Industry Insights

Skills you Need to Succeed in the IT Industry

Daniel Robertshaw
By: Daniel Robertshaw
Feb 17, 2021 • 6 min read

Skills you Need to Succeed in the IT Industry – Let’s Talk Tech.

Informational Technology (IT) is a large, booming industry that continues to evolve and change as technology grows. Because of the size of the industry, IT has given birth to a countless number of positions, all with different qualifications and responsibilities. There are many skills that will help you succeed in the IT industry! Computer support specialists, software designers, application developers, product owners, business analysts, technical writers, and many more jobs utilize these traits.

Although there are many individual positions with different specifications, IT focuses on one common denominator: Technology. Employees in the IT field tend to be literate in technical language, up to date with the latest software, eager to learn, and able to adaptable to a constantly changing field.

Because of the large range of careers in the IT industry, this guide won’t focus on one specific job. Instead, read through as we list the top skills needed to succeed in the IT industry as a whole. These are the types of traits that are needed throughout the IT industry and can help you transform your career, no matter what field you specialize in!

laptop on brown wooden table

Technical Knowledge

First and foremost, if you’re working in IT, you’ll need to have some sort of technical acumen. You will be working with computers and software all day, every day. So, being passionate about tech is a must!

Having a good understanding of both the business itself and the technical side of things is vital in progressing through the field. You’ll be able to potentially offer your help to coworkers in need or display your knowledge of products to clients. Management takes notice of those types of employees.  

A successful employee is one that has both technical and industry knowledge about their work.

Passion for Technology

The saying goes, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,” and this is true for jobs in the IT industry, too. You’ll be spending most of your days at a cubicle working on a computer. If you don’t love what you’re doing, this can get tedious quickly and lead to burnout. You’ll have to have a deep love for everything technology when working in the IT field. Good attitudes are also infectious. If you visibly love what you’re doing, you’ll spread that on to other employees around you.

A successful employee is one that is passionate about the work they do.

Open to New Technologies

Technology is rapidly improving and changing. As an individual working with the latest and greatest tech, being able to adapt to new and improved software is essential. Successful IT professionals will always keep up with rapidly changing technology around them. To build upon this skill, take programming classes or get a subscription to the tech newspapers or blogs. Stay ahead of the curve by keeping up with what is going on in the tech world. This way, you will be in the loop about any new technology systems that your company may use.

A successful employee is one that stays up to date with the latest technological advancements and can grow as they change.

selective focus photography of woman using laptop computer

Adaptable

Don’t expect to only work on one thing, on the same schedule, each and every day. There are no certainties in IT. Your schedules and work will change on a daily basis. Most IT workflows are done in 2-week blocks, meaning that you have 2 weeks until your next set of tasks. Because of this, work is fast and unpredictable. You have to be able to adapt to any quick changes. You may be asked to work late or come in early to work on urgent problems. There may also be times that you’re asked to work weekends, depending on the seriousness of the issue. Be ready to expect the unexpected!

A successful employee is able to work in an unpredictable environment and adapt to on-the-fly changes.

Communication Skills

Communication is an essential skill in any field or industry. Being able to effectively communicate your thoughts to teammates, clients, or bosses will always be a skill that sets you apart from others. In the IT field, you will be communicating with a large range of people. Depending on their position, people may be more or less technically inclined than you are. Communication between both technical and non-technical positions is crucial for the success of a company. As an IT employee, you’ll need to be able to communicate technical jargon and translate it into easy-to-understand language to non-technical employees.

A successful employee is one that can communicate effectively with their co-workers and speak technical jargon in easy-to-understand language.

Creativity

The name Information Technology seems to allude to analytical and technical skills being the only type of skills that are valuable. This, however, is not the case! A common theme in IT work is developing solutions to certain problems, whether that be faulty computers, inefficient processes, or bad user interface, these problems require solutions. It takes a creative mind to be able to brainstorm solutions to these different issues. You can be analytical and technical as much as you want, but having the creativity to look outside of the box and come up with unique solutions sets you apart from others.

A successful employee is one that can use creativity to their advantage in finding unique solutions to problems.

skills you need in the IT industry

Able to Stay Organized

Nobody likes seeing a desktop filled with scattered files, folders, and applications. In IT, you’ll be working with many different programs and documents, so it’s important to keep everything organized, and in places you’ll remember. It’s not an efficient use of your time to be scavenging through hundreds of documents to find the one you need. It’s also common to work on multiple projects. Having multiple tight deadlines, you’ll want to make sure you know where all your relevant files are to meet benchmarks and expectations. Having a calendar with due dates is a great way to keep track of your work.

A successful employee is one that keeps their workplace clean and organized.

Eagerness to Learn

In the IT field, you will never know everything. There is so much to learn and do that there will never be times where you know everything. The technology sector is constantly evolving and changing. Each year, older tools are considered outdated and replaced by new and upgraded versions of them. Because of this, employees must stay on top of the game and be ready for any technological changes. Being eager to learn new tools and systems can set you apart from others, put you ahead of the curve, and ensure you’re ready for emerging new technologies.

A successful employee is one that is always eager to learn new tools, systems, and applications.

Discipline

In the IT industry, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a large range of employers, including government agencies. While working for these types of clients, you’ll be trusted to work with confidential material that must be kept private. As an IT professional working with this material, you must be disciplined to prevent any possible leaks of confidential data. Keeping your passwords secure and double-checking everything before sending them out are the minimal steps you can take to become a more disciplined employee. The first line of defense to keep a company secure is preventing human error.

A successful employee is one that is disciplined in keeping their company secure and safe.

skills you need in the IT industry

Able to Ask for Help

Everybody needs help at one point or another. In the IT field, chances are that you’ll be working in complex systems with complicated technical solutions. Asking for help on a task and eventually getting it right is infinitely better than not asking for help and then getting it wrong. Especially in your junior years, you’ll want to be asking lots of questions so you can learn as much as you can while you’re young. While asking for help may make you feel useless, it’s actually encouraged and can lead to fewer mistakes in the future. There’s no shame in asking for help from those with more experience.

A successful employee is one that understands the importance of asking for help.

Team Player

As with most industries, being able to collaborate with your co-workers is particularly important. No matter what your role is, being able to work in a team is an important skill to have. Being a team player can mean helping co-workers out when they’re in need or even just sharing knowledge. Helping out others grows your reputation among co-workers and management. The more you’re willing to help out others, the more they will be willing to reciprocate in the future. Being a good team player is also valuable for knowledge sharing. 

A successful employee is one who helps out employees in need and actively shares knowledge among the team.

Patience

For many jobs in the IT field, you’ll be working with stress-inducing processes, tedious systems, and demanding clients. With all of this, you can very easily succumb to the stress if you’re not patient. Work in the IT field can be demanding. Both systems and clients can demand a lot from you, so it’s important to remain patient and calm in stressful situations.

A successful employee is one who is able to remain patient through stressful situations.

skills you need in the IT industry

Skills You Need in The IT Industry – Overview

The IT field isn’t for everybody. A fast-changing, collaborative environment where you need to stay on top of the latest and greatest technological advancements may sound great for some, but not for others. However, if it is for you, you’ll find yourself in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Because of the demand for IT jobs, you’ll find yourself looking at high-paying salaries with strong job security. Before getting into the industry, read through the skills in this guide and determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. Work on strengthening your weaknesses and maintaining your strengths, and you’ll be on your way to having a successful IT career!

Have you had experience in Information Technology? What other skills have been useful for you in the IT industry? Let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear from you.

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