As IT departments focus on working more closely with other sections of the organization, soft skills are becoming increasingly important for IT pros. Here are some of the most important soft skills needed to succeed in IT.
In a survey conducted earlier this year by IT industry association CompTIA, 93% of organizations said there was a gap between the skills possessed by the company’s IT staff and the skills that the organization needs. That skills gap was blamed for problems in several areas, including productivity, data security and overall profitability.
The skills desired most included areas of technical acumen, such as networking, IT infrastructure, IT security, help desk and database management.
However, most respondents agreed that soft skills are just as important for their organization’s IT department as those technical skills. Just 34% of companies are focused only on closing a technical skills gap, while 48% are equally concerned about hard and soft skills, and 19% are focused only on soft skills.
Soft skills for IT success
What soft skills are the most important for IT pros to succeed in their jobs? These are what the respondents to CompTIA’s survey ranked as the most important:
- Strong work ethic (listed as “very important” by 71% of respondents) — That’s necessary to succeed in any job, and IT is no exception.
- Motivation and initiative (67%) — Likewise, successful IT pros also must be motivated and engaged in their work.
- Customer service (65%) — The primary role of the IT department is to support the rest of the business, and that should factor in to the regular interactions between IT staff and those internal customers.
- Flexibility and adaptability (64%) — More so than many other lines of work, technology is fast-changing and IT pros must be able to stay up to date.
- Innovation and problem solving (63%) — Also, IT jobs create many new and unexpected challenges that must be handled quickly.
- Analytical skills (61%) — Most IT departments operate under tight budgets, so employees need to be able to find the best and most cost-effective solutions to problems.
- Teamwork (60%) — Like any other department, IT must work work effectively as a team.
- Communication (59%) — Strong communication skills are essential for both IT managers and staff members, especially when it comes to explaining technology to non-technical people.
- Project management (47%) — As budgets become tighter and more scrutinized, it’s important for everyone in IT to be able to manage and be held accountable for their projects.