Friday, July 25, 2014

RHT: Hardest IT Skills to Find? Soft Skills

by John Reed
July 24, 2014  Robert Half Technology

Developing your soft skills is as important as keeping your tech skills current.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C.
The event was a great way to catch a glimpse of the future of technology from a tech giant’s perspective, while talking to technology leaders from across the globe.

As I talked to different individuals in the tech community, there was a central theme that continued to resonate around the types of team members they want to hire, but struggle to find: Soft skills are the clear differentiator among tech candidates.

Having the right technical skills are obviously important to do the job, but increasingly the sentiment I’m hearing at gatherings like this one is, “I can teach tech skills, but not soft skills.”

Employers are looking for the whole package. Here are some of the most common soft skills that IT leaders are seeking in their next hires:
  • Communication: The ability to communicate to non-technical people in the organization, understand the business needs and deliver that feedback clearly to the IT team.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to understand complex business issues and solve them through technology.
  • Collaboration: The ability to leverage the strengths and unique perspectives of others within the organization, and work together toward an agreed-upon solution.
  • Team-oriented: The ability to work effectively and thrive as a member of various work groups to bring greater value to the overall organization.
  • Creativity: The ability to find new and innovative approaches to performing the business at hand.
Again, it’s not that demand for tech skills is diminishing — quite the opposite, in fact. But tech skills don’t stand alone in the new world order. Organizations covet team members who bring a strong balance of technical and soft skills to create innovative teams that give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

As always, I want to hear your perspective and feedback on this topic in the comments section below.

Thank you.

— John Reed

John Reed is the senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. He can usually be found racking up frequent flyer miles each week traveling to RHT offices across North America and speaking to industry groups about technology hiring trends. When he’s not on the go, he serves as an armchair quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners. Follow him on Twitter @JReedRHT.

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