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What top IT skills do you need to ensure you advance in your career?

So, you’ve been in IT for a while. It’s going great, but you’re looking to get to the next step in your tech career. Over half of recruiters (56 per cent) cite the lack of skilled or qualified talent as a key obstacle when recruiting, according to a Jobvite survey. The way to combat this is to learn new skills.

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By improving your IT-specific skills, as well as softer skills, and marketing them correctly, we’re confident you’ll be getting that promotion soon enough. Here’s how.

1) Improve your IT skills

Tech is constantly changing. This means you need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to learning new IT skills. UK job site Monster lists these computer programming languages as in high demand in 2017:

  • Structural Query Language (SQL)
  • Java
  • C
  • C++
  • NET
  • C#
  • Visual Basic
  • SQL Server
  • ASP
  • Oracle
  • PHP
  • JavaScript

For those looking to become a senior web designer, Flash, Photoshop, Quark and InDesign were also listed by Monster as highly marketable skills. If you’re in a job where your employers are willing to invest in you, see if you can persuade them to send you on a course to learn any of the above. Show them how it will benefit their organisation if you know how to use these programs, and they might just say yes.

Don’t worry if this isn’t possible. There’s plenty of e-learning websites around, many of which specialise in tech. Try We Schools, Code Academy, or EdX, which works with universities from around the world to provide some great tech courses.

2) Take a look at your soft skills

These are things like communication and interpersonal skills, and are just as important in getting your first job as they are your last. In fact, 79 per cent of those surveyed by Jobvite said that conversation skills leave a lasting impression on recruiters, while 87 per cent said enthusiasm was important.

This is particularly the case if you’re going for a higher-paid role with more responsibility. Recruiters will want to see that you’re able to lead and inspire, and you will only be able to do this if you can show you have the soft skills required for the role. Essentially, you can know all there is to know about IT, but if you lack interpersonal and leadership skills, it may still be difficult for you to progress in your career.

If you struggle with this sort of thing, start small in your current job. Try contributing more to meetings, or volunteering to lead certain projects. Gradually, you’ll get more and more comfortable taking on these roles.

3) Market yourself

This could involve completely re-hauling your CV so that you highlight all of the different skills mentioned above. Ask colleagues to endorse you and write recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, and practice your interview technique so it’s flawless.

If you’re going for an internal promotion, start making the right noises to the right people. Show them how much you’ve learned since starting at the company and make it clear that you have the skills required to advance. Just remember not to be too pushy – confidence is key, but being over-confident may knock you back.

4) Choose the right role and focus on it

You want to advance in your career – but what does this actually mean? Focus your ambition, consider exactly where you want to end up and which jobs in the meantime will help you get there. Ensure these next-step jobs are achievable. It’s good to be challenged, but if you somehow got into a job that you were vastly under-prepared and under-skilled for, it will cause you more stress than if you were to get there in two jobs time.

It’s hard to know which role you’re right for. Fortunately, the Talent team are here to help you get onto that next step in your IT career. For available job opportunities in IT&T, contact the team today.