Say what? You need more than killer tech knowledge for tech jobs?
It's true, it's not just your ingenious technical mind that employers are after. Though they certainly will want to harness your extraordinary brain power, they also need to look at the bigger picture.Like what other skills you have for example. Whilst some tech jobs may require hardcore techies who always focus on the job at hand, most require a broader skill set. There are some surprising non-technical qualities that are necessary for career progression in tech.
And having these extra skills will make you a well-rounded employee, set you apart from the competition and help your career progress. The reality is, there's a really human side to tech jobs that people often overlook.
So, what kind of personal skills are useful for a job in tech? Let's explore some core competencies below so that you can land your dream role. These general employable skills will come in handy for most jobs, so pay close attention…
1. Emotional intelligence and empathy
No matter what job you do, at some point you're likely to come into contact with other humans - and soon, probably robots too, but that's another story. Most tech jobs require developers and analysts to work in teams and therefore emotional intelligence is important. You need to be able to read other people and adapt accordingly.
Showing empathy towards others also means your colleagues are more likely to warm to you and go the extra mile for you. Employers want to see a level of understanding of other people's needs and tend to shy away from those who are very self involved.
Strangely, people often see techies as people who aren't very creative. Which is odd, because driving technology forward requires a great deal of innovation. Like, a huge amount.
When you think of some of the most impressive tech giants - they're all super creative. Steve Jobs? Check. Mark Zuckerberg? Check. Satya Nadella? Check. There's also Joanna Baroness Shields whose creative skills know no bounds. She's worked as Managing Director for Google, run Facebook in Europe and was CEO of tech City UK - all roles which require a huge amount of creativity and constant innovation.
Can you come up with new ideas and think independently? Are you excited by the opportunity to be constantly innovating? Employers are always impressed by those who are thought leaders and have a burning desire to come up with the next big idea.
3. A passion for learning and growing
Companies want to employ people who are willing to learn and grow. People who take every opportunity to develop and better themselves. This is especially crucial in the field of technology because the learning never stops. Want to advance your tech knowledge? Check out one of our online IT courses.
Technology advances at a shockingly fast rate, which means continuous study, learning and development is needed for career progression. Take Satya Nadella - Microsoft's CEO - for example, who is constantly reading and focuses on self development. 'Most of my reading is economics and society. Then there's AI and general business.'
4. Taking feedback on board
In any role, you'll need to be able to take feedback on board. Sometimes we aren't happy with the feedback people give us, but learning to accept it and use it to our advantage is all part of our journey.
If you're an IT analyst and you can't accept any negative feedback, you won't progress very far. We can't always get it right, but it's important that when we do make mistakes - everyone is human - we learn from them in a constructive way.
5. Communication skills
There's a bit of a stereotype in the IT world. Techies can have a reputation for lacking strong communication skills. This is an unfair judgement, because to do well in a tech job - or indeed most jobs - you need to be able to communicate effectively. To have discussions with colleagues, to keep your boss in the loop and to use your communication skills to work effectively as part of a team.
Your team will no doubt be faced with technical issues that need to be solved, and being able to communicate and deal with these problems is all part of your role.
6. Self awareness
'Conscious knowledge of one's own character and feelings.'
When we work in any job we are tested in lots of ways. Being aware of your thoughts, emotions and actions is a vital skill. We're faced with so many different situations, and we need to recognise how we should react to each.
If Bob, Head of IT, drives you up the wall, you'll need to keep your reactions under control and notice when he's pushing your buttons. Self awareness is also about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and being able to challenge and question your inner critic.