IT Skills: Definition and Examples (And How To Improve Them)
Information technology (IT) professionals perform various tasks using computer-based information systems. Those who work in this industry typically use a diverse skill set to perform their daily tasks. Regardless of your background and experience in this field, knowing which IT skills you can work on to improve your performance may help you advance your career.
In this article, we discuss what IT skills are, list examples of them, provide actionable steps on how to improve them and explain how you can highlight them in the workplace and during the job recruitment process.
What are IT skills?
IT skills are the skills an IT professional requires to perform their tasks effectively and efficiently. They include hard skills, which directly relate to operating and manipulating technology, and soft skills, which are personal traits that can help you communicate and work with other IT professionals. Various IT skills are valuable across a wide variety of specializations and employers.
Related: IT Technician Skills: Examples and Tips
Examples of IT skills
These IT-related skills can be valuable both on the job and during the job recruitment process:
Knowledge of coding is a foundational requirement for many IT professionals. Depending on the role, having advanced knowledge of at least one popular coding language can help you grow your IT career. You can get experience with these types of languages through continued education, practical experience and training for advanced certifications.
Related: IT Specialist Skills: Definition and Examples
Communication skills refer to the ability to interact effectively with those around you, both verbally and in writing. Having strong communication skills is important for many IT roles, as they can help you have positive interactions with colleagues and other relevant parties. IT professionals use communication skills for various purposes, such as collaborating with each other, troubleshooting technical issues with customers and explaining technical concepts to people who are unfamiliar with IT jargon.
Being organized at work may help you become an efficient employee and perform more quality work on schedule. IT professionals can work on multiple projects or multiple aspects of the same project simultaneously, making it important for them to organize their schedule and workload. This can improve both the quality of their work and their workload capacity.
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Professionals with developed leadership skills may be able to motivate other people to follow them. Having this skill as an employee can be particularly useful if you're planning on eventually ascending to a managerial role. It can also help you gain people's attention when giving a presentation or leading a group discussion.
Related: Top 26 Skills for IT Professionals
As an IT professional, you're likely to work on a variety of projects that require you to analyze different types of activity and recommend improvements. For instance, you may also have to troubleshoot something that isn't working properly. Being able to think critically and analytically can help you discover effective solutions.
Related: IT Consultant Skills: Definition and Examples
Creativity is the ability to process information and produce innovative conclusions when performing or planning tasks. The IT industry is constantly changing, and you may encounter new challenges that require the ability to think creatively. It can also help you find solutions to occurring issues.
Working on multiple projects is common in an IT department. Planning and managing your workload can help you multitask and complete your projects within their allocated deadline. Having solid project management skills can benefit your IT career because it may result in the effective use of time and resources.
Related: 50 In-Demand IT Skills To Enhance Your Resume in 2022
Perseverance is the willingness and ability to keep working toward a goal. Jobs in the IT industry usually have large numbers of candidates, meaning you may have to practice perseverance to get a relevant role. Some IT jobs also require perseverance to complete small- or large-scale projects.
Troubleshooting skills, or problem-solving skills, can help you correctly assess an issue and use your knowledge to find realistic solutions. These skills are particularly helpful in the IT industry, as many roles require the ability to either solve issues directly or instruct others on how to solve them. This skill is complementary to other IT skills, as you usually require knowledge regarding a certain issue to formulate a solution.
Related: IT Soft Skills: Definition and Examples
Resourcefulness is the ability to use available resources with high efficiency. Knowing what resources you have and how to use them is a useful skill to have as an IT professional. This skill is usually complementary to creativity and problem-solving, as they all involve creatively thinking of ways to resolve issues using your resources.
Being curious and desiring to learn new things may lead to the discovery of potential career opportunities. This is a relevant skill in the IT industry because this field involves constant innovation. Curiosity can also help motivate you to explore new concepts in technology.
Time management refers to the ability to use your time effectively. This skill can help you make optimal use of your available time at work. Having good time management skills and maximizing the use of your professional time can have a positive effect on your output.
Related: 17 Skills You Need for an IT Job
How to improve IT skills
Consider following these steps when working to improve your IT skills:
1. Develop your current skill set
If you already have some IT skills, it's usually a good idea to keep working on developing them. For example, you may be a great listener but want to improve your communication skills. The next time you're speaking with someone, try sharing a goal with them you'd like to achieve and ask how they recommend approaching it.
2. Continue your education
The field of technology is ever-changing, so it's important to assess your level of knowledge periodically. This can help you set goals to refresh your knowledge and learn about the latest developments and advancements. You can do this by enrolling in an online course or training for a special certification that helps you improve your technical or social skills.
3. Assume more responsibility at work
Many IT specializations require constant practice to master essential concepts. Accepting more challenges at work can enable you to improve as a professional by constantly exposing you to new situations. Gaining experience from dealing with these challenges can help grow your professional knowledge and expertise, which might lead to career advancement.
4. Find a mentor to guide you
You can learn new things and enhance your skill set by interacting with other professionals in your field. Write a list of your goals and try to connect with a more experienced colleague or peer who can help you achieve them. They may even be able to connect you with some valuable people or resources.
Related: 15 Essential IT System Manager Skills To Master
IT skills in the workplace
Here are some ways you can demonstrate your IT skills in the workplace:
Be accessible. Be willing to assist and educate your colleagues whenever they require your expertise.
Offer to help. If you notice a coworker struggling with a project, offer to take some of their work or show them how you've learned to work more efficiently. For instance, there may be a helpful app or a resource you could share with them.
Show initiative. Try to assist your team or other departments in the company. Offer to lead a presentation or provide the names of helpful resources you've discovered.
How to highlight IT skills
Consider these methods of highlighting your relevant IT skills during the job recruitment process:
IT skills for resume
You can analyze the job description to determine which IT skills your potential employer finds valuable in a job candidate. Listing those skills first can show that you match the required qualifications. Doing so can also help highlight your resume if the employer uses resume parsing software, which uses specific keywords to help select potentially relevant resumes. You also can make separate lists for hard and soft skills to showcase your knowledge in a specific area of IT.
IT skills for cover letter
The cover letter can help you expand on the information you include in your resume. You can add more details about the skills you mentioned in the resume and use IT-specific metrics to explain how previous experiences in other jobs helped you acquire those skills. This can show the recruiter how you plan to use your IT skills in their organization.
Related: A Complete Guide to the 16 Highest-Paying IT Skills
IT skills for the job interview
When mentioning your skills during the interview, it's usually best to elaborate on the IT skills you listed in your resume. Similar to the cover letter, you can do this by mentioning specific situations in which you've used those skills. Consider following the STAR interview response technique, which consists of:
Describing the context
Explaining your role
Describing your actions
Showcasing the outcome
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