The majority of industries today rely on technology in some capacity. For many companies, finding innovative ways to embrace tech tools is key to gaining a competitive edge. Indeed, as our digital landscape continues to develop, businesses failing to keep up are in significant danger of failing entirely.
It’s a no-brainer, then, that gaining a solid set of tech skills can be key to maintaining job security as well as flexibility. When your skillset is strong enough, you can almost write your own ticket, including working from your home office rather than a corporation’s. Yet, it’s not always clear where you should focus your efforts in this regard. The term “tech skills” covers a broad range, after all.
Let’s take a look at what new tech skills can be worth putting your time and energy into right now. What abilities are most valuable whether you’re keeping your place in your current industry or looking for a new career?
The prevalence of technology in business offers some distinct advantages. Companies embracing this fully can see a boost in their operations, organizational practices, and customer-facing channels. Unfortunately, this level of reliance on technology can also present points of vulnerability. Cybercriminals are finding creative and agile ways to disrupt businesses and steal data. You can become an invaluable asset by taking the time to gain expertise in building and maintaining robust cybersecurity protocols.
You should approach this by learning what protocols are most in need for the industry you’re targeting. Look at what threats are most prevalent. If you want to work in the professional service sector, you’ll find they’re the primary target for malware attacks. For careers in event planning and mobile retail, study encryption protocols for cashless technology. If you’re focusing on larger companies with internal databases and systems, you could find it useful to gain qualifications in penetration testing and ethical hacking.
However, you need to make a long-term career plan to be successful in this field. The threats for each business will keep evolving. Cybercriminals are continually exploring new approaches to gain access to systems. Your skills training, therefore, can’t be static. You should commit to staying up to date with the tactics and points of vulnerability. Educate yourself on systems analysis so you can identify potential vulnerabilities when new technology is adopted. This is likely to involve regularly taking refresher courses and gaining certifications in relevant areas.
It might sound strange, but your tech skills development shouldn’t just be focused on the hard technical side. Knowing how tools function is always a good starting point. But also taking time to understand how tools can best be utilized and adapted for certain industries can make you a real asset. One of the most important ways this occurs in the business landscape is by enhancing the collaborative efficacy of staff members. Each company will have different needs for its joint projects. Part of your focus must be on tech skills that support this area.
You need to start with your collaborative agility. Particularly if you are working in a software development role, you’ll need to work with varied teams and projects on occasion. It can be wise to learn several development frameworks so you can be an effective contributor to each team. Part of your efforts here should include gaining an understanding of how organizational tools fit into this. Many software companies are utilizing methods like Scrum to keep development collaboration flexible but methodically driven. This is based on an iterative approach to projects and keeps the planning and progression processes visible to all stakeholders. However, other teams in your organization may be utilizing other frameworks, so it’s important to gain multilateral knowledge here.
Alongside your personal abilities, you should also gain some knowledge of how to make certain the organization you are working with can keep teamwork in check no matter the circumstances. Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, more companies have chosen to adopt hybrid and remote operations. Many are making it a permanent part of their business models. You can be effective here by understanding how remote project management tools can be implemented efficiently and effectively. Keep up-to-date on platforms that cut down on the need for multiple forms of software. Learn about troubleshooting common tech problems in distant teams.
One of the features of our current digital landscape is there are opportunities for businesses to engage in individualized ways. Many tools can be adapted and tailored to the specific needs of the business. This might involve programming machinery to meet production goals. It could include arranging for tools in the internet of things (IoT) to work together and improve productivity. One thing that can impact the efficacy of this is a solid approach to testing. Given how frequently companies upgrade and change their tools, gaining skills in this area can provide additional job security.
Automated processes are among the primary components you can make an impact on here. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platforms are becoming more accessible to various types of businesses, which means many are keen to engage with them. Particularly if you’ve already been involved in manual testing, transitioning to automation testing can represent a natural evolution of your role — but it can still be challenging. You’ll need to develop an understanding of the programming languages being used. It’s also imperative to learn about testing frameworks on both the server and client sides of the project. It can be a complex field, but such specialist automation testing knowledge can make you close to indispensable.
Your focus here doesn’t have to be as complicated as automated tools, though. Most companies today need a website to thrive, with many going as far as developing their own mobile applications. Depending on how customized an online asset is, there can be elements of testing expertise required. This can be basic functionality testing, which requires a professional who understands how to set the parameters for security, database, and interface examinations. You can also engage in usability testing, especially when it comes to ascertaining the tools meet accessibility standards.
Data is one of the most valuable resources in today’s society. It informs operations across public and private sectors alike. It has an impact on recruitment, marketing, productivity, and almost everything in between. However, there is a serious lack of candidates with tech skills related to data. Focusing your efforts on abilities in this area can be key to enhancing your career options.
This is a wide-ranging area, and your choices here will largely depend on what types of tasks you’re interested in. Machine learning skills are essential in tasks related to data science today. This revolves around building data-rich algorithms to help businesses make more efficient and better-informed decisions about the direction of their operations. You’ll need to learn how to identify what types and quality of data to feed to machine learning platforms to help it produce the most accurate and relevant results. You don’t need to follow a data science degree to be successful here. There are many e-learning courses and certifications that introduce you to the basics.
From a practical standpoint, you’ll find a lot of businesses lack talent in the effective collection, analysis, and interpretation of data sets. There are tech skills that can help you to contribute effectively to businesses’ efforts in this regard. Gaining qualifications in data management means you’ll develop skills in the practices of mining, storing, and organizing data so it can be analyzed and used effectively. It can also be wise to augment data analytics skills by learning relevant programming languages. Structured Query Language (SQL) and Python are among the primary tools for creating databases and fine-tuning algorithms.
In a landscape enhanced by and dependent on digital tools, tech skills can be key to your job security. Training in cybersecurity helps you contribute to reducing vulnerabilities while testing expertise allows you to contribute to development. Remember that knowledge of how to enhance and facilitate collaborations can be valuable too. Data expertise means you can take advantage of a growing skills gap. There are enormous opportunities to be found if you are willing to commit to upskilling in tech fields.
About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity and marketing strategies.