5 Skills Needed For IT Jobs (With Ways To Improve Them)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Information technology (IT) professionals may work on computer hardware or software, data management models and business tools. If you are planning to apply for IT jobs, it is important for you to understand which technical and soft skills are essential to mention during interviews. Knowing more about those skills and how to improve them can help you impress your potential employers during an interview. In this article, we discuss what the skills needed for IT jobs are, discuss how to improve them and outline a few ways to highlight your skills during the job application process.

What Are The Skills Needed For IT Jobs?

The common skills needed for IT jobs include a combination of technical and soft skills. Some technical skills can include a detailed understanding of IT setups, network configuration, coding structures and experience working in hardware management. While these skills help you with programming, repairing hardware components and setting up databases, IT soft skills teach you to maintain an organised and professional work etiquette in the office. For example, showing organisation and problem-solving skills at the workplace allows team members and senior employees to rely on your project management and leadership claims.

5 Important Skills Needed For IT Jobs

Here are a few examples of skills that candidates can develop before applying for IT jobs:

1. Hardware deployment

IT jobs might require you to order, unpack and set up IT systems such as computers, internet routers and equipment for enabling cloud services. Suppose there is a change of components, an equipment upgrade or a routine check-up on the hardware's functioning. In that case, you may be responsible to disassemble and reassemble parts while ensuring the system's core-built stays intact. Based on your team's proficiency in adapting to new hardware, making a reference sheet with technical instructions and the hardware's specifications might improve their output. Consider studying instruction booklets and using your technical knowledge to simplify complex setups.

Related: 20 Jobs In IT To Explore (With Salary Information)

2. Software development

Many IT jobs prefer hiring candidates with sufficient proof of software development knowledge. Hiring managers may prioritise your application if you write efficient and easy-to-follow code which automates processes and takes advantage of coding practices and rulebooks to offer users convenience across industries. Learning different programming languages and staying updated with new coding modules and techniques convinces employers of your coding skill set, helping you get high-paying jobs. Try practicing quality assurance on your code to check for opportunities to reduce load speeds or the code's length. IT companies prefer coders with such experience.

3. Database management

IT experts typically work with databases to add, store or access large datasets when conducting analysis or feeding their software with data. Using code to manage databases lets you work on high-level statistical projects involving a few lines of well-written code to make logical conclusions. Particular coding languages are reserved for updating and accessing databases, granting remote access to team members worldwide. As an IT engineer with experience working on complex databases, you may design database models based on the project's brief.

Related: Important IT Support Skills To Excel In Tech Support Roles

4. Cloud computing

As many IT firms use cloud computing, it is important for you to know how to improve cloud accessibility for data storage and other online services. Compared to traditional servers in older offices, cloud computing lets you leverage a cloud service platform with pre-built code snippets in different programming languages. Invest time in building application programming interfaces (APIs) and practice methods to integrate your creations on the cloud easily. Another topic to learn is development and operations (DevOps). Your ability to save company resources becomes evident when you highlight your DevOps projects.

5. Machine learning and artificial intelligence

As an IT engineer, your job may focus on using statistical models through probability and data modelling concepts for using artificial intelligence technologies. Upskilling yourself in programming languages specific to machine learning projects can involve applying linear algebra and neural network architectures for making predictive algorithms. For instance, if a project requires predicting the housing prices in a specific region, you might accumulate and study large quantities of data to make accurate predictions. If you participated in artificial intelligence projects during your college thesis or internship, adding your learnings and contributions to your resume may help.

Related: Top 8 IT Specialist Skills (And Tips To Improve Them)

How To Improve Your IT Skills?

Following these steps to improve your skills as an IT professional and convince the hiring manager of your expertise in information technology:

1. Write a research paper during your degree studies

As most colleges offering IT courses require students to complete a final project based on their course content, you can create a research paper on your findings. This enables you to interact with teachers and out-of-campus IT experts to gather information on advanced concepts and trending topics in your project's domain. Logging your project's development phase and the problems you solved before deploying the product can help create a high-quality research paper. As submission criteria are often specific to technology-based research, following your mentor's scholarly conventions and additional expert advice may enhance your ability to make accurate interpretations.

2. Apply for an internship

Internships in the IT sector let you apply your learnings to real-world projects and get feedback from industry experts. This prepares you for different jobs in the IT field, whether related to administrative management, database cleansing, software development or hardware research. If you develop a proactive approach and get responsibilities for multiple projects, you can interact with employees from different departments. Apart from growing your connections, the exposure to processes and IT tools implemented in each department might give you practical experience. If possible, try doing multiple internships during your engineering or science degree.

Related: How Much Does An IT Engineer Make? (With Skills And Duties)

3. Join online IT communities to stay updated

The numerous online IT communities continue to converse about common problems developers face and solutions they apply, be it through innovative code or hardware changes. You can ask questions on IT topics you plan to specialise in and paste your code to request modifications to your code structures. Another benefit is how these communities regularly post the latest advancements in the IT industry. For example, you can stay updated about new programming languages and updates to existing ones, backend changes on IT software to resolve bugs and recent innovations by thought-leaders in the industry.

4. Practice application through collaborative projects

Looking for collaborations that let you work with IT experts from different fields and offering them your IT knowledge can strengthen your resume. You may find a part-time or full-time job opportunity in the process. If you are aware of your preferred specialisation in the IT domain, look for relevant projects. This helps you grow your network and learn advanced theories and practicalities about your subject of interest. As many IT jobs may promote you to a managerial role after a few years of work experience, these collaborative projects might improve your project management skills in advance.

Related: 11 Important IT Manager Soft Skills And How To Improve Them

IT Skills In The Workplace

Here are some ways you can apply your IT skills in the workplace:

  • Conduct quality assurance checks. When proofreading code, double-checking hardware attachments or revising any technical documents you may circulate within teams, the employer may begin to trust your work's quality. Try creating a quality assurance checklist for the daily tasks you submit at the workplace.

  • Offer alternative solutions. Giving your input on existing projects and suggesting interns and employees lower in the hierarchy shows your willingness to work as a team and your extensive knowledge of the subject. If you identify a possible change in a software or hardware project that can save time and finances, confidently share your insights with the employer.

  • Use appropriate technical language. Since your IT job may focus on specialised topics such as coding semantics or microprocessor developments, try using technical terms based on your team's understanding. If an employee is unfamiliar with your jargon, explain the terminologies with examples.

Related: What Does An IT Professional Do? Duties And Requirements

Ways To Highlight Your IT Skills When Applying For A Job

Here are some ways to highlight your IT skills during the job application process:

On the resume

You can highlight your IT skills briefly in the professional summary section. Use the skills section to divide them into soft and hard skills. You can also use the work experience section to show how these skills helped you perform your duties during internships, projects and other jobs.

In the cover letter

After studying the skills mentioned in the job description, write a cover letter in the context of the skills your hiring manager prioritises. Include terminologies that relate to these skills and highlight how your contributions to IT jobs applied these skills. Since you can write full sentences in a cover letter, consider adding details of how you improved an IT skill necessary for a project.

Related: How To Become IT Recruiter (With Salary And Qualifications)

During the job interview

When answering interview questions, look for opportunities to highlight your relevant skills. For example, if they ask about difficulties you faced in your IT career, answer with a focus on which skill you developed while overcoming the challenges. You can also describe your strongest skills by articulating how specific instances during real-world projects demonstrated your capability to become an IT expert.

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