Skills you need to develop in order to excel in technical professions

From programming and digital business expertise to management and collaboration skills, there are many professional skills that young IT professionals need to hone in order to rise to the top.

But where should you focus your attention in order to climb the tech career ladder? Five industry experts gave their opinion.

1. Explain and be ethical with your team

Danny Gonzalez, director of digital and innovation at London North Eastern Railway (LNER), says there’s no way out: if you want a tech job, you’ll need strong skills.

To that end, his organization is investing time and money in developing the skills needed to deliver a data-driven digital transformation agenda. “Take machine learning as an example: several members of our team are taking various machine learning development courses to master these specialized skills,” he explains.

However, Danny Gonzalez also believes that it is interpersonal skills that help you complete big tasks, especially when you start taking charge of your work schedule. “You have to take people with you on this journey. They need to be passionate about what you are trying to achieve,” he says.

“People need to behave properly in order to work as a team. We cannot do anything in the company on our own – we depend on almost all of its other areas. If you don’t have strong interpersonal skills, you won’t get very far because everyone comes together to get things done. »

2. Use your technical and non-technical know-how

Stephen Booth, CIO at Coventry University, says that anyone who wants to work in IT needs to have technical skills, but by far the most important skills are the right attitude and the ability to connect with people.

The emphasis on social skills is all the more important, according to Steven Booth, as many of the traditional tasks performed by IT professionals are taken over by external vendors. The rest of the internal staff may have to deal with a change in orientation.

“The roles are changing,” he says. “Yes, we still have pure programmers and infrastructure engineers. But the cloud brought huge changes. What was once the server engineer is now the one who manages the relationship with the vendor to deliver the service. »

This shift in roles and responsibilities means that successful IT professionals must deal with a wide range of people with different requirements. According to Steven Booth, the most effective employees use their technical know-how to help the company solve its problems.

“You have to understand technology to understand requirements and needs. So you still need that technical base. But more and more we are looking for people who can get involved and who can translate what people want into what they build. »

3. Become an influencer

Bev White, CEO of Nash Squared, a recruiting firm, also says that interpersonal skills are critical for professionals seeking to successfully climb the corporate ladder, especially those who want to move into leadership roles. “The ability to lead people, to be a good leader, to be able to motivate and encourage people is really important,” she says.

Being purely technical is “not enough,” Bev White adds, because someone who avoids honing their social skills will not necessarily see the value of building a strong team culture and the importance of developing a compelling mission for change.

In addition, increased responsibility for elements of the tech stack from non-IT lines means that business communication skills are needed for what’s left of the core tech team.

“I think what we’re seeing here is that the lead role for IT is getting a lot wider,” she says. “High-level professionals have to interact with a large number of people who perform business functions that were previously considered technical functions. Digital experts come in all shapes and sizes these days. So interpersonal skills are essential because you have to be a very good influencer. »

4. Develop your presentation skills

Daniel Smith, head of analytics for clothing brand PANGAIA, says IT professionals need to be able to present data and demonstrate to businesses the benefits of digital transformation projects.

“That’s where we’re seeing the skill gap — both in terms of kits and communication skills,” he says. “Even being familiar with something like Power BI can help. Once you start using the tool, it will help you become familiar with all the tools you use. »

Professionals capable of presenting data must then hone their more general skills, especially confident communication style.

Daniel Smith gives an example from his work. He recently spent time with the internal impact team to try and help them meet carbon reporting requirements. After listening to their requests, Daniel Smith was able to define the technical work in a business-friendly format, and he says it’s probably an important requirement for all IT professionals.

The best description I could give them was: “This is a carbon balance sheet, which looks like a financial balance sheet, but it only deals with carbon. And they said: “Yes, finally, someone explained it to us.” And so, for me, it’s those soft skills. Because it is the extraction of this problem from the company that sometimes becomes painful.

5. Adopt the right behavior

Mark Bramwell, CIO at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, explains that despite the general need for technical skills, his department is always looking for key values ​​in new hires.

“Technical skills can be taught, but behavioral skills are very difficult to change,” he explains.

“We are always looking for key elements around our values ​​such as honesty, trust, respect, excellence, collaboration, entrepreneurship. If people can demonstrate and demonstrate these skills, we would like to have such people in our organization and I would like to have them in my team. »

Source: .com

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