Customers depend on IT professionals like never before earlier and have considerably bigger requests. All things considered, they’re the IT individuals, the specialists. IT professionals should give a one-stop shop to the majority of their customers. On the off chance that customers had the specialized know-how, they wouldn’t be required.
With the consistent evolution of Information Technology, IT professionals are expected to keep up with its latest trends and software updates as much as humanly possible. From planning and systems integration to troubleshooting and identifying the correct applications to use, IT professionals hold an essential and intricate role in the development of their companies.
And while these hard skills are important and necessary, IT professionals can’t ignore the skills that also play an important role, both in their success and in the success of their organization. Here are some soft and job skills to keep in mind and commit to building throughout your career as an IT professional.
- Learn the business processes: Being able to spot improvements in the way the business is run is a great technique for gaining points. You don’t need to use fancy tools; just asking a few questions and using common sense will serve you well.
- Understand operating costs versus capital projects. Operating costs are the costs to run the business. Capital equipment is made of assets that can have their cost spread over a time period — say, 36 months. Operating costs are sometimes better, sometimes worse. Know which one is better — it can make a difference between a yes and no.
- Know basic system administration. Understand file permissions, access levels, and why machines talk to the domain controllers. You don’t need to be an expert, but knowing the basics will avoid many headaches down the road.
- Know basic networking: Whether you are a network engineer, a help desk technician, a business analyst, or a system administrator, you need to understand how networks work and simple troubleshooting. You should understand DNS and how to check it, as well as how to ping and trace-route machines.
- Do public speaking. At least once, you should present a topic to your peers. It can be as simple as a five-minute tutorial on how IM works, but being able to explain something and being comfortable enough to talk in front of a crowd is a skill you need to have. If you are nervous, partner with someone who is good at it, or do a roundtable. This way, if you get flustered, someone is there to cover for you.
- Non-Verbal and Verbal Communication: As with many professions, the ability to compose a professional email and the confidence to speak in front of a team during meetings or presentations are crucial. IT is no exception. IT professionals work with other employees on a regular basis to troubleshoot, to manage updates, spearhead software installations, and in some cases, mange a team. When explaining to an employee why his or her computer is having issues or recommending the right application platform for a new business unit to senior executives, IT professionals must be able to communicate effectively, clearly and concisely.
- Patience and Persistence: In addition to problem-solving skills, IT professionals need patience and persistence. Technology can have a “mind of its own” at the most inopportune time, and it becomes the IT professional’s responsibility to identify the current issue(s). Approaching these tasks with patience is key to identifying a solution and persistence is essential once you’ve implemented the solution. Although soft skills are less tangible and not always easily measurable, they do coincide closely with your job skills and your personal attributes. Knowledge and experience are key components to having a successful IT career, but do not ignore the importance of demonstrating soft skills to move your IT career even further.
- Problem-Solving: Usually there are specific steps and resources IT professionals refer to when performing daily tasks. However, IT can also be unpredictable from time to time and professionals are expected to think outside of the box. In an IT world of black and white, identifying the occasional gray areas is just as important, so it’s OK to put on your problem-solving hat when necessary.