What do Companies Want from Tech Employees?  

By Carl Avery Jul10,2020

The technology skill shortage may be at an all-time high but that doesn’t mean companies are automatically going to hire any aspiring IT tech with the appropriate degree. Potential employers know that IT plays an outsize role in the success of their business and so are choosing job candidates carefully to ensure they get the expert help and assistance needed now and in the future. 

Read on to get a peek into what skills business owners are putting a premium on when searching for full-time, in-house IT technicians and consultants.

Outsourcing Grows

In many instances, companies are putting a hold on hiring new IT staff members in favor of outsourcing specific tasks to outside vendors who have the experience and equipment needed to get certain jobs done. Outsourcing is a trend that is likely to become increasingly popular in the future as companies that have lost revenue due to the novel coronavirus lockdown will find that it’s often more affordable to hire an IT managed service than it is to pay full-time employees to do the same job. What’s more, even some IT managed services are outsourcing specific IT tasks instead of bringing in new people. While the reason for the shift may be monetary, it isn’t always about cutting costs. Keith Heilveil from Advantage Industries notes that outsourcing key jobs helps his business stay focused on specific tools and services to grow his company’s revenue. About 45% of companies that outsource say their main focus is gaining access to needed skills. Put simply, it will be challenging for IT graduates to find a job in the current environment even though there is an IT skill shortage because many companies have already found a way to work around the problem. On the other hand, an IT expert with the right skills may want to consider starting his own IT business or begin working as a freelancer. Both job options are not only potentially lucrative but also personally fulfilling and could lead to future job opportunities.

Cultivating Specific Job Skills

Heilveil goes on to explain that his company did recently hire a new employee and explains the reason why. During the initial “getting to know you” call, Heilveil mentioned a specific book at part of his company’s leadership development program. A few days later, during the second call, Heilveil was pleasantly surprised to learn the job candidate had purchased the book, started reading it, and was prepared to talk about specific portions of the book they had read. The job candidate’s ability to learn independently and take initiative created a job opportunity that would otherwise have gone to someone else.

Advantage Industries is hardly the only company to put a premium on leadership skills and personal skills that aren’t taught in a formal setting. A recent study found that communication skills are at the top of the most important skills for aspiring IT technicians. It’s not hard to see why considering the fact that IT work is no longer just about fixing wires, setting up software, and customizing software programs. IT technicians working for managed services will need to interact with clients regularly, explaining how programs work, providing employees with IT training, and offering advice to company leaders interested in upgrading or adapting their current IT set-up. IT experts who work in a corporate setting will likewise need to be prepared to engage with colleagues, immediate supervisors, and managers from other departments. Other “soft skills” in high demand are adaptability, willingness to learn new skills, and problem-solving skills. In many settings, employers put these “soft skills” above specific IT-related skills they need to get a job done. Hiring departments are coming to realize that it’s far better to hire someone who can learn new skills and work well with people than it is to hire someone just because he or she has a specific IT skill. Even so, those who want to study specific skills to boost their job search will find the skills that are in particularly high demand include JavaScript, ability to use Agile software development methodology, Angular JS, Python, Mobile, and IOS app development, and cloud skills.

What do companies want from tech employees in the post-COVID-19 era? The truth is, a lot depends on the company in question. Some businesses are putting a premium on keeping business costs low; such companies will outsource their IT work if they haven’t done so already. On the other hand, there are companies more than willing to hire qualified IT technicians who exhibit the right skills. Learning the technical skills noted above is a good start but bear in mind that it’s just a start. Most companies are putting a premium on hiring employees who are flexible, good team players and communicators, eager to learn, and willing to take initiative. Like outsourcing, this trend is likely to be around for the foreseeable future, and aspiring IT support experts will want to bear this in mind as they grow their career.

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