10 Critical Skills for Today’s IT Workforce

by Debra B. McCraw | Mar 17, 2017

10 Critical Skills for Today's IT WorkforceEarlier this month, CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux spoke to IT professionals and students at the College of DuPage in Chicago’s western suburbs about the top 10 skills needed by today’s IT workforce. Take a look at the list to find the areas in which you excel and those in which you can focus your professional development.

  1. The Ability to Integrate Technologies: Today’s IT pros need to be able to understand how all the programs, systems and devices in their organization function and how they work together. The more diverse your skill set, the better equipped you’ll be to address any issues that come your way.
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  3. The Ability to Understand How the Cloud Works: With how much organizations rely on the cloud – whether they use their own servers or a vendor’s – it’s critical for IT pros to understand how the cloud works, how to secure it and what regulatory issues their organization needs to be aware of.
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  5. The Ability to Understand Different Programming Platforms: Until now, there has been a clear division between programming and infrastructure, but they are quickly integrating and melding, and the two sides need to be able to communicate and understand each other.
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  7. The Ability to Work Effectively in a Multi-Generational Workforce:Today’s workforce includes four generations, and each one brings unique capabilities. Each also has different communication styles, work styles and work expectations. Rather than clashing and going head to head, employees from different generations should embrace their differences and find ways to learn from each other and work smarter.
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  9. The Ability to Recognize the Value of Soft Skills in Productivity: “This is what separates a good candidate from a bad candidate,” Thibodeaux said. “If you don’t have soft skills, your chances of landing a job with a good company are substantially diminished.” Today’s IT workers need strong communication and collaboration skills to work across functions and with staff at all levels, from entry-level to the C-suite, as well as both on-site and remote employees.
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  11. The Ability to Recognize and Respond to Cyber Imperatives: Every IT role needs some cyber capability, and CompTIA certifications from A+ to CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) have components of cybersecurity. This doesn’t mean that every IT pro needs to be a cybersecurity expert, but they need to understand the process of how breaches happen and be able to recognize vulnerabilities. Check out the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway to see how CompTIA certifications build upon each other and include increasingly more complex security content.
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  13. The Ability to Relinquish Some Degree of Control: With so many programs, apps and innovations out there, departments other than IT have ideas about what tools will help them work best. Today’s IT pro has to be flexible and open to relinquishing some of the control they’ve previously had.
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  15. The Ability to Understand and Develop Data Analytics: Being able to understand analytics tools and how they work is going to become increasingly important. This not only applies to cybersecurity, but also web traffic, artificial intelligence, business intelligence, even analyzing app usage to ensure resources are being used effectively.
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  17. The Ability to Incorporate Continuous Education: IT is constantly evolving, and as an IT pro, you need to stay on top of those changes. Rather than keeping up with everything that’s new and innovative, focus on a handful of things so you can be an expert in cloud or cybersecurity or whatever the topic may be. In addition to learning new skills, you’ll want to make sure to stay sharp on the skills that helped you land your job.
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  19. The Ability to Mentor and Inspire the Next Generation of Workers: Technology is not as attractive to young people as it used to be, so today’s IT workforce needs to communicate why they love what they do and what excites them. To fill the gap left by retiring baby boomers, IT needs more than just young people. “We need to inspire all kinds of people – minorities, women, people re-entering workforce,” Thibodeaux said. “They will listen to people who can communicate that excitement, that love. If we don’t get great people in, we won’t be able to do all the exciting things we want to do.”

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