The Tech Skills Employers Are Looking for Right Now

The Tech Skills Employers Are Looking for Right Now

Employment services provider Randstad recently conducted a study in partnership with IDG Research, which looked at the shifts companies will need to take to support the next generation of the workforce.

“Having a robust mobile strategy as well as network security are all in line with what we are seeing as in demand skillsets,” says Terry O’Leary, Executive Vice President of Randstad Technologies. “The ability to support mobile, cloud, social and big data are congruent with the skill sets in demand.”

The study also showed these results:

  • Strong communication skills are still at the top
  • Javascript is king around Boston
  • Knowledge of the Agile software development methodology is in high demand
  • Employers prefer candidates who show adaptability and problem-solving skills in prior roles
  • Applicants should express overall interest in the role / company and not just in the particular position as the next step in their career
  • Hiring managers want new hires to have proven ability to interact and work with senior executives and business users
  • Everyone in IT should have a strong understanding of the organization’s other departments and how those groups work

What’s more, the study pointed out employers are having a hard time finding workers with these skills:

  • Javascript
  • AngularJS
  • Python
  • Mobile/IOS application development
  • Cloud

When a company can’t find employers to fill these roles, O’Leary recommends these tips:

  • Look for candidates who have a proven ability to learn a new technology and can quickly put their training into action
  • Select individuals who show an eagerness to pick up new technology
  • Increasingly, clients will hire for drive and personality over someone who has a particular skill, and then the client will train the employee on the skill
  • Look for candidates who know a comparable technology
  • Pair a new hire who is missing a particular technology with a senior-level specialist who can train the individual quickly

In today’s market, if a candidate has many, but not all of the tech skills, don’t necessarily pass them up because they don’t fit every criteria.

“Don’t sit on a candidate who has seven or eight out of 10 desired skills, because you might wait weeks before finding another person who is even close to offering a similar skill set,” says O’Leary. “Be prepared to pick your must-have requirements and focus on those. Most applicants get multiple offers, so from an employer’s point of view, timing is everything. Remember that it feels good to candidates to be pursued or to get quick and continuous feedback throughout the hiring process. Therefore be sure to define your process to applicants and try stick to the timeline without over committing.”

More than ever before, employers need to sell their organizations to talent, adds O’Leary.

“The market is so hot, and IT professionals are receiving multiple offers, so when employers like an applicant, they should express their interest and put effort into making the individual want to work at the hiring organization,” he adds.

The Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report found that 59 percent of CIOs feel it is somewhat or very difficult to find skilled IT professionals today, citing Windows administration, desktop support, network administration and wireless network management as the top areas posing a challenge. In addition, web and application developers and big data and analytics professionals are in high demand by organizations.

The same survey found IT leaders are increasing networking as a way to address recruitment challenges, says John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology.

“Since it’s a job seekers’ market, it’s vital for organizations to sell themselves as a desirable place to work to potential employees, by keeping up with networking events and being top of mind for them is a great first step,” says Reed. “Training internal staff and providing resources and opportunities to hone in-demand skills within your organization is another way to face recruiting challenges. But if the needs are project-based, employers should look to consultants to fill the skills gap within their organization to get needs met quickly.”

Among the top skills employers are looking for, soft skills are in high demand across all levels and skill sets, says Reed, adding “IT leaders are looking to their teams to collaborate with other functions within the organization and to be able to communicate effectively. From a technical standpoint, database development and analysis as well as project management skills are incredibly important across the board.”

For small business owners, the in-demand tech skills are still web-based, says Andrea J. Lee, author of We Need To Talk: Your Guide to Challenging Business Conversations. 

They focus around: How to build a WordPress blog or web site, use Facebook ads, build a huge Instagram following, generate local leads, and of course the ability to close sales using online tools. What’s different now, though, versus 10 years ago, is that there is a lot of choice when it comes to people with these skills, says Lee.

“You can choose a newbie and pay cheaply to test new ground, ascertain if you want to make a new area part of a long-term strategy,” says Lee. “You can choose a highly reputable international consulting firm who has big name credits and invests regularly into breaking new ground, and even creating new tools that they’ll use for you. Or, of course, there are any number of choices between the newbie and the pricey consulting firm.

The skills employers are looking for right now may be similar to what they’ve been for awhile, but the amount of choice they have has grown exponentially, she adds.

Kyle Krzmarzick, Vice President, IT West for RCM Technologies, Inc. (rcmt.com), a provider of business and technology solutions, says hot skills in the market are still higher end development, security and project management. Companies are trying to keep up with cutting edge design and technologies in terms of their “e” business, web pages, b2b Portals, and are looking for the talent to deliver. Also, with fairly recent security breaches making the news, companies are upgrading their internet/web based security, says Krzmarzick.

“Our clients are asking our help with IT security analysis, threat mitigation, and protection,” says Krzmarzick. “With many companies needing some direction around projects like these, project managers are at a premium. PMs with specific experience around these technologies are needed.”

Even non-technical employees need to have technical skills, says Lisa Frame-Jacobson, President of Feature Talent Builders, a human resources outsourcing, consulting, talent delivery, search, training, placement and professional coaching firm.

“Most employers look for individuals that they would say are tech savvy,” says Frame-Jacobson.

This not only includes the basics of proficiency in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and sometimes Access, but also in using social media channels, PDA’s, Client Relationship Management systems/CRM’s, and other software programs including SharePoint and related document management and version control products, she adds.

“Organic and internally developed software and databases occur frequently in companies and being able to adapt to new systems is another part of being tech savvy,” says Frame-Jacobson. “Existing programs and platforms are often swapped out or upgraded yearly, so job seekers and employees need to be able to effectively manage change, own their own learning and be open to constantly evolving technologies – and ones that haven’t yet been developed.”

Written by

Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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