While working on your base skills you can begin to stay up to date on the current popular SF/F short stories. I do that by watching the Amazon charts specifically (here is a link to the bestsellers: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Science-Fiction-Fantasy/zgbs/books/25). Figure out what's popular, what readers want, follow successful authors on facebook/instagram/twitter, figure out if there are any trends. That and just gobble up any information you can from any source you can. I find the author/genre reader groups on Facebook helpful for learning exactly who the audience is. The other social media sights are good for understanding how these authors market and connect to the readers.