IT skills are among the most essential in today’s business world. But they may not be enough. Just because you’re great at IT doesn’t mean you’ll forever be considered a valuable business asset. You must be able to showcase a few additional, valuable skills.
Fortunately, many pros are able to balance their vast knowledge of tech while honing other skills essential to the business world. Those who struggle with bridging the gap can learn from such professionals by observing and adopting the following skills.
1. Customer Service
This is number one on the list. Even if you rarely interact with customers, remember that it only takes one bad experience for a customer to reject a company altogether, and it takes an average of 12 good experiences to make up for it. Fortunately, you can help prevent bad experiences by improving your customer service skills.
2. Project Management
With a strong ability to stay organized, delegate, and manage projects, IT professionals can become valuable assets to any business. Without this, it’s very difficult to make the leap from being a regular tech-minded employee to a leader.
An important part of project management is the art of delegation. You might be able to perform every part of a project by yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can do it quickly or efficiently. The best projects come through teamwork, and you can set the example by delegating the work to team members fairly and appropriately.
You need to be able to communicate, and writing is a major part of that. Make sure you can coherently convey your ideas through email, written reports, and the occasional blog post in a style that’s grammatically correct and conveys your personality.
No company can exist without solid, consistent teamwork. How are your team-player skills? Can you communicate effectively with others? Perform your portion of the project independently? Adapt to difficult situations? Listen when others are giving instructions or sharing ideas? The ideal IT teammate will offer respect to other employees while working efficiently alongside them.
6. Adaptive Thinking
In today’s world, the ability to adapt to constantly evolving trends and unique problems is essential. It’s one of the most important elements of running a successful business. Adaptive thinking is necessary if you want to not only keep up but stay ahead of the competition.
7. Basic Finances
You likely won’t be asked to participate actively with your accounting department, but you should know what they’re talking about when they come to you with financial concerns and parameters. You’ll want to have a basic understanding of the terms return on investment (ROI), capital, operating expenses, and depreciation.
8. Strategic Thinking
A large part of your role in a tech department will involve approaching a problem and coming up with the most creative and efficient way to solve it. The ability to approach problems strategically is often considered to be at the heart of improved business processes and growth.
The ability to negotiate is often a key factor in moving forward when facing particular obstacles. Negotiations will often be necessary when multiple groups within a corporation and outside vendors try to come together on a solution. You may not always see eye to eye, so learning how to give and take appropriately can mean the difference between moving forward and standing still on a project.
Now that agile programming is becoming the norm in IT departments, developers and business people are constantly finding themselves working together to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Along with learning the ins and outs of negotiating, IT professionals would do well to learn how to utilize certain collaboration tools and work efficiently with other departments.
You might have an inherent talent for performing IT tasks, but remember that there’s always room for improvement. Assess your possession (or lack) of these skills to determine how you can become a more valued member of your business.