The tech industry changes rapidly, and that means job postings do too. Igloo, a Canadian company specializing in intranet software, recently completed a study of IT-related job postings on Indeed. The study is full of information that any motivated IT professional needs to know.
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Technology has become a necessary part of business, and most industries have had a hard time keeping up. While this puts a strain on them it means the job market is ripe for the picking for IT professionals. With nearly 70 percent of businesses reporting difficulty filling IT jobs your chances of finding the position of your dreams are high—but don't let that be an excuse to not develop the right skills.
What employers want
It's easy to become complacent in your professional life. You might decide you know enough programming languages, or that you really don't need to develop a particular skill any further. There's nothing wrong with that if you're content to stay where you are. If, however, you're motivated to grow your career you need to know what's in demand so you can become an expert.
The Igloo study has a clear leader when it comes to desired IT skills: API programming. Knowing APIs is in such high demand that it appeared nearly 50 times more frequently than the next closest: a degree in computer science.
SQL, Java, and Linux round out the top five most highly desired skills, but make no mistake: API is the leader by far.
The days of the surly IT professional are at an end
Don't assume that your tech skills are all an employer wants: soft skills are a fundamental part of an IT job too. Gone are the days of the BOFH; modern IT professionals of all stripes are expected to be tolerable to be around. Don't let those interpersonal skills decay: great tech skills alone won't be enough to land you better pay or a CIO position.
SEE: 10 cities in the United States where software engineers can get paid top dollar (TechRepublic)
Igloo found that customer service, relationship building, and strong written communication were all frequently mentioned in IT job postings, and with good reason. IT professionals are (like it or not) going to have to deal with users, communicate between departments, and explain things clearly and simply to people who aren't IT professionals.
Yes, you can learn to communicate better, write clearly, and tolerate all the questions you get from non-technically minded people. It might require going a bit outside your comfort zone, but you'll be amazed how quickly that zone extends once you start stretching it. Get out there and help put the Nick Burns stereotype to rest.
Job titles that employers are searching for
Wondering if your particular skillset is in demand? Here are the top job titles broken down by different specialties.
- Engineers: Software Engineer is the most in-demand title, beating out Network Engineer and Security Engineer by four and six times, respectively.
- Managers: Project Manager is by far the most popular CXO job title. In fact, around one in 100 Indeed job postings are for IT Project Managers. Why so many? According to the study it's the lack of good soft skills among tech employees.
- Analysts: Surprise: it's Business Analysts that employers are looking for. Sure, security and systems analysis is important, but tech is integrating with business in new and cost-saving ways all the time. Business Analysts are going to save companies money in the future.
- Systems: Systems Technicians are the ones in demand, as opposed to engineers and admins. According to the study it's all about how the job descriptions are worded. Companies want Systems Techs who can follow instructions to set things up and keep them running.
- Support: Technical Support is the biggie here: Support Specialist and Desktop Support can't even touch the demand for Technical Support specialists. These are your entry-level helpdesk jobs. Great for those just out of school or those who want to get into the industry without a computer science degree.
There are a lot of particulars in the study that I simply don't have room for here. Read the whole thing to find out more.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Everything's coming up API. If you're not familiar with programming API interfaces it's time to learn: it's by far the most highly sought skill from Indeed job posters.
- Don't neglect your soft skills. It isn't enough to be technically proficient anymore: there are plenty of people who know their way around a network, database, or coding language. What there aren't a lot of are skilled people who are also great communicators, listeners, and who have positive attitudes. These are learnable too.
- Never stop learning. The IT industry changes fast, and those laurels don't support much weight for long. Keep up on the latest trends and developments in the industry to stay marketable—and promotable.
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