Hottest IT Job Skills
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Author:CSC Town Hall
What skills do IT professionals need to have to be successful - and in high demand - over the coming years? How will rapidly growing technologies like cloud computing, mobility, big data and analytics affect IT pros' career paths? How can IT professionals prepare for the future?
- Dan Hushon, Chief Technology Officer
- Daniel Angelucci, Chief Technology Officer for AMEA
- Mike Trusty, Director for Global Talent Management
- Jeff Caruso, Senior Managing Editor
IT Skills in Demand
What skills do IT professionals need to be successful - and in high demand - over the coming years? This CSC Town Hall explored evolving IT career paths, what employers look for in candidates and how to maintain IT skills.
CSC CTO Dan Hushon says that while specific skills come and go, some categories are always relevant. “I think ‘software, software, software,’” Hushon says. “Information integration, service integration, DevOps. All of these key trends are enabled by software to integrate information and to drive value for the enterprise. Whether we’re talking Java or Python, Perl or Ruby, learn a ‘foreign language.’ It will teach you how to think differently and how to solve some of these next-generation problems.”
Companies like CSC regularly scan the market to understand what skills are needed for new engagements. Michael Trusty, director of global talent management, says that Java and .Net skills remain among the most in demand. But the evaluation goes beyond technical skills. “We look at what they’re doing with those skills, how they’re building on them,” Trusty says. “We look at how they show they can bring value to the organization. It’s also about critical thinking, how quickly can they learn?”
“The most valuable employees are the ‘double-deep’ professionals,” Hushon says. “They understand the business requirements and they also have the ability to manifest those in these technology engagements.”
The convergence of technologies like social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) are influencing the skills people need to develop. “There’s a reason why people talk about the SMAC stack. It’s hard to do one without the other,” Hushon says. “The key technique we’re seeing in the industry is information-forward design. It is about bringing information from social networks, information from third-party as-a-service vendors, bringing information out of existing IT services, composing and combining it in analytically rich ways to improve the decision-making process.”
Daniel Angelucci, CSC’s Chief Technology Officer for AMEA, says learning is an important skill to demonstrate. “We look for people who have the skill to acquire new skills. We look for people who understand models. Whether those are programming models or financial models, or data models — they’re able to take those models and translate those into slightly novel situations.”
Similarly, Hushon says, is the ability to understand patterns. “Understanding those patterns, having a strong basis in programming language skills that allows you to manipulate that information in order to distill business insight, really begins to round out the spectrum of skills,” Hushon says. “That means Hadoop and the higher-order analytic tools – not to mention the tools that are probably needed to self-administer these environments – become increasingly important.”
Angelucci says skill diversity is important for IT grads. “The most valuable people in our organization are people with diverse skill sets who can take what they’ve learned and apply it elsewhere. If you’re an IT grad, I’d recommend you expand your skillset with business or finance or even statistics so you can learn how to apply what you’ve learned in IT to develop those double-deep skills,” he says.
Trusty says that to stand out in an interview, focus on the business skills. “Do your research about the company. Understand who you’re talking with, some of their challenges,” he says. “If you can frame in that interview how your skills and knowledge can help that company make money, that you understand the business, that will certainly help you stand out.”
Experienced IT professionals have the advantage of having seen several waves of technology, but Hushon says many could benefit from building collaboration skills. “The new marketplace is focused on distributive collaboration for improved productivity, but also because the smart people you need to solve a hard problem don’t work for your firm or aren’t in the same place you are. Some techniques like joining open source programs and understanding how collaboration occurs in open source meritocracies is important. One way to build those skills is by reverse mentoring with millennials who are incredibly skilled at collaboration,” he says.
Angelucci’s advice is simple. “You have to recognize that you can’t stand still. You have to move forward, acquiring new skills. If you aren’t moving forward, you’re falling behind.”
Other topics discussed:
- Value of personal networks
- College versus certification
- Sedimentation of IT skills
- Moving from a business background to IT