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The Importance of Technical Skills
Many jobs require technical skills.
Especially with the growth in businesses going virtual, employers need candidates with technical skills. Teleworking and e-commerce have created new employment opportunities for candidates with these skill sets.
Hiring managers look for candidates that can provide valuable technical support.
Technical skills bring innovation and create solutions. Not only are they important for the advancement of information technology, but they also seal the deal for some jobs.
They are a special type of skill, known as hard skills, and are acquired by experience in performing physical or digital tasks related to math, science or information technology.
Types of Technical Skills
While many technical skills relate to the IT and software industry, they can apply widely across industries, including construction, logistics and production. Technical skills can include programming languages, tools and operating systems.
Let’s look at the most in-demand types of technical skills:
Computer Programming and Coding
Similar to human languages, programmers use codes and computer programming languages to communicate with computers. Computer programming and coding can vary depending on the position you’re applying for. The most in-demand programming languages are:
Being able to code, and understand multiple programming languages, will make you a strong candidate for many jobs.
Several other key technical skills sought in IT job candidates include:
- Operating systems
- Solution delivery
- Systems analysis
- Technical support
- Customer support
- Information technology
- ICT (information and communications technology)
- Network architecture
- Network security
Productivity Software Applications
Also known as office productivity software, it’s used for producing information. It produces word processors, database systems, presentations, spreadsheets, databases, charts, graphs and digital content. Other productivity software applications include:
- Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms)
Most modern industries rely heavily on data. While it is easy for companies to collect data, they need employees who can organize and make sense of it to create a business strategy. Data analysis skills most valued by employers include:
- Analytical skills
- Big data
- Compiling statistics
- Statistical analysis
- Data analytics
- Data mining
- Database design
- Database management
- Quantitative reports
- Needs analysis
- Quantitative research
Social Media Management and Digital Marketing
This skill set is also known as content marketing. It is mainly used in multimedia jobs such as public relations, marketing, web development and digital marketing. Top skills include:
- Content management systems
- Digital photography
- Digital media
- Search engine optimization
- Social media platforms
- Web analytics
- Automated marketing software
Many jobs need written communication to explain complex things in a way that is easy to understand. You might have to write products for manufacturers or write for web content, press releases or brochures. Other technical writing skills may incorporate:
- Technical documentation
- Information security
- Microsoft Office certifications
- Video creation
- Customer relationship management
- Inventory management
- Information management
- Hardware verification tools and techniques
- Hardware description language
- Productivity software
- Cloud/SaaS services
- Database management
- Human resources software
- Accounting software
- Enterprise Resource Planning Software
- Database software
- Query software
- Blueprint design
- Medical billing
- Medical coding
- Structural analysis
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Mechanical maintenance
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How to Make Technical Skills Stand Out
Technical skills are a valuable commodity to potential employers. Here are ways you can make your technical skills stand out in your resume, cover letter and during your interview.
How to showcase technical skills in your resume
If you are applying for a tech job, use your resume to spotlight your industry-specific skill. To highlight your technical skills effectively, place them in a separate section at the top of your resume, just below your summary and above your professional experience.
To make it easy to read, use a bulleted list of six to eight skills. Avoid using outdated skills or those with no relevance to the role that you are applying for.
Here is an example of a technical skills section for a game designer:
- Object-oriented design
- Database design, implementation and management
- Software development frameworks
- Games and virtual reality software design
- User interface design
- IT Professional Practice Project
- Problem-solving and logical thinking
- Written and verbal communication
For more valuable information on writing your skills, take a look at JobHero’s How to Write a Resume: Our A-Z Guide
Want to jumpstart your resume? Our Resume Builder will guide you through your skill section and provide with industry-specific suggestions that will help you stand out..
How to showcase technical skills in your cover letter
A cover letter is an introductory letter that you include with your resume when applying for a job. If written well, it can create a favorable first impression of you to a hiring manager.
A well-written cover letter will improve your chances of getting a call for an interview. It is an opportunity to show off your credentials as an ideal candidate with the IT skills and technical expertise that the company is looking for.
Follow these six steps to make your cover letter stand out:
Review the job description.
To grab the attention of a busy recruiter, craft your cover letter carefully and address specifics about their job description. That will set you apart because you are targeting the ability to fulfill the employer’s needs.
Make each sentence count.
Focus on how your technical experience and skill sets can contribute to the company’s success.
When writing your cover letter for a tech job, be concise and straightforward. Be clear about your interest in the job. Use the opportunity to show-off your knowledge of the company and the responsibilities of the position.
Do your research.
Research the technical skills that the company is looking for and use that information in the letter to explain your interest in the position. Reference the requirements listed in the job post and highlight your technical skills, work experience, and accomplishments using those keywords mentioned by the employer.
To make your technical credentials and skills stand out, convince the company that you have the knowledge and experience they seek for the advertised position. If you are taking courses to update your technical skills, inform them about it.
Call to action.
Your closing remarks should lead to a call to action. Take the opportunity to reiterate your interest in the job and be proactive in suggesting a phone call or an in-person meeting.
Here is an example of what you can include in your cover letter:
Dear Mr. Clark,
This is regarding the job post for a cybersecurity analyst with Cyber Tech. I’m familiar with your company and would be interested in working with you.
I am an IT specialist with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. I have over five years of experience as a cybersecurity analyst. I have developed solutions to protect IT infrastructure including networks, hardware and software from a range of criminal activity. I have successfully monitored networks and systems, detected security threats by assessing and reporting on threats.
When I’m not working on software development, I continue to update my IT skills and improve my communication and time management skills.
I am excited about this opportunity and would like to discuss how I can use my IT skills and experience as a cybersecurity analyst to add value to your company.
To better understand what to include, check out our professional cover letter examples and be inspired! Instead of starting your cover letter from scratch, try our builder to Create a Personalized Cover Letter in Minutes.
How to showcase technical skills during your interview
A job interview is the place for you to prove to the hiring manager why you’re the best candidate for the role. Use your skills to establish your expertise and distinguish you from other applicants.
The best way to highlight your skills is to provide examples. Speak about results. Be ready to share direct examples and accomplishments that will prove that you are an asset to the company.
By talking about how you used your skills, you’ll show the hiring manager how you can fit into the role at hand. Instead of bragging blankly about your skills, mention how your technical skills and experience will positively impact the company.
Interviewers ask technical questions to learn your skill levels and how you will fit into the company’s culture. They will also be looking for what your thought process is when solving problems.
Here are a couple of common technical questions and suggested answers that may come up during an interview:
What coding language are you most comfortable with?
I have worked with a number of of coding languages, such as C++, Visual Basic and C#. However, I have six years of experience with Python, its large library of toolkits and integration with other programming languages.
What programming language would you recommend for client-server applications?
To enhance performance, increase storage and effectiveness I recommend using Java. The application written in Java can run on any platform that supports Java. It supports multithreading and is a secure programming language.
To prepare for your interview, review JobHero’s most commonly asked interview questions.
How to Improve Technical Skills
There’s no question that software programming is a hot career right now. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. These workers will be needed to respond to an increased demand for computer software.
Because this is such a competitive career, you should continue to stay up-to-date with the latest advances. To improve your technical skills, enroll in technical classes, workshops and seminars. This way you have the opportunity to learn directly from a subject-matter expert.
Another great way to improve your technical skills is to network. Follow technical bloggers and programming professionals. This offers an inexpensive way of keeping up with the latest technical advancements and trends. They can help to improve your technical knowledge, skills, insights into innovation and provide you with tips on how to manage complex software applications.
Take online tutorials: There are many free options available. It will help you learn multiple software applications. The more experienced you are with existing applications, the easier it will become to learn new ones in the future.
Volunteer on technical projects: Volunteering is always a great way to gain experience and development. Search opportunities in your community to volunteer on technical projects. This will allow you to gain valuable experience.