The world has gone digital and companies have no choice but to follow. This was true before the pandemic, but it’s even truer today. A 2020 IDG survey showed that a CEO’s top priority for IT was digital transformation initiatives. Had it not been for the pandemic, IT might have had a few years to complete those initiatives. But the pandemic accelerated those efforts and CEOs are now frantically looking for new employees with the right skills.
If you’re an aspiring IT professional, this is your opportunity. There’s a skill gap in today’s market. Companies are struggling to find people with the right skills to help them with their efforts. So if you learn those skills, you will drastically increase your chances of landing a digital transformation job. These are the eight IT skills that companies are looking for today, divided into the hard and soft skills categories.
Disclaimer: you don’t need to be proficient in all of these. Particularly for the hard skills, it’s impossible to be an expert in all of them and nascent technology continues to be a factor. Dive deep into one or two hard skills and have adjacent knowledge of the rest. Master all the soft skills as best you can. You’ll stand out from the crowd when applying for a digital transformation job if you do.
The 4 Hard Skills You Need
Cybersecurity. Just like the headquarters and physical servers of companies are often heavily protected, their digital infrastructure needs to be protected as well. Particularly for companies that store personally identifiable information (PII), such as credit card numbers, bank account details, and social insurance numbers, cybersecurity is a top priority.
Data analysis. Companies continuously generate vast amounts of data, to the point where it’s hard to know what to do with it. A data analyst understands how companies can dig into their data, interpret it, and transform it into useful insights. This is incredibly important for any company that wants to make data-driven decisions (and that’s most of them).
Machine learning. This is tied to data analysis. Algorithms tend to be much faster and better at processing data than humans. But to verify the validity of the insights those algorithms produce, someone needs to design and understand them. If you specialize in machine learning, that person can be you.
Project management. This is partly a hard skill and partly a soft skill. If you want to get anything done in a big company, you need some knowledge of project management. Even if you’re not inherently a project manager, understanding the various aspects of starting and finishing projects will make you a much more valuable employee to work with.
The 4 Soft Skills You Need
Critical thinking. Companies highly value this soft skill. Critical thinking means defining and solving problems by conceptualizing, synthesizing, and analyzing data. It means you’re able to use your reasoning abilities to come to the best conclusion in any given scenario.
Complex communication. Being able to communicate isn’t enough anymore. You need to be able to generate buy-in across a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders for the projects you’re working on. Plus, more and more departments are turning to IT and engineering to help solve a lot of their marketing, advertising, sales challenges, and more. So you’ll need to be able to effectively communicate across the organization to deliver the best solutions.
Collaboration. Lone wolves don’t get far in companies. You’ll only ever reach your true potential if you work together with your team. You need to be able to listen to others, brainstorm ideas, understand each other’s strengths, take and give feedback, and more. Intelligent CEOs understand that team players are what really drive a company forward.
Flexibility. Nothing ever goes to plan. Deadlines shift, resources change, and external events can alter entire company strategies in a matter of days. Being able to shift course swiftly is a key requirement in today’s fast-paced world. Companies value your willingness to change your ways and learn new skills along the way.
Companies are looking for IT and engineering professionals that can help them with their digital transformation efforts. But today’s labor market does not have enough people with the right skills. If you want to land a digital transformation job, start today and dive into some of the hard and soft skills listed above. Before you know it, you’ll be using those skills in a professional capacity.