What is it?
In 1958 authors Harold J. Leavitt and Thomas L. Whisler wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review describing a new technology. They called it “Information Technology” for the first time in human history.
Today we refer to it just as IT. IT is the use of computers for creating, retrieving, storing, processing, or exchanging all kinds of information and electronic data.
For better or worse, IT has changed the world. It has an extreme impact on the job markets and the way people work and live today.
What are IT skills?
IT skills are a set of hard (technical) skills used when working with the software or hardware of electronic devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. Some of these devices are industry-specific and others are used as standard equipment by almost every company.
IT skills are important because we use them to work with data and to achieve in-a-minute results that took years and the efforts of many employees not so long ago. Many industries were established entirely on digital technology such as all Internet-based businesses. Many old industries were completely reshaped by IT.
IT helps us to analyze data, store it, and collect it much better and faster than before. It helps us to communicate and cooperate better and to work on enormous projects in a completely harmonized manner.
Basic vs. advanced IT skills
When we talk about IT skills we need to differentiate them into basic and advanced.
Basic IT skills are transferable IT skills that we need to perform our jobs. In other words, they are not industry-specific.
These skills are an expected prerequisite that we need to work with standard equipment such as computers or smartphones. Almost anyone nowadays is expected to know how to write on a computer, send an email, take a photo, enter and retrieve data, process some sort of data, use search engines, and protect his or her privacy.
Advanced IT skills are the ones we use to operate industry-specific equipment or software. These skills are also used to create and maintain software and hardware. This could range from processing data with CAD software to creating an e-shop, shooting or editing Youtube videos, etc.
How to acquire IT skills
Basic IT skills are acquired at Primary school or in our daily life when we use technology for personal needs.
Advanced IT skills are acquired through some type of formal or informal training.
Formal training could be a certified course, school, or university where the student is required to pass an exam to receive a certificate for his achievements.
We also have informal training through online courses, self-education, and trial and error.
Technology develops so fast that in some cases formal training is considered enough by the employer.
Advanced IT skills need to be updated daily through a life-long learning process. Otherwise, they become obsolete and useless.
How to list out IT skills on resume
Quality vs. Quantity: Read the job posting well, then try to research the company that you are interested in for more details. Based on this you could adapt your skills in a manner that is easily digestible by the company's HR officers. Use their terms and phrases and be specific when you list your IT skills. List only relevant, up-to-date skills that are part of the job specification.
Give examples: When you list out IT skills in the SKILLS section of your resume always support them with examples in the WORK EXPERIENCE section. List out your certificates and diplomas in the CERTIFICATES and EDUCATION SECTION to legitimize your claims. You could draw the attention of the HR officer in the RESUME SUMMARY section by listing your IT skills relevant to the job posting and by giving short examples of how you applied them at your previous jobs.
Start with recent experience: Chances are if you work for some years in the IT industry that some of your job experience is already obsolete in terms of technology. To show that your skills are up-to-date, start with your most recent job position in the WORK EXPERIENCE section.
Make your achievements stand out: If you have an achievement that is relevant to the job opening you apply for, then you could emphasize this in a special ACHIEVEMENTS section that will draw the recruiters' attention visually.
Match your IT skills with soft skills: When you present your IT skills make sure to also list out soft skills that will convince the employer you can function and make the best of your IT skills in their organization. Maybe you are the best IT analyst but if you lack communication skills to convey the message then there is not much use.
Small projects: Even if you completed a small project such as setting up a website for a friend and you did a good job you might want to include it in a special PROJECTS section on your resume. A completed project no matter how small will indicate to the employer that you are able to follow through and complete a task. This is especially valid if you used some very modern technology that is not acquired through formal education yet.
Common misconceptions and questions about IT skills on resume."
Include only relevant IT skills: You might have a lot of IT skills but try to adapt them to the job posting and include only those that are relevant. After all, the HR officer only has seconds to decide if your resume is worth it. You do not want her or him to try to find the five skills they look for in a wall of text.
Avoid exaggeration: Only include skills that you master well and you have experience with. Do not list out skills you are interested in acquiring or you are in a process of acquiring.
Specify basic IT skills: They are usually expected by everyone, so some people consider them as fluff. Let the job posting lead your decision on how to include them or if to include them at all. Try to use the language of the employer. A safe bet is to be a bit more specific when you include them on your resume.
Avoid listing outdated IT skills: If you know a programming language that is no longer in use then avoid listing it out. Although they might make for a nice nostalgic conversation with the interviewer you still risk presenting yourself as living in the past.
Top 5 advanced IT skills for 2023
- Cyber security – More and more companies rely on IT systems for management, payments, data storage, product development, and more. They count on secure and stable systems that are not vulnerable to attacks or overload. Big companies realize that data leaks could cost millions and are ready to pay top salaries to IT security specialists.
The digital space becomes more and more regulated and governments require organizations to maintain certain standards like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, CCPA, GDPR, etc.
- System (Network) Administration – Every serious IT company or company that heavily relies on IT needs a system or network administrators. They also can work in cloud administration or IT security. Their job is to maintain and administer stable computer and server networks, install new hardware or software, administer clouds, maintain LANs, WANs, SANs, and VPNs. System administrators also help with troubleshooting and IT questions from the staff.
- QA Testing – To ship a software product it needs to be tested to the limit first. So after the Software Engineers complete their tasks the ones who take the production process over are the Quality Assurance Engineers. They are also very well paid and in high demand on the IT job market.
- IT data analysis – Data is in the center of IT. The analysis of huge amounts of data with the help of software to discover market inefficiencies, production opportunities, patterns of consumer behavior or even to predict environmental hazards in minutes is one of the greatest benefits of IT. People with IT analytical skills are in high demand today. Be it SQL, Statistics, Python, Google Analytics, SeoMoz, Ahrefs, or any specialized data administration software, if you master it well enough you will be employed in no time.
It certificates in high demand in 2023
Certification is not a guarantee that you will get the job but it is a step closer to being employed. Here are five of the most popular certificates that can help you get a job in the IT industry:
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure
- CRISC - Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control
- CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional
- CompTIA Security/Network+
- Cisco Certified Networking Professional (CCNP) Routing and Switching
Top 5 IT soft skills on resume
Communication: Most technical geniuses are usually introverts. This could stop them from using the full potential of their IT skills. An IT worker needs at least average communication skills to communicate with colleagues and superiors about his tasks. If you have very good communication skills then you have a clear advantage over the masses.
Emotional Intelligence: If you are working in the IT industry then chances are that your colleagues are very intelligent people. Working all day on the computer sometimes puts people in danger of alienation, detachment from reality, and social distancing. Emotional intelligence will help you navigate easier in such an environment. You will also understand your colleagues better and know how to approach them.
Self-awareness: Knowing yourself and your feelings and being aware of what is going on will help you create a better bond with your colleagues and avoid some psychological challenges related to IT and remote work.
Analytical thinking skills: In almost all IT related fields such as coding, software architecture, data analysis, quality assurance, cyber security, etc. analytical thinking will be the magic substance that will enable you to use your technical knowledge the right way.
Creative thinking: This soft skill is very important to all IT workers that create something. Thinking out of the box, especially in cases when you might be the first one creating something that did not exist before is essential.
Advanced IT skills and Remote work (Work at Home)
We live in a very dynamic and challenging time. Many people prefer to stay and work from home. IT is enabling this process and the people who can benefit from it are usually the people with advanced IT skills. IT skills can give you more freedom to work from wherever you want and the safety and comfort to work from your home. IT specialists could also enjoy the cheaper life in one country and work remotely in another country for a bigger salary compared to the one paid locally. Nowadays you can apply online anywhere you want as long as remote work is an option.
It skills on resume in a nutshell
Basic IT skills are a must and a prerequisite for almost any job. If you decide to list them out, try to be a bit more specific and this will give you an advantage over other candidates.
Advanced IT skills give you expert power and a great advantage in today's job market. They can enable you to work from any country of the world in a country of your choice. If you are good enough you will also be making serious money and will have a handsome benefits package.
When you list your IT skills on a resume, always try to support them with examples and certificates and pair them with the relevant soft skills. Bet on quality vs. quantity, try to be specific, and adopt the language of the job posting. Avoid exaggeration and outdated technologies.