For recent graduates and anyone entering a new IT field, it’s important to know what it takes to get hired — and what you need is more than technical skills. CIOs (Chief Information Officers) looking to add to their IT teams want candidates who are not just technically competent, but also have a good grasp of the crucial soft and entry-level skills every professional needs for success.
The Society for Information Management (SIM) recently surveyed top IT executives to find out what they’re looking for in entry-level tech candidates. Here are six skills you need to land a great IT job from the start.
- Problem-solving skills. This skill is the core of the IT profession. Regardless of the industry, specific responsibilities of the position, or size of the organization, an IT pro’s job is to solve problems. You’ll use problem-solving skills whether you’re fixing a desktop, linking multiple systems together, or engineering a process from the ground up.SIM found that 52 percent of CIOs seek entry-level candidates with this soft skill.
- Ethics and tolerance. A casual glance at the modern business environment might make the case that ethics has no place in the corporate world. From increases in plagiarism to Enron-level scandals, ethical behavior could appear to be optional for success — but in most organizations, that’s simply not the case. What’s more, an increasingly diverse workforce means there is little room for employees who aren’t tolerant of different cultures, lifestyles, and social backgrounds.Around 51 percent of CIOs seek candidates with strong ethics and tolerant viewpoints.
- Oral and written communication. You may be the most technically skilled professional at your level, but if you can’t write a clear report or make a compelling presentation, you’ll struggle in the workplace. Today’s IT pros are expected to come out of the back room and engage effectively with co-workers, business partners, and supervisors — making strong communication skills a must for any IT position.Nearly half of CIOs, at 47 percent, seek entry-level IT candidates with good communication skills.
- Collaboration and teamwork. No matter what type of entry-level IT position you’re seeking, you will be part of a team on the job. All tech professionals should be willing and able to collaborate with peers, other departments, vendors, business partners, and the C-suite. The ability to work comfortably in a team is sought by 45 percent of CIOs hiring for entry-level positions.
- Business analysis. Technology is no longer optional for the workplace — it’s now an integral part of nearly every organization. In order to successfully leverage the technology you work with, you need to have a good understanding of the industry you’re applying to, whether it’s pure IT, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, legal or consulting. The ability to view technical work in terms of industry-specific benefit is sought by 22 percent of CIOs for entry-level candidates.
- Functional area-specific skills. Tech professionals are all required to have a grasp of basic IT skills, such as knowing how to code or manage a database. But in order to land a good entry-level position, you need additional specialized skills. IT is a diverse field with nearly infinite possibilities for specialization — and having a specific set of skills will give you a competitive edge in your job search. Around 21 percent of CIOs are looking for entry-level candidates with functional area knowledge.