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23 August 2023 - 8 minutes

Beyond Coding: Essential Skills for Tech Professionals

You have the basic required skills for your field, but what else should you learn?

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You’ve learned your programming language of choice and you’re done, right?! You’ve learned everything you need to know to land your dream tech job, right?! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple–there are lots of other skills tech professionals need to know, both hard and soft, to ensure they’re ready to take on the challenge. 

Before we dive right into the crucial skills that you should have as a tech professional beyond those that you already have, let’s explore why it’s so important to learn other skills to land your dream role in tech. 

Why is it Important to Learn Other Skills in Tech?

Programmers should be aware of cybersecurity threats in addition to their coding knowledge and UX/UI designers should know how to analyze the data that they see from their users to optimize their designs. But beyond the skills listed on a job description lie others that are essential. Why? Here you go: 

  • Tech moves at an incredibly fast pace: tech moves fast; we’re sure you already know that. To keep up with new technologies or innovations, it’s crucial that you’re constantly researching what’s happening in the industry and staying up-to-date with new advancements. 

  • Additional skills make you a more valuable candidate: if you just have the basic skills required to be a cybersecurity professional, you’ll find that your application is sitting next to a large pile of candidates with the exact same skills. Branching out and widening your skill set separates your application and makes employers more likely to hire you. 

  • You’ll be better suited to move into a different role: as we mentioned, tech moves fast and let’s be realistic: it’s possible that your job becomes unnecessary or filled by someone else with knowledge of newer tools and technologies. But if you boast a wide range of skills, employers are more likely to move you into a new role or choose to upskill or reskill you. 

We’ll dive into a more detailed summary of skills to learn for specific roles later on, but first, let’s cover some of the main tech skills that all techies should have in their toolbox. 

Important tech skills for all techies

No matter if you’re the world’s best UX/UI designer or Python programmer, all tech professionals should be able to put these skills on their resume: 

  1. General computer skills: we’re sure you know how to type, but are you proficient at using both Macs and PCs? Or various processing systems? Today, everyone is expected to have some computer knowledge because our world is so digitally-focused, but showing how comfortable you are with various softwares and machines helps instill a sense of confidence in your manager. 

  2. Artificial intelligence: AI is all the rage right now and it’s only going to continue growing in popularity, with more and more AI-skilled professionals needed. If you can work on your AI skills outside the office and add it to your resume, hiring managers will definitely take note. 

  3. Marketing: knowing how to create your product is just one step; you have to know how to market it as well. Reviewing some key marketing knowledge such as search engine optimization and content marketing can help you take your skills to the next level. 

  4. Coding: listen, we’re not saying you need to become a hackathon champion if your goal is to become a data analyst. But it could be helpful to have some coding knowledge so you can handle little problems on your own or even identify what an issue is. 

  5. Data analytics: data is behind every single decision we make and knowing how to read, sort, and visualize data can help you make better decisions in every part of your life and especially at work. You don’t need to be the world’s fastest data analyzer, but learning how to understand important figures at a basic level could help your actions become more effective. 

  6. Web design: you could write some fantastic code but choose a design that just doesn’t resonate with your user and suddenly no one is checking out your website. Knowing the basics of quality user design can help you incorporate that into your project from the back-end.

Now that you know why it’s important to learn other skills outside your direct responsibilities, let’s cover some key skills for each of these four sectors: web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity.

Other Skills to Learn in Web Development 

Web developers boast knowledge in programming languages, frameworks, cording, and testing, but what else could be valuable? Let’s discuss: 

  • Familiarity with the user experience: at the end of the day, web developers are creating a product for a certain user and if the web design doesn’t meet user needs and expectations, it’s entirely useless. To ensure that designs are created for the user, web developers should understand the entire user experience, which will help them create a better product. 

  • Attention to detail: writing lines and lines of code can be tedious and seemingly endless, but a small mistake could make the entire site come crashing down. Web developers that can prove their attention to detail skills will reassure potential employers and be more attractive candidates. 

  • Teamwork: web developers tend to work on large teams with back-end developers, front-end developers, product managers, UX designers, team leads, and more and the last thing managers want is a developer who can’t play nice with others. Show off your teamwork skills and give examples of how you’ve worked on large and diverse teams before if you want to truly impress your prospective employer. 

  • Good communication: developers have a reputation for sitting at their computers all day and writing lines and lines of code and, well, there’s a reason for that. Similarly to the need for good teamwork skills, developers should expect to spend lots of time explaining what they’re doing to others and need to be able to communicate properly with the entire team. 

Other Skills to Learn in UX/UI Design

To create the perfect design, UX/UI designers are proficient in interaction design, information architecture, prototyping, and design, in addition to these sometimes forgotten gems: 

  • Familiarity with the differences between mobile and desktops: the perfect design might exist solely on a mobile browser and when you bring it to a desktop it doesn’t work at all. Knowing the slight differences between mobile and desktop browsers such as loading time, page layout, and accessibility can help bring your design to an entirely new audience–and bring more business. 

  • Visualization skills: for some, it can be hard to picture what a final product will look like and we get it–how could anyone picture something that doesn’t exist yet?! But even though it’s challenging, successful UX/UI designers boast the ability to anticipate how a design will look, choosing the right elements right from the beginning and adjusting them as needed throughout the design process. 

  • Familiarity with testing procedures: the design process can be long and tedious and ultimately depends heavily on how testing goes and how users respond to the design. UX/UI designers who have experience with or knowledge about testing procedures can anticipate problems before they arise and quickly solve any found issues. 

  • Good listening skills: just like with developing a website, the success of a design ultimately lies with one thing: if the user reacts positively to it. Showing a potential employer that you’re ready to listen and incorporate all kinds of feedback into your design will be well-received. 

Other Skills to Learn in Data Analytics

In addition to typical data analytic skills like machine learning, data visualization, data cleaning, and analysis, data analysts can spruce up their resumes with the following skills: 

  • Programming languages: you might equate programming languages with web development and coding, but programming languages like R and Python can analyze large quantities of data efficiently and quickly, allowing you to focus on other tasks that require human brainpower. 

  • Presentation skills: spoiler alert: your findings are practically useless if you can’t communicate them to your team, sharing what you’ve learned and your recommendations for the future. Knowing how to visualize your results can make all the difference between a good data analyst and an incredible data analyst. 

  • Writing skills: data analysts are frequently tasked with creating reports of their findings to share with colleagues or stakeholders; knowing how to not only put that information into charts but also write it well can be quite the challenge for those with weak writing skills. 

  • Problem solving skills: from incomplete datasets to tight deadlines, data analysts face lots of problems and need to be prepared to handle said issues professionally and properly, ensuring they’re completing their responsibilities to the best of their abilities. 

Other Skills to Learn in Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity professionals might think all employers are looking for is Cloud knowledge and network security skills, but to become a truly competitive candidate, we recommend becoming familiar with: 

  • Attention to detail: scams or phishing attempts can seem really real sometimes and it’s easy to fall for one if you’re not paying full attention. Highlighting your ability to double and triple check every detail will reassure potential employers.

  • Critical thinking: some threats require a lot of creativity and critical thinking to find the right solution; knowing how to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions is highly valuable.

  • Coding: lots of protections put into place by cybersecurity professionals are embedded into a website’s code; if you have basic knowledge of some of the most common programming languages, you’ll be able to implement these protections yourself and check for updates or problems later on. 

  • Artificial intelligence: the rise of artificial intelligence has led to more realistic phishing and malware attacks. Cyber professionals who can identify computer-generated scams will become increasingly relevant in the coming years.

It may seem like a lot of skills to learn, but that’s exactly why Ironhack was born: to take talented individuals and make them into the next generation of techies, ready to fill market gaps in different areas of the sector. Bootcamp graduates are incredibly valuable because of just that; they use their diverse backgrounds and their newly acquired technical knowledge to create a new kind of tech professional

If you’re thinking about changing careers, there’s never been a better time to dive right into tech and we’d love to guide you along your journey in tech. What are you waiting for? Check out our courses and apply today. 

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