The Information Technology (IT) field offers great long-term careers and job growth. If you have an interest in IT, knowing what skills you need to get a job can help you prepare. While an IT job requires a fair amount of teachable technical skills, it also involves many soft skills you may already possess.
In this article, you will learn about some common skills you need to successfully work in IT.
Related: Learn About Being an IT Specialist
17 Common IT Job Skills
Considering your interest and proficiency in the following technical skills and soft skills will help you determine if a career in IT is right for you.
These "hard" skills are common in the IT industry. You may want to note which knowledge and skills you possess already and what areas you could learn more through training, certifications or hands-on experience.
- Technical writing
- Social media management
- Network configuration
- Hardware deployment
- Operating system knowledge
- Database management
The ability to communicate intricate instructions and ideas more simply can help you stand out. Many IT jobs require written communication explaining complicated technical processes and systems. You may need to speak with clients, manufacturers or other office staff and translate complex information into layman's terms. You also may need to produce technical documentation, web content or press releases depending on the job.
Social media management
Understanding how social media platforms work can give you an additional valuable skill for employers. The ability to help companies with their content management system, search engine optimization and web analytics is very useful to many businesses.
One of the most common and basic skill sets an employer requires from an IT professional is the ability to write code. Most IT jobs perform programming and software and web development tasks. It is also beneficial to have coding skills in several languages such as C++, Python, Java and Ruby. Understanding code is necessary to complete software development projects and manage quality assurance.
Another common skill set professionals need for most jobs is networking knowledge. If you know more than average about networks, you could become a network administrator. Administrators are responsible for setting up networks and administering them, which involves knowledge such as IP setup, wireless routers, cloud services and coding.
Hardware deployment involves packing, unpacking and setting up technical equipment. Knowing how to disconnect and re-assemble complex technology is a valuable skill for any IT-related position. The military, for example, requires this skill often when deployed to the field for training or overseas.
Operating system knowledge
Understanding how to work and fix various operating systems is an important IT skill. While an individual business may utilize only one operating system, having proficiency in multiple system software can increase your appeal to employers who may want to switch over to a new system in the future.
A database is a program that stores and manages data. An IT job might include a need for data entry or database use, so it's important to know the basics. Database management requires detail and accuracy. It also normally requires the ability to read and use Standard Query Language (SQL).
While the IT field is technologically focused, soft skills are equally important. Consider your proficiency in these soft skills and areas you can improve.
- Analytical abilities
- Project management
The IT field requires a large amount of communication. You will need to communicate with supervisors and colleagues to help them with technical issues and you may work as part of a team in IT security or as a developer. Communication includes written and verbal, particularly in the form of emails or over-the-phone instruction. It's important that you can actively listen, process and give digestible feedback on complex subjects.
An organized workspace and computer make you more efficient and productive. IT jobs can require a lot of multi-tasking, so keeping your area clean and in order will help you stay on track with daily tasks. Assessing the length of a project, prioritizing tasks and sticking to timelines shows that you are systematic and good with time management.
IT jobs require a fair amount of analytical skills. This allows you to identify problems before they arise and analyze data to extract key information, such as the indication of key performance indicators from the review of trends over time.
Creativity is a useful skill for IT jobs because it leads to revolutionary ideas and solutions. You may need to come up with a new idea to improve a process or find an innovative way to fix a technological issue. An employer may also task you with figuring out how to use technology to help the company grow.
IT professionals often have multiple projects going on at a time and need to manage varying responsibilities. You may need to create a plan to reach specific goals and work through project setbacks with coworkers.
Some IT tasks require more thought and effort. If you have a difficult task, persistently working through the challenge shows your work ethic. You also will need to commit to learning and growing as a professional to keep up with the evolution of technology.
One of the main jobs of an IT professional is solving problems. On top of projects, you may receive daily emails or phone calls to help others fix their own technical problems. If you enjoy fixing software or operating system issues or equipment that won't start up, an IT job might be a great fit for you.
Knowing how to use your resources is an important skill to have in IT. You may often get questions you cannot answer, but you know how to get an answer. Helping others increase their productivity with the best software, products and technology, helps the entire business thrive.
During your IT career, you may need to lead a team on a project and have to showcase exceptional leadership skills. Knowing how to effectively delegate tasks, set goals and resolve conflicts will be useful.
The IT field requires day-to-day flexibility. For example, you may often get last-minute changes of setbacks in projects you need to address immediately. Adaptability and quick thinking skills will be very useful to you.