Weekly Word on the Street: Add Soft Skills to Your Resume

by Jim Staats | Dec 21, 2012

Takeaway of the week is that it's good, nay, great to be a developer with an understanding of the agile process, for such a person is quite the commodity. Speaking of commodities, the IT industry as a whole has a sunny spending forecast for the coming year and another resource highlights basic business know-how as a commodity that's key when it comes to job-seeking.

Headhunters: Jobs-a-Plenty for Agile Developers

If you're in the market for a development job and you have a solid comfort level with the agile process, you can basically have your pick of jobs from coast to coast, according to a national head hunting firm.

Research provided by Philadelphia-based Yoh notes the ratio of open agile development positions to candidates with the necessary qualifications is nearly five-to-one, a recent posting in GigaOM notes.

In contrast to more traditional development methods, agile development follows a more fluid approach that  builds across functional teams. It's a development philosophy obviously gaining more interest and popularity, music to the ears of those with field experience.

Yoh, which based its findings on data supplied by CareerBuilders, noted that such technical experience and knowledge was a key focus for employers seeking current development hires.

Also of the utmost importance within such a close-knit agile community is a successful vetting of proposed agile candidates. Bad hires can hurt a company's credibility, according to Yoh.

Among the firms in the market for agile developers are Microsoft, VMware, IBM and UnitedHealthcare.

IT Spending Growth in '13

A new survey brings another round of optimism for prospects in the IT job market in the coming year.

That's one way to view the findings of a survey provided by an IT solutions firm which suggests IT spending will grow in most, but not all, industry sectors in 2013.

At a recent presentation of the findings by Data Inc., reported on in an article on NorthJersey.com, some key numbers were the nearly 70 percent of survey respondents reporting increases in IT spending this year, with a higher number expecting increased spending in the year to come.

Findings from the survey, which included more than 200 IT pros from a range of industries, wasn't all bright and glowing, as some areas which have seen growth recently could see a bit of flattening in the spending curve.

Two such areas highlighted are in infrastructure and support services, sectors that have been the source of significant IT investment in recent years. "Spending is definitely being done in a more targeted fashion, and the mantra seems to be leaner is better," said Susan Leicht, a Data Inc. executive, hitting a tone of caution amid the overall optimism.

Soft Skills Could Pay the Bills

You have the technical expertise, you're equipped with oodles of applicable experience, but do you have good team-building skills or general problem-solving know-how?

These days, career advancement could come down to the most difficult to hard to categorize segment of your talent catalog - soft skills.

That's the topic of a recent article in Computerworld in which the job-seeking IT professional is given tips on how to brush up that resume to bring out the "soft skills" shine.

Non-technical skills are often given second billing in resumes stuffed with the technical skills, industry certifications and various levels of experience, yet a perusal of recent technical job postings indicates such qualities are increasing in importance.

As IT departments take more of a front-and-center role in helping craft business goals, the ability of candidates to move beyond the technical to standard business skills is more important than ever.

Additional skills often sought of today's IT candidates include problem-solving techniques, blog contributions, cross-functional communication skills and overall interpersonal skills.

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