuting, coordinating) and how long you'll need.


Oh, boy; this question really presses my buttons. ;) I believe (in a harsh, simplistic view) that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who do what needs to be done, and those who whine about why they can't. Skills are important, but mental attitude is at least as critical. In my view of the next 10-15 years, there will be increasing challenges of the type @Georgetoo mentions. I agree that it's important to visualize circumstances when you'll have to fend for yourself and family, then develop skills and plans for that eventuality.

Even now, we have regular power outages; one a few years ago lasted for 8 days. People were talking as though they might die if the government or power company didn't magically intervene. Sadly, some people did die from using barbecue grills or generators indoors.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Toska2 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:52 am

Any form of home remodeling. Our government seems to be in the business of pushing people into homes regardless if they have the capacity (skill or money) to upkeep one. Secondly as the boomer generation ages they are least likely to upgrade their home leaving ~20 years of little scratch and dent homes to their children who have little inclination to fix it themselves.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Farm_or » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:57 am

It seems to me that this subject is really environment dependent.

If you are or want to be isolated then that requires a huge array of skills and self sufficiency.

If you are surrounded by a lot of people, perhaps people skills would be most beneficial; bartering, trading, selling?

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:36 pm

You could make a list of every service or product you have spent money on in the last year. Then determine which of these you think you will likely still be spending money on 10 years from now. Then break down any of the products into a series of services which add value. For instance, any given product might contain umpteen services from "mining" to "marketing." Then determine which services or services-inherent-in-product you think you pay the most for and develop the skills necessary to provide those services yourself. Worst case scenario you will likely end up permanently reducing some of your own ongoing expenses, and best-case scenario you will end up with a skill set that will allow you to earn income and provide value for others in alignment with your own values system.

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Fish
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Fish » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:14 pm

+1 to @7w5, unless you are in an environment where you can easily exchange your specialized labor for a considerably greater amount of general labor, it would make sense to strive for self-sufficiency by maintaining your own capitalized assets and providing for your ongoing needs. Thinking to Jacob's "big three" (food, shelter, transportation), this might mean producing/cooking your own food, being your own handyman and mechanic. However, with technology, performing these activities yourself usually makes sense to the extent that the services that are being replaced are one-to-one and not one-to-many. For example, a person can only repair one house or car at a time (one-to-one) while a person could grow and prepare food for several people at once (one-to-many). There's less return on investment when replacing scalable activities, particularly if the labor required is relatively unskilled.

Judging by the price of goods relative to labor, we currently live in an environment where resources are abundant and people are scarce. If you speculate that this perception will flip in the near future then it would be worth developing some salvage skills and learn how to turn waste into useful stuff.

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C40
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby C40 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 4:41 pm

Sex is a good one, because you'll also be learning a lot of other important people skills that can be very useful in other areas of life.

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luxagraf
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby luxagraf » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:25 pm

Papers of Indenture wrote:What do folks think is the most useful hard skill to acquire for the near term future (the next 10 to 15 years)?


gypsy caravaning.

It's a long shot, but if it pays off I pretty much have the market cornered in this country.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Papers of Indenture » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:30 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
This is on my agenda. I have a septic system. Dual tank septic that flows into a dry well. Fortunately the septic tanks are new but the dry well is a relic of the past.


Why? Where are you, and how much room is there between the bottom of your drywell, and your highest ground water level?

Is this some sneaky way of excluding non natives from your local area!?! When the first Californians show up, they get E Coli, and never come back... Shrewd, sir. Very shrewd.


Are you asking me why I have a dry well?

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Riggerjack
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Riggerjack » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:44 pm

Yes. And a few other relevant environmental questions as to why this was installed in the first place. Though I assume the answer is that it was already there when you moved in.

Here in the PNW, there are many places where ground water is high enough that a drywell septic system could lead to groundwater contamination. I have never heard of anyone using such a system for blackwater, but I have heard of such for graywater in off grid cabins, and such.

In general, septic systems are much better ways of dealing with waste than sewer plants. More thorough treatment, and less pollution concentration. But since they are maintained by owners, there can be long term, devastating effects from not being maintained properly. If there's anything you want to know, I'm happy to share what I know.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Papers of Indenture » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:22 am

Rigger,
I am in Baltimore County, MD. They are fairly common here and yes I did inherit the dry well. It cleared County scrutiny and passed inspection. I did research them when I was buying and I do agree with your assessment...unfortunately it was here, the deal was good, and it is not financially feasible for me to replace it with a leach field yet. There might me problems with installing a new leach field because my acreage is small (0.63 acres) and my property bumps up against state land.

Curiously enough my property borders a state park and is only 150 yards from the river which provides Baltimore City and County with it's drinking water. Although I am down stream of the reservoir.

It is my understanding that new dry well installation in MD is closely regulated but special exceptions are still made for new construction. Mine is a grandfather that has been here for a while. I have read that New York still allows Blackwater dry well installation as well.

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Ego
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Ego » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:47 am

Hard skills of a different sort.

http://www.thebookoflife.org/machiavell ... nice-guys/

Machiavelli's Advice for Nice Guys

It’s routinely assumed that a large part of what it means to be a good person is that one acts well. One doesn’t only have good ends, one is committed to good means. So if one wants a more serious world, one needs to win people over through serious argument. If one wants a fairer world, one has to judiciously and gently try to persuade the agents of injustice to surrender willingly, not through intimidation. And if one wants people to be kind, one must show kindness to one’s enemies, not ruthlessness.

It sounds splendid but Machiavelli couldn’t overlook an incontrovertible problem. It doesn’t work. As he looked back over the history of Florence and the Italian states more generally, he observed that nice princes, statesmen and merchants always come unstuck. This was why he wrote the book for which we know him today, The Prince, a short deeply original manual of advice for well-disposed princes on how not to finish last. And the answer, in short, was to be as nice as one wished, but never to be overly devoted to acting nicely: and indeed to know how to borrow – when need be – every single trick employed by the most cynical, dastardly, unscrupulous and nastiest people who have ever lived.

The Prince was not, as is often thought, a guide to being a tyrant; it’s a guide about what nice people should learn from tyrants. It’s a book about how to be effective, not just good. It’s a book haunted by examples of the impotence of the pure.

We need to learn lessons from an unexpected source: those we temperamentally most despise. They have the most to teach us about how to bring about the reality we yearn for – but that they are fighting against. We need weapons of similar grade steel to theirs.


https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1232

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fiby41
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby fiby41 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:03 am

Cooking, making tools out of wood and sheet metal, stitching.

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby SnailMeister4000 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:20 pm

fiby41 wrote:making tools out of wood and (...) metal


Reminds me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je_mEnfKNXU :)

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby jacob » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:31 pm

Number one is not getting reliant/dependent on some kind of [prescription] drug. Stay weight/height proportional. Test whether you can run 5k without a break and perform a few pull/pushups. If you can't, consider it a warning sign and take it very seriously. This is an easy skill when you're 20 or 30 ... but possibly harder when you're 40 or 50 or 60 unless you start early and maintain it.

Number two is being able to eat well for 1-2 months without having to shop or eat-out at all. If you find yourself needing to "go to the store" every week just in order to eat, you have a problem. Take it seriously. See viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8479 and consider it the bare minimum.

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BRUTE
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby BRUTE » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:06 pm

jacob wrote:Number two is being able to eat well for 1-2 months without having to shop or eat-out at all. If you find yourself needing to "go to the store" every week just in order to eat, you have a problem.


intriguing. brute goes to the store almost every day, a week would be a HUGE grocery haul for him. his resilience comes in the form of fasts. if brute didn't have access to food for a week, he'd be very comfortable with that. 2-3 may be be pushing it, but probably fine.

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Ego
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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby Ego » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:43 pm

jacob wrote:Number two is being able to eat well for 1-2 months without having to shop or eat-out at all. If you find yourself needing to "go to the store" every week just in order to eat, you have a problem. Take it seriously.


Huh? 1-2 MONTHS!? What specifically is on the horizon that would cause that kind of food disruption?

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Re: Useful Hard Skills for the near future

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:36 am

Yeah, good luck on that one if you live in the city with somebody who owns 4 medium-to-large dogs. I can't think of any solution except breeding meat rabbits in the basement.


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