An overview of information technology skills
Whether you are an experienced IT professional or a new graduate working to get a leg up in the IT field, there are some specific skills and general personality traits that are necessary for you to succeed in your chosen field. While it's important to develop the technical skills required to perform in an information technology position, it is also essential to have the soft skills that help you function as part of a team. If you are looking to get started as an IT professional or advance your career, here are the IT skills you'll need.
What are information technology skills
The IT field continues to grow as technology advances and changes. With these changes, job expectations, job descriptions, and even job titles continue to change too. Information technology skills encompass the skills employers look for when hiring for an IT position. They include both hard skills such as specialized technology knowledge such as cloud security, and coding skills, and soft skills such as good communication and organization.
Examples of information technology skills
Information technology jobs require a particular set of skills. If you have a good balance of the hard technical skills and knowledge needed to perform the specific job and the soft skills and personality traits that make you a desirable employee, you can become a well-rounded IT professional.
These IT skills make you an excellent candidate:
As companies continue to move towards cloud computing, they need in-house expertise to migrate their data and create a cloud-friendly workflow. You can show recruiters that you have the skills needed for cloud computing by getting your certification from Amazon Web Services, the Google Cloud Academy, or Microsoft Azure. The certification you need will depend on the specific position and the industry, but having a certification will show employers you have the capability.
Network and information security
Companies need to protect their data, which requires qualified IT employees. A cybersecurity position requires IT job skills such as database modeling, open-source application knowledge, and proficiency in systems including Linux OS and Microsoft technologies.
Mobile engineering is a growing IT skill for companies who have employees who want the same experience on their mobile devices as their desktops. Mobile development skills will open up many job opportunities.
Full stack web development
Any IT professional should demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of programming languages such as Java, Python, and PHP.
Data mining and analysis
Data mining is big business no matter what the industry. If you have knowledge and experience in data mining and related statistical analysis such as Apache Hadoop, NoSQL, and SQL, your resume will stand out to hiring managers and recruiters.
Project management skills
Most IT departments have several projects going on. A good IT professional will have the skills to effectively work on different projects simultaneously to help make sure each one meets its deadline. Project management skills will make you an appealing candidate.
As an IT professional, you’ll need to works with other information technology professionals, management, and in some cases, vendors. Good written and verbal communication skills are essential to keep your team informed, exchange ideas with colleagues and your reporting line, and keep your customers up to date on a project’s progress.
Many IT jobs require analytical skills. You’ll need to find solutions to problems almost every day in an IT position, whether it’s figuring out why a server is down or determining a specific line of code that isn’t working.
Having good organizational skills will make working in an IT position more productive. Multi-tasking is necessary every day, and in order to multitask you need to stay organized.
Problems come up throughout your day no matter what job you do. The ability to work through these problems independently and as a team makes you a good employee. Employers value people who can take on problems, brainstorm ideas to fix them, come up with a solution, and implement it.
Even IT professionals need the ability to negotiate. Whether it’s finding common ground while working on a project with your team members or negotiating terms with a vendor, you will need this skill in order to reach goals and build relationships.
How to improve information technology skills
There are many resources available to help improve your IT skills and knowledge. Once you know what skills you need, you can work on developing them and improving them.
- Obtain certifications. One of the best ways to improve your IT skills is to continue your education. Take a class at your local community college, whether it’s a general computer class or project management class. If you already have a degree, you can enhance your resume by taking additional IT certification classes. Many of these are available online and are one of the quickest ways to expand your IT skills.
- Get on the job training. There is no better way to learn than to get hands-on training. Ask for more responsibility at your current job, and use it as a learning tool.
- Practice what you already know. If you have basic skills, use them as often as you can. Research free online tools to help you work on the skills you want and need for your next job.
- Establish your weak points. Take a look at your skills and determine where you need work. If you can, find a mentor that can help or read technical step-by-step guides and work through them.
- Keep up-to-date with the latest technology news. Make sure you always have the latest information technology news and trends. Join IT forums and read the latest discussions. Research the most in-demand IT jobs and what certifications and education is needed for these jobs.
IT skills in the workplace
Now that you know what information technology skills are and how to improve them, it’s time to show how you can use them in the workplace.
- Collaboration. With companies becoming so connected, even across different locations, project are more complex. The ability to collaborate and work with a diverse team is essential. Be open to sharing knowledge and contributing to your team along with other company projects.
- Perseverance. The best IT professionals are willing to work through issues and find solutions to challenges. It often takes persistence and an unwillingness to give up, even after others have, to work through a particular technology.
- Pay Attention to the Small Details. IT professionals need to pay attention to all the small details.
- Be Resourceful. Always look for new resources that will help you get the job done and give you an edge. You might not always have the answer, but if you know how to use the available resources, you will be able to find it.
Highlighting your information technology skills
Whether you are looking for a new job in the IT field or you want to move up the ladder and get a position with more responsibility, you need to show employers your skills and strengths throughout the entire application process. Here are some tips for highlighting your IT skills:
Information technology skills for your resume
Create a resume tailored to the specific job you are applying for. You can adjust it to emphasize the skills required for the job. For example, if the job you want requires coding certifications, list them in a more prominent spot so they are highlighted for the recruiter and hiring manager.
Information technology skills for your cover letter
Your cover letter is one of the best ways to highlight the skills needed for a particular job. It is also the place to discuss a specific situation that highlights your use of information technology skills. Include a short example from a previous job or situation where you worked through a coding issue or security problem and explain how you solved it.
Information technology skills for your job interview
Prepare before your interview. Make sure you research the company and the job requirements so you can highlight how your skill set is a good match. Answer the questions with well-crafted responses, and have examples to back up your claims. If you say you are an excellent project manager, provide an example of a situation where you lead a project to completion.
The information technology skills you need for success in the workplace include both technical skills and interpersonal skills. You’ll stand out from other qualified candidates if you have a good combination of both types of skills, and provide solid, concrete examples of how you use them.