Not in IT? Here are 5 Technical Skills You Still Need to Know About
Because much emphasis is usually put on soft skills, IT-related technical skills are generally not given priority if you are not working in the sector. However, with technology now playing such a vital and pivotal role in every aspect of the industry, you should consider picking up these skills, if it is only at the basic level.
Today, coding is almost as important as literacy, and knowledge of programming languages from HTML to Java can go a long way in helping your application.
While you do not need to be able to actually code – understanding the principles behind it is enough – employers have shown a marked preference for graduates who have an awareness of what goes on “behind the scenes” in applications and websites.
Example of how it is useful for you: If you are in the content creation sector, chances are you will need to publish your creations online. Knowing how to code just makes your job easier and lets your content look exactly the way you want it to on a website.
Computational thinking – or programmatic thinking – is not a new concept, and if you have made use of big data, you have likely engaged in it. Moreover, while it is often thought to have robust links to the IT sector, this methodical and logical way of thinking is becoming increasingly common in industries such as marketing and advertising.
Someone familiar with computational thinking will have the habit of analysing and organising data in a logical way when reacting to a problem. As this method of thinking relies on data analysis and reason to resolve problems, you can start picking up this skill by viewing issues in a tactical, structured and organised manner.
An example of this method of thinking is to jot down all your concerns, separate them categorically, and then think of ways to solve them as soon as possible. After the issue has been resolved, gather data on the most effective and efficient methods that helped you realise your goal.
Example of how it is useful for you: Being able to rationally think through a problem in a logical manner and come up with a probable solution is critical to succeed in a workplace. This is how you can take the first step into a leadership position.
Data management and analytics
The term “big data” is bandied around almost everywhere today, but do you know what it even means?
Quite simply, big data is the colossal amount of data companies generate from their hardware, apps and websites to interpret and use.
Data management skills will be incredibly useful in this area, and can give you an edge over the competition as you will be able to assist companies in turning their big data into information they can use. If you are more proficient at managing big data, you will also be able to help businesses predict future trends.
Example of how it is useful for you: If you are in the digital marketing sector, knowing how to manage data will help you decipher your target audience better and a way for you to quantify the results of your work.
A branch of visual communication, data visualisation helps others understand data with the use of visuals. It includes a solid understanding of a number of things, from the details of the data you are trying to pass on to how the target audience would consume this information, and which visual would comply best with its purpose.
Though it sounds much like plugging numbers into a graphs and charts, data visualisation is more than that, and people with skills and knowledge in this arena can often be found exploring new methods of simplifying and conveying complicated results and trends – culled from big data – to decision-makers and managers.
Example of how it is useful for you: Can you imagine wow-ing your team when you are able to present your ideas visually instead of using text like everyone else?
User experience, or UX, is far more than making sure a product is palatable to the eye. It is about perceiving how design plays a part in customer interaction, as well as improvement; and also denotes an understanding of how customers use and value a product or service, along with their limitations and abilities.
A strong grasp of a company’s brand, aesthetics and usability is also needed, as is an awareness of current concepts and trends.
Example of how it is useful for you: Products that provide good user experiences tend to achieve better success. Only when customers are happy with using your products, then your business will succeed.
If these skills are not of crucial importance to your role at work, there is no need to spend too much time or money on it. You can start with the many free courses and readings available online for you to spend some time everyday learning a new skill. Just take the first step and you will eventually pick it up.