If you’re in school or making a career transition, moving into the technology field is a good move. There are always well-paying jobs available, and the field is constantly growing. To land a great starting tech job and to move up the ladder, you’ll need to have abilities that set you apart from your peers. Here is a look at five skills that will help you reach your goals.
Foreign Language Competency
The upside of today’s technology is that markets have become increasingly globalized, meaning bigger business opportunities for companies that reach beyond their own national borders. If you have competency–or better, fluency–in a foreign language, you can manage outsourcing and be flexible enough to go where jobs are, no matter where that might be. Fields that particularly rely on language skills, even in technology divisions, include logistics, retail, banking and hospitality.
Current trends in technology are focused on mobile technology (especially building mobile apps) and data security. While it’s great to know programming and the more theoretical aspects of these elements, ultimately to be on the forefront, you need to know about the hardware that will be interfacing with them. According to the professionals of Ohio University who offer a masters in engineering management, having certification, a minor, or dual major involving engineering is a huge asset to those trying to break into the development and analysis side of technology.
If you spend all day on your smart phone or social media you may have developed an unfortunate tendency to substitute text talk and acronyms for real business communication. Although we live in the age of short hand and abbreviation, excellent verbal and written communication skills will be required for a stand-out resume and interview, and the demands will only increase from there. You need to be able to write effective emails, memos and reports, as well as make presentations that explain your work and make technical information accessible to lay people.
Project Management Certification
It used to be that team leaders learned their skills on the job and advanced simply on the basis of seniority or experience. Nowadays, however, top companies want formal training in project management before you even walk through their door to interview. Give serious consideration to getting a project management certification, which shows you know how to develop and track major projects from start to finish.
Knowledge of Business Strategies
For a long while as the technology industry was growing alongside various types of businesses, it was compartmentalized from other work. If you were employed in IT for a Fortune 500 company, it was enough to know about how their computer system ran and okay to be in the dark about everything that went on “upstairs.” Not anymore. Technology is an integral part of every business, forcing the executives and IT brains to come together and collaborate. You’ll be a desirable employee as a computer whiz, but you’ll be a necessary asset if you are an IT pro with good business sense.
Knowing how a business’s technology relates to larger corporate goals is vital to success. Today employees at or near the CIO level are just as savvy about where a company is headed as the marketing department and CEO. If you aspire to that level, it’s wise to start thinking like they do even at the bottom of the ladder or if you’re not employed yet. Keep abreast of the company’s profile in the news, and once aboard, find a mentor who can help you learn more about corporate plans and tactics.
If you can look at the holes in your training and resume now and take action to make yourself more marketable, by the time you are job hunting or seeking a promotion, you’ll be ready. The more highly skilled and unique you can make yourself look to potential employers, the more doors will open for you.