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A career in information technology (IT) is an exciting endeavor in the digital workforce. Coursework, certifications, valuable internships, and curating the most in-demand skills will help you stand out. Learn more about the specific skills, both technical and otherwise, to prepare you to enter the IT world.

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If you are considering employment as a computer support specialist, systems analyst, information security analyst, network architect, or software developer, there are specific skills that can get you prepared.

Entering the IT field will typically require a four-year degree in either computer science or computer information systems. If you are not planning on earning a four-year degree, entry into this field can be obtained by starting in an entry-level support role and proving your skills and growth. In rare cases, applicants can demonstrate natural talent and skill to demonstrate employability. However, this is not a standard means of entering the field.

Earning a four-year degree should enable you to skip entry-level support roles and enter the job market in a junior-level support role in each discipline. One ongoing trend that has become more prevalent is obtaining an entry or junior level job with a convincing demonstration of knowledge and skills.

Internships and industry certifications are all great ways to build your resume and demonstrate your commitment. Have you considered what skills are most in-demand by potential employers? Here are a few categories of skills that will help set you on a firm path. While some may be obvious or in your existing capacity, some might surprise you.

● Coding
● Technical writing
● Social media management
● Hardware deployment
● Network configuration
● Operating system knowledge
● Database management

As you can see from above, one of the most essential skill sets an employer will look for in an IT professional is the applicant’s proficiency in writing code. Suppose you are looking for a job in programming or software and web development. In that case, an employer will most likely seek a qualified candidate who can read, write, and troubleshoot code in various languages because most systems utilize several languages.

Even for roles not tasked with writing code, an IT professional should have at least a working knowledge of the more basic coding languages, like HTML and C++. You will want to evaluate which of the following you might need to understand better:

● Application Development
● Architecture
● Artificial Intelligence
● Cloud Computing
● C++
● C Language
● UX Design
● Python
● JavaScript
● Java
● Ruby

In addition to programming languages, an understanding of computer networking will be required of most IT professionals, no matter the company’s size. IT jobs may include network architects, engineers, and systems administrators. Network administrators and systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operations of larger network infrastructure and strategy. If you are looking to fulfill one of these roles, you will need an understanding of the following:

● IP Setup
● Wireless Modems/Routers
● Cloud Services
● JavaScript
● Python
● C++
● Functionality
● Cyber Security
● Information Management
● Cloud Systems Administration

Along with technical skills, soft skills are essential for anyone in IT. Communication skills are critical because IT professionals are often required to work with many teams and groups of stakeholders. IT professionals often have to provide tech solutions for people who do not have a background in technology. This requires patience and understanding, as well as a positive outlook. They have to demonstrate leadership and team building at all projects and with many different types of people. Public speaking is also a valuable skill, as IT roles are often called on to present ideas and reports to larger groups of people, from colleagues to senior management. Consider the following soft skills and envision a plan for demonstrating your capacity for the following:

● Team Building
● Teamwork
● Leadership
● Collaboration
● Written Communication
● Oral Communication
● Active Listening
● Communicating Complex Information in Digestible Amounts

Along the same vein as communication skills, an IT professional should accurately assess project timeframes and deliver success within those timelines. A successful IT professional should help an entire team manage their workload daily, weekly, monthly, and project basis. Plan to gain experience and demonstrate your ability regarding the following:

● Scheduling
● Goal-Oriented
● Digital Communications
● Manage Remote Working Teams
● Continually Review Processes for Improvement
● Multitasking
● Meeting Deadlines
● ICT (Information and Communications Technology

A career in information technology is a rewarding and exciting endeavor. Preparing yourself on a firm career path that focuses on an appropriate academic major, valuable internships, and curating the most in-demand skills will help ensure you stand out among the crowd!

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