IT Careers are in demand. In today’s Information Technology industry, experience is most important when choosing a job applicant. Here are 10 skills you need to add to your IT tool belt.
Application Savviness and Fluency in Computer Languages
With the explosion in mobile technology has come an explosion in mobile apps. IT pros need to know how to manage the apps their end users access, support the development of apps for use in-house and by external customers, and potentially even assist in the build-out of enterprise app stores. IT pros also need to be aware of (if not skilled in) the use of APIs to connect applications between and among a growing set of internal and external business systems.
These obviously aren’t fake-it-until-you-make-it skill sets. Only those with the chops will even be considered for tech positions. There are minor things you could do to stay more relevant in the industry, however. Building mobile-phone applications is currently a blossoming subsector, so you should be deft with all the operating systems.Learn Programming
The Project Management Institute (PMI) recently released a forecast predicting that between 2010 and 2020, there will be 15.7 million project-management positions created globally across seven project-intensive industries: business services, construction, finance and insurance, information systems, manufacturing, oil and gas, and utilities. In the United States, demand for project-management professionals should translate to 6.2 million jobs by this decade’s close.
If you’re hoping to snag one of these positions, you should provide concrete evidence of your capabilities as a project manager and also obtain the proper certification. PMI reports that those with a Project Management Professional credential earn approximately 16 percent more than those without it. During the hiring process, be sure to emphasize your distinctive strengths, keeping in mind certain components of the job. Mark Langley, president and CEO of PMI, says some of those skills include schedule and budget management, strong leadership, strategic and business-management skills, plus organizational expertise.Free Project Management Software
Social Media Skills
As companies increase their use of (and reliance on) external social media platforms, IT pros need to be able to speak to the technological underpinnings of such platforms, as well as their security and privacy implications. This goes for widely used sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but IT pros also need to keep up with a growing number of rising stars, such as Vine. IT pros also need to understand how social business capabilities are being integrated into traditional business applications and how that will affect user productivity and security.
The jobs marketplace HireArt (hireart.com) matches employers with the best hires through automated interviews and online tasks that exhibit an applicant’s specific skills. HireArt’s vetting process found that companies are seeking employees with social media know-how. But getting a job in social media is about more than following your favorite celebs on Twitter and trolling Facebook for the funniest statuses. There’s strategy involved in using a social network to promote, and employers are specifically seeking those with search engine optimization and search engine marketing skills. But “it’s hard to get a job [in this field] if you’ve never done it before,” says Elli Sharef, co-founder of HireArt.
If you have no experience actually working in social media, you might be able to use a guerilla approach to prove your worth. “Employers are open to a new type of proof,” Sharef says. “If you’re able to generate a large following on Twitter, that’s proof that you could do the same for your target company as well. If you’re a candidate who wants to break into this field, the best way is to just start doing it on your own.”
Proving you’re flexible could also give you a leg up. “In the beginning, if you wanted to be a social media manager, you just needed to know Facebook,” Sharef says. “Now you need to know Twitter, Snapchat, and more.”More on Social Networking
Marketing and SEO
When you signed on for a career in IT, you probably never imagined yourself in the marketing department. Well, with the increasing use of social — and with social being an increasingly movable target — marketing departments are pulling in IT people to help them turn on a technological dime. This means thinking about technology in a whole new way.
Lastly, job seekers in this field should turn to the Web for courses in analytics, SEO, and SEM.Learn SEO
Security? Hasn’t security always been in the IT pro’s purview to some extent, you ask? Yes, but IT pros now have to think of security less in terms of reactive patching and more in terms of proactive vigilance — putting into perspective the stakes the organization has in social, the cloud, XaaS offerings, the use of consumer devices in the workplace and rogue IT, among many other concerns. Proactive defense is the only defense.Some Articles on Security
Big Data Analytics
Big data offers organizations a wealth of opportunity — if they can manage and make sense of it. To support the business, IT pros must become versed in the language of data, as well as in the use of data analysis tools and services.
One of the more abstract in-demand skills employers desire to find in candidates is the ability to assess and analyze information, then use that information to make prognoses, recommendations, and plan projects. But your approach to prove dexterity as a critical thinker is similar to how you’d discuss other “soft skills:” Relate and emphasize both professional and pertinent real-life instances where you’ve utilized these skills and achieved positive results.
Problem Solving and Troubleshooting
According to sites like Mashable.com, the ability to identify a problem and make intelligent plans for a successful solution is another, less-quantifiable trait that employers are eager to find in job seekers today. And similar to having social media skills, this is one where previous professional experience helps, but isn’t always necessary if you have relatable real-life experience that can show your metal to the hiring manager.
Casually mentioning your expertise in this arena won’t do the trick. (Other than effectively showing that you don’t actually have enough problem-solving skills to solve the problem of landing a job.) The best evidence would be specific and detailed examples on your resume, cover letter, and during an interview of how you’ve worked to overcome obstacles and achieve success.
Companies are adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and company-owned, personally enabled (COPE) programs to save money, but such programs also up the management and security ante. With all those devices accessing all that corporate data, IT pros must be adept at leveraging a bevy of tools. These include mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) systems, as well as security tools such as data loss prevention and monitoring systems.
Never have so many different technologies opened up so much potential — and so much liability — for organizations. When it comes to the use of things like social media and mobile, companies need to be explicit about what is and isn’t expected of users. The development of policy that does just that is key. IT pros shouldn’t be the sole authors of acceptable-use policy, but they should certainly be at the proverbial table as that policy is hashed out and written.More Useful Links for Expanding Your Knowledge