IT Careers: 3 Top Skills to Learn This Winter

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Read more about author Jarin Schmidt.

During the pandemic, we have seen an enormous shift in the way businesses are conducting their operations, especially in the IT department. As digital transformation transpired practically overnight, IT teams became even more crucial to an organization’s success. Remote work is not going away anytime soon, and companies need to rethink the skills they want and expect from employees in order to thrive. 

Remote work plays a significant role in what this new “normal” will require, and now more than ever, employers need to be certain that new and current employees have the skills required to do their jobs successfully. Skills like time management and communication are no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “need-to-have.” 

When considering IT careers, there are a few in-demand skills that should be top-of-mind as you prepare for a post-COVID-19 world. 

1. Cloud Computing

Since the start of the pandemic, the transition to online has accelerated. Entire company operations are now on cloud servers like AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. With this shift, cloud computing has quickly become a vital skill for technology professionals and staffing needs. Employees who can manage cloud system architecture are a must-have to keep businesses operating as usual. As companies prepare for hybrid workforces, this skill will continue to be high in demand. 

To obtain a cloud computing skillset, employees or IT professionals can take advantage of online courses or certifications that focus on their specified server. Many different certifications are offered for technical roles that show employees are keeping pace with the changing environment. From developers to engineers to data scientists, individuals can pick the option that meets their evolving skills needs and pass a series of exams to receive certification from their identified server. In doing so, they will learn new skill sets, develop greater confidence and autonomy in their positions, and be a more well-rounded applicant for positions. 

2. Analytical Reasoning

For most companies, data is at the center of their decision-making and strategies. As information is collected through various means, from company websites to social media engagement, businesses need employees with excellent analytical reasoning skills to decipher the data, master analytics-driven forecasting, and provide informed suggestions and decisions to businesses. Those who can interpret the trends they see through data, translate them into business-focused themes, and then communicate them to others in the company significantly contribute to the organization’s success.

There are as many ways to acquire analytical reasoning skills as there are ways to apply them, but it’s important that an IT professional strikes a balance between knowing how to apply analytical reasoning skills situationally and how to use related tools effectively. Professionals can consider enrolling in various programs available to develop descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive skills to ensure trend identification can translate into decisions or recommendations. Vendor certifications such as Snowflake, Domo, and Tableau help validate an individual’s ability to handle specific analytic tools. By combining both angles, an individual will be more well-rounded than focusing on either tools or skill application. 

3. Creativity 

While IT careers mainly focus on technical and analytical skills, creativity often goes unnoticed, though it is vital to company success in many different ways. Creativity is not just for marketing departments that come up with new ways to get an audience’s attention, it is a crucial skill in IT departments as well. From creative problem-solving to creating new software, providing innovative solutions to complex problems is integral in any organization. Especially in unpredictable environments, like facing a pandemic, creativity is a fundamental skill for employees and implementing changes quickly and efficiently. 

There is a perception that verifying creative skills is not an easy feat because creativity can be subjective to each individual. That doesn’t mean creativity as a skill is not achievable. Certifications – such as in creative problem-solving and proficiency in user experience tools like Adobe – validate baseline competency, but the application is where creativity can shine. Competency and creativity go hand in hand, which is why so many employers offer credentials for the application of IT skills within the business or project context. And the great thing about a creative skill is the flexibility individuals have to take this skill in the direction of their choosing. 

Companies and their IT departments have talent management at the forefront of attracting, retaining, and developing their workforce. In fact, in a recent survey, 87% of executives said they face a skills gap in the workplace. Companies will need to find ways to hire new skilled talent that meets these needs alongside upskilling their current workers to close this widening gap. 

Identifying the skills your team must have is the first step in preparing your business for the future. These three skills are just a few that IT professionals should have in their arsenal. Staying on top of the most in-demand skills and ensuring your team has the right competencies to perform will give your business the competitive edge it needs to succeed long-term. 

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