Going for your first job in the tech sector? Or want to know how you can progress up the career ladder? Then focusing on the skills that make you stand out from the crowd can help.
Skills such as communication, collaboration, adaptability, and problem-solving (commonly known “soft” skills) are now more essential to success in the technologies sector than ever before: let’s be real, all candidates going for the job are likely to have the key ‘hard’ tech skills needed (Kubernetes, RPA, java, c#, python etc), so focusing on other areas where you can demonstrate success is key.
So, what skills can you demonstrate to get ahead in the sector? Here are our top 5:
- Communication skills
It might seem obvious, but communicating well is a key part of any role, sector aside. In tech roles, to be successful you’ll need to be able to clearly communicate with a variety of different groups of people - those within your own team, the wider organisation, and maybe even external clients. This can be tricky enough to do face-to-face, but with the pandemic meaning that lots of positions in tech are now remote, it’s more important than ever to hone these skills. In fact, 45% of the UK workforce believe employers should offer flexible work arrangements, meaning that communication is likely to be high on the list of desirable qualities in new hires for employers.
Communication has many layers - it’s not just being able to talk to someone! Both verbal and non verbal communication skills are essential for junior and senior roles in tech. The ability to relay and understand complex ideas is a must-have, along with being able to actively listen to other members of the team. In addition, strong written communication skills are equally important, as in all IT roles you’ll need to be able to accurately document your processes and ideas in writing. Plus, poor communication can mean that mistakes are made, or good ideas never get given the time of day!
Want to improve your communication skills? You can read our tips here.
It may not seem obvious at first, but creativity can actually be essential to tech roles - you may need to analyse a problem and find an innovative solution, brainstorm new ways of completing tasks efficiently, or even work on an out of the box project. Showcasing a creative flair in an interview or whilst working in a role can really make you stand out from the (IT) crowd - pun intended.
By taking ownership of your successes and your mistakes, you can prove to potential and current employers that you are willing to learn and grow, whilst being humble and honest. Teams that showcase high levels of accountability are usually well respected and highly productive. However, teams that lack accountability or are unwilling to admit when something may not have gone to plan, often don’t collaborate well with others.
When you work in IT, you will constantly be needing to adapt to new technologies, systems and ways of working. Plus, when working on projects you need to be open minded in your approach - dealing with technical challenges can’t have a one size fits all approach!
Having the skills to adapt your style of working to suit business needs can be a very good way to stay ahead of the game and progress quickly through the ranks.
Being empathetic to other people is something that can allow IT teams to flourish - you can brainstorm, engage, argue, laugh, and discuss ideas in a safe environment to develop solutions. Plus, depending on your particular role (e.g. IT technician, helpdesk), empathy will allow you to better understand and share the feelings of end users, leading to an improved customer experience.