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If you’re interested in getting a job in tech but not sure where to start, a great strategy is to look at job listings—mountains and mountains of job listings.
That’s what I did, and I noticed quite a few skills that appear on a majority of them, especially when I looked at somewhat related job roles, like data analyst and marketing manager or front end developer and back end developer.
Even jobs in the tech space that don’t seem all that related will have shared skills. Marketers need to know how to analyze data, and web developers need to understand how data might be used by other teams (plus figure out the best way to integrate data into their sites and apps). Web designers need to understand how WordPress works and how to use it, and so do bloggers (obvs!). Customer support people need to have problem solving skills, just like web developers do!
(Psst! Read more about all those tech careers here: 41 Job Titles in Tech.)
Noticing a pattern here?
Things like data analysis, problem solving skills, and even more specific skills—like having some degree of familiarity with WordPress—are going to keep cropping up in job listings regardless of your path in tech. The great thing is that you probably already have a ton of the skills you’ll need (or can learn them in a weekend), you just need to make sure to call them out when you’re applying.
Once you know which in-demand skills you already have, you can figure out what to learn next to prepare yourself for the job market. I looked at tons of job listings and found these 12 most in-demand skills that you probably already have, plus 5 more you can learn next to really level-up your job hunt.
Completely new to tech? Not sure where to even begin? Check out our FREE 10-Day Coding Bootcamp. It’s perfect for beginners!
Skills You Already Have
1. Ability to work with a team
It doesn’t matter what your job title is in tech, you’re probably going to be working with other people on a team. At Skillcrush, everyone is part of a team. Teams tackle projects together, as well as on their own. It’s vital to be able to work with others effectively and efficiently.
But most jobs are like that, in one way or another. Even school is like that (group projects, anyone?), so you already have some experience working with others!
2. Problem solving skills
Customer support = problem solving. Web development = problem solving. Web design = problem solving. Marketing = problem solving. It does not matter what kind of tech job you’re looking for, you’re going to need problem solving skills.
Virtually every area of tech focuses on coming up with solutions to problems. That might mean figuring out how to get more leads or customers in marketing. Or it could be how to make code work the way you want it to as a developer.
But you solve problems every day! When you’re getting ready to apply for a tech job, think through a handful of times you’ve solved problems professionally (at work, while volunteering, or even in school) and be prepared to talk about them. You want the hiring manager to walk away from the interview feeling like you are ready to get out there and fix their biggest problems.
3. Planning and organizational skills
So much of tech revolves around being organized. From keeping your code neat and tidy to staying organized on a big project with multiple team members, you have to be able to keep everything in order.
The same goes for planning. So much of what you’ll do in tech depends on being able to plan ahead and anticipate what you’ll need tomorrow or next week, and how other members of your team (or other teams entirely) need to work together to accomplish goals.
When you’re interviewing, talk about any more complicated, multi-step, or long-term projects you’ve worked on to show off these planning and organizational skills.
4. Data analysis
A lot of jobs in tech revolve around data. The obvious ones are data analyst or marketing analyst, which both directly involve analyzing data. But developers also need to know how to analyze the data they’re dealing with, so that they know how best to work with it.
And even in jobs like content marketing or customer support, you’ll be dealing with some data on a regular basis, even if it’s just things like how many visits your blog post got compared to the number of email leads it generated, or the overall satisfaction ratings of your customer support contacts.
If you excelled in statistics in high school or college, you’ll probably have no problem with data analysis. But even if math wasn’t your strong suit, drawing basic conclusions from data is more common sense than anything else.
Showing a future employer that you’ve used data to make decisions on your personal blog, at work in another industry, or even to do something like grow your Instagram account can go a long way.
5. Report creation
Good reports are a big part of tech. You’ll share reports with your colleagues on everything from sales to how well a website is performing to a plan for future projects or goals.
But creating reports is fairly simple. Just gather your data, and then present it in a way that makes it easy for others to understand and get the value out of it that they need. Anyone who’s worked in an office before is likely familiar with writing (or at least reading) reports.
The key is in showing that your reports help people do their jobs better and don’t just take up time!
Tech changes fast. What you learned six months ago might not apply next month. Or at least it might have changed significantly.
If you work at a startup, especially, things change all the time. Your job description when you get hired might take a complete 180 three months down the road.
You need to be comfortable changing and adapting as your company and the industry at large change.
7. Research skills
Are you a master of Google? Are you great at finding information almost instantly (I call it Google-Fu)? If you are, then you’re already one-up on a lot of other tech job seekers.
Being able to find the information you need to do your job is a key aspect of working in tech. The tech industry is constantly changing and the only way to keep up with it is to research things as you need them.
I’ve heard of companies who won’t even hire someone who fails to look up answers or solutions on Google!
8. Project management skills
A lot of jobs require you to manage projects, and tech is no different. If you’ve spent time as a manager, you probably have these skills already, and they’ll carry over well to the tech world.
Project management skills really encompass a lot of other skills, including the ability to multi-task, leadership skills, effective communication skills, being detail-oriented, and negotiation skills.
9. Emotional intelligence
Your emotional intelligence—your ability to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings—is a key skill in tech. This kind of intelligence makes you better at working with other people.
Emotional intelligence includes things like self-awareness (knowing yourself and your own emotions), motivation to get things done, being able to control your own emotions and impulses, empathy with others, and general social skills.
In a field that gets a reputation for involving more interactions with machines than people, showing that you have a knack for interpersonal relationships is actually a huge advantage.
10. Process improvement expertise
Are you good at making things more efficient? Are you good at breaking down a task to figure out where it can be made better? These are super valuable skills when it comes to tech.
If you’ve made processes more efficient or effective at a past job, be sure to highlight that in your tech resume.
11. How to use WordPress
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, with roughly two thirds of the CMS-based websites in the world built on WP. Knowing how to use WordPress is vital to almost any tech job.
12. Photo editing/Photoshop skills
Who hasn’t edited photos on their smartphone? If you’ve ever used Instagram, VSCO, or any other photo editing app on your phone, you’ll be glad to know that kind of experience can translate easily to tech.
If you’ve spent time using Photoshop, those skills are even more valuable to potential employers. Photoshop is used for more than just photo editing; it’s also often used for website mockups and other graphics.
Skills to Learn Next
13. User interface design
User interface (UI) design is the practice of designing the visuals that make up a website, as well as how the user should interact with the website. Things like the website’s layout, the color palette, the buttons and menus, the photos and other graphics used, and similar items are part of the interface design.
You can learn UI design in our 3-month Web Design Career Blueprint course!
14. Web architecture and development frameworks
Frameworks (and libraries like jQuery and boilerplates like HTML5 Boilerplate) make design and development way more efficient by giving you a starting point that eliminates a lot of the repetitive setup tasks every project requires. They also save you time by giving your site or app a (usually highly-adaptable) architecture to work within. And some have additional functionality included or that can be added easily, like forms, image slideshows, and more.
15. Statistical analysis and data mining
Tech is full of data. I already mentioned data analysis above, and statistical analysis takes that one step further to see trends and patterns over time. This is a key skill that anyone who works in product development, data analysis, or marketing needs to have.
Data mining is the skill you’ll need to actually gather and collect the data you use in analysis. You can get started in analytics programs, but it goes beyond that. Knowing where to find other sources of data that are relevant to your work is key. And it can even carry over into things like user interviews and more direct methods of collecting data.
Even web developers should be familiar with things like data mining. You may have projects that need data that isn’t readily provided. Knowing where to get that data (there are tons of free, open source data collections online) and how to use it is vital.
16. Full-stack web development
Full-stack web development means you’re familiar with the development process from design to finished, functional website. It means you can jump in at any point in that process and figure things out.
Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re an expert at every step along the way. But it does mean that you’re familiar enough with how each step works that you can dive in and work on any part (though you might need to refer to tutorials or cheatsheets from time to time).
17. Content Management Systems dev
Content management systems (CMS’s) are used by the vast majority of complex websites online. They make it possible to update content on a website without having to dive into the code every time to update the site’s entire structure (because they do that for you automatically, to put it in layman’s terms).
The most popular CMS is WordPress. If you’re trying to decide on a CMS to learn, WP is a great place to start. Granted, picking a less-popular but still widely-used CMS (like Joomla or Drupal) can make you very valuable among a smaller target client base.
Knowing how to develop themes and plugins for your CMS of choice is a very valuable skill whether you want to work for someone else or freelance. There are huge markets for premium themes and plugins, and pretty much any dev agency you apply to will require some CMS knowledge. Companies hire CMS developers to work internally on their websites, too.
If you’ve got at least some of the skills here, you might already be ready for your dream job in tech. And by learning the ones you don’t know (especially the more advanced ones), you’ll be totally qualified to land a job as a front end developer, web designer, WordPress pro, or tons of other great career paths!
If you’re completely new to tech and excited to get started, check out our FREE 10-Day Coding Bootcamp. You’ll get daily lessons that teach you all the basics you need to know to get started studying for your dream tech job!
Cameron is a staff writer here at Skillcrush, and spends most of her time writing and editing blog posts and Ultimate Guides. She's been a freelance writer, editor, and author for going on a decade, writing for some of the world's leading web design and tech blogs. When she's not writing about design, she spends her time writing screenplays and making films (and music videos for rock and metal bands!) in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.