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The Top Information Technology Skills Employers Want

Image: technology skills

The IT field is a hot market. Technology is changing and advancing faster than any one person can keep up with, and job titles, descriptions and expectations in the field are evolving just as fast. Nevertheless, there are some skill sets employers are consistently looking for when they search through resumes. But how can you know what specific technology skills they're seeking?

We've tapped research from Burning Glass, a labor market analytics company, to help find the answers. The company analyzed 13,618 job postings for roles looking for candidates with an information technology degree in 2014 to develop a technology skills list detailing what employers seek in their new hires.

What's especially helpful is that this analysis breaks down the IT skills in greatest demand by both specialized skills (the technical skills required to do the job) and baseline skills (the all-important "soft skills" applicable across industries and job titles). Find out what's most in demand below, and then see what steps you can take to use this information to your greatest advantage.

The top 10 specialized tech skills in greatest demand for IT jobs include:

  • SQL
  • Technical support
  • Oracle
  • Business process
  • LINUX
  • JAVA
  • System and network configuration
  • Collaboration
  • UNIX
  • Software installation1

Meanwhile, the top 10 baseline information technology skills employers are looking for in IT candidates are:

  • Communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Writing
  • Problem solving
  • Troubleshooting
  • Project management
  • Planning
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Research
  • Customer service2

Now you know what employers identify as the most important information technology skills when searching out good candidates, but the next step is using this knowledge to your advantage. Start with these five ideas:

1. Let this list guide you in crafting your resume and knowing what to highlight in interviews. By using this information, you can play up your strengths, giving you a chance to rise to the top of the list of candidates and play up how your skills match the company needs.

2. Further your education to build and develop your skill set. Depending on your background, look for a quality bachelor's or master's degree program in information technology that meets your needs and fits your schedule. Going back to school can give you valuable expertise and help you develop the confidence you need to go after the job you want.

3. Take on more responsibility at work. By volunteering to take on extra projects at your current job, you give yourself the chance to grow your technology management skills. This can also help you work on enhancing your "soft skills" so that you can give concrete examples of how your past jobs will help you succeed in the future.

4. Be proactive about finding a mentor. Don't be afraid to reach out. Find someone in the IT field you admire and who has followed a career path similar to the one you have envisioned for yourself. Call him or her. Explain why you admire his or her work and issue a lunch invitation. Get advice on how to enter the field, tips on how you can improve your resume, and ideas on how to look for a job opening. Worst-case scenario? They tell you they're too busy to meet. Best-case scenario? You find a mentor that can help you on the path to success.

5. Continue to do your research. You found this list, which shows that your interest in the IT field is piqued. Keep looking, researching, and talking to people in the field. The more you know about an IT career, the jobs that are available, and the kinds of companies that need IT employees, the better prepared you will be to move forward on the career path you want.

Ready to learn more? Download our IT Career Guide.

1Labor/Insight (Burning Glass Technologies), 1/1/14-12/31/14

2Labor/Insight (Burning Glass Technologies), 1/1/14-12/31/14

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