What Are Technical Skills?

About The Author

Tracy-GardnerTracy Gardner Global Chief Marketing Officer
LinkedIn|31 May 2024

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, technical skills have become the cornerstone of career success. From navigating complex software programs to wielding the power of data analysis, possessing the right technical skillset equips you to thrive in an increasingly tech-driven world.

A 2022 report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that up to 800 million jobs globally could be lost to automation by 2030. This report also highlights a surge in demand for jobs requiring digital and technical skills. This trend underscores technical skills' critical role in securing employment and career advancement in today's job market.

This comprehensive guide dives deep into the world of technical skills, equipping you with the knowledge and strategies to navigate this ever-evolving landscape.

Overview of Technical Skills

Technical skills, often referred to as "hard skills," are the specialized knowledge and abilities you possess to perform specific tasks and utilize relevant tools and technologies. These skills are action-oriented and demonstrably enhance your ability to perform a job effectively. Let's delve deeper with some specific examples of technical skills across various fields:

  • Marketing: Search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing tools (Hootsuite, Sprout Social), email marketing platforms (Mailchimp, Constant Contact), and content management systems (CMS) like WordPress. 
  • Finance: Financial modeling software (Excel), financial analysis tools (Bloomberg), and accounting software (QuickBooks, Xero).
  • Engineering: Computer-aided design (CAD) software (SolidWorks, AutoCAD), project management tools, and specific engineering software related to the discipline (e.g., MATLAB for electrical engineers).
  • Graphic designer: Design software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, a keen understanding of design principles and typography, and the ability to create visually appealing and user-friendly layouts.
  • Healthcare: Understanding EHR systems like Epic or Cerner for documenting patient history, managing appointments, and knowledge of medical coding systems like ICD-10 for assigning standardized codes to diagnoses, procedures, and medical services for billing purposes.
  • Data analyst: Expertise in Excel, SQL, and data visualization software like Tableau to analyze data sets, extract insights, and communicate findings effectively. 
  • Customer Service: Customer relationship management (CRM) software (Salesforce, Zendesk), ticketing systems (Zendesk, Help Scout), and communication platforms (Slack, Microsoft Teams).

Remember: This list provides a glimpse into the vast array of technical skills valued across various professions. The most in-demand technical skills will continuously evolve. Stay updated on industry trends and emerging technologies to ensure your skillset remains relevant and attractive to employers.

Why Are Technical Skills Important?

Why Are Technical Skills Important

Technical skills have transcended niche requirements and become fundamental across various professions. Here's why:

  • Pervasive Technology

Technology is woven into nearly every aspect of work. From communication platforms like Slack to project management software like Asana, proficiency in relevant tech allows you to adapt, collaborate efficiently, and contribute meaningfully in today's digital workplace.

  • The Rise of Automation

While automation may replace some repetitive tasks, the need for skilled professionals to manage, develop, and maintain these automated systems becomes even more vital. Possessing the technical skills to work alongside and manage intelligent machines becomes a crucial differentiator.

  • Data-Driven Decision Making

Data is the new oil, and organizations increasingly rely on data analysis to inform strategic decisions. Mastering technical skills related to data collection, analysis, and interpretation empowers you to contribute meaningfully to this data-driven environment.

  • Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity

Technical skills equip you to leverage technology to your advantage. Imagine a marketing professional adept at using social media marketing tools like Hootsuite. They can streamline content creation, schedule posts efficiently, and analyze campaign performance, significantly boosting productivity and effectiveness.

  • Boosted Problem-Solving

The ability to navigate complex software or troubleshoot technical hiccups translates beautifully into problem-solving skills. With a technical background, you can approach challenges with a methodical and analytical mindset, dissecting the issue and implementing practical solutions.

  • Lifelong Learning

The tech world constantly evolves, and technical skills keep you on the cutting edge. You become a valuable asset in a world that thrives on innovation by developing a thirst for learning new programs and adapting to changing environments.

  • Increased Creativity

Technical skills don't have to stifle creativity – they can enhance it! Imagine a graphic designer with both artistic vision and proficiency in design software. They can use their technical prowess to bring their ideas to life in previously unimaginable ways, pushing the boundaries of the creative process.

  • Global Collaboration

Technology bridges geographical divides, fostering collaboration across borders and cultures. Technical fluency allows you to seamlessly work with colleagues and clients worldwide, creating a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.

  • Personal Growth

Mastering a new technical skill fosters a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-confidence. This newfound knowledge empowers you to take on more challenging tasks and explore exciting career possibilities.

Honing your technical skills positions you as a valuable asset in the modern workplace. You are capable of adapting to technological advancements and contributing to organizational success.

How to Improve Your Technical Skills

How to Improve Your Technical Skills

The good news is that technical skills are learnable! Here are some effective ways to enhance them:

1. Training Platforms:

Numerous online platforms offer affordable courses and tutorials on various technical skills. Explore Udemy or edX to find courses relevant to your field. These platforms often provide flexible learning schedules and project-based learning experiences to solidify your understanding.

2. Bootcamps:

Intensive bootcamps, often weeks or months, can equip you with specific technical skills in a shorter timeframe. Consider bootcamps if you're looking for a focused and immersive learning experience, particularly for in-demand skills like coding or data analysis.

3. Certifications:

Earning industry-recognized certifications can validate your technical skills and make you a more attractive candidate to employers. Research certifications relevant to your career goals. Popular options include certifications for project management (PMP), cybersecurity (CompTIA Security+), or specific software like Adobe Creative Suite.

4. On-the-Job Learning:

Many companies offer training and development programs to help employees upgrade their skills. If available at your workplace, take advantage of these opportunities. Explore internal training programs, mentorship opportunities, or tuition reimbursement programs offered by your employer.

5. Personal Projects:

Apply your learning through personal projects. Building a website, developing a mobile app using your newly acquired programming skills, or analyzing a dataset using data analysis tools allows you to solidify your understanding and build a portfolio to showcase your abilities to potential employers.

6. Open Source Contribution:

Get involved in open-source projects. This enhances your skills by working on real-world projects and allows you to collaborate with a global developer community and gain valuable experience. Many open-source projects welcome contributions from individuals with varying skill levels.

7. Networking and Mentorship:

Connect with professionals in your field. Attend industry events and join online communities or professional organizations related to your field. Ask questions, learn from their experiences, and seek guidance on how to develop your technical skillset. Mentorship from experienced professionals can provide invaluable insights and career advice.

By employing these strategies and actively seeking learning opportunities, you can continuously improve your technical skillset and remain competitive in the job market. 

What Technical Skills Are Employers Looking For?

The specific technical skills employers seek vary depending on the industry, job role, and company. Some general areas stand out:

  • Computer Skills: Basic proficiency in using computers, operating systems, and standard productivity software like word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation tools remains a must-have for most positions.
  • Software-Specific Skills: Depending on the role, employers might look for expertise in specific software like design tools, data analysis tools, or project management software. Research the particular software commonly used in your desired field.
  • Programming Languages: In today's tech-driven world, knowledge of programming languages like Python, Java, or JavaScript can be highly valuable, especially for roles in development, data science, or web design.
  • Hardware and Networking: Understanding computer hardware, network systems, and troubleshooting techniques might be essential for some roles, particularly in IT support or network administration.
  • Digital Literacy: Being comfortable in the digital world, navigating the internet, and using online resources effectively is increasingly important for most positions.

Remember: This list is not exhaustive. Research the specific technical skills required for your desired role and industry to tailor your skillset.

How to Include Technical Skills on Your Resume

How to Include Technical Skills on Your Resume

Your resume is your chance to make a stellar first impression. Here's how to effectively highlight your technical skills:

1. Tailor Your Resume:

Carefully analyze the job description and identify the specific technical skills mentioned. Weave those keywords into your resume, showcasing relevant skills and experience that align with the job requirements.

2. Quantify Your Achievements:

Don't just list skills; demonstrate their impact. Use numbers and metrics to quantify your accomplishments. For example, instead of simply stating "proficient in SEO," mention how your SEO efforts increased website traffic by 20% or improved search engine ranking for targeted keywords. 

3. Dedicated Skills Section:

Consider creating a "Technical Skills" section on your resume. List your key skills and proficiency levels (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced).

4. Project Descriptions:

Utilize your project descriptions to showcase your technical skills. Describe the project, the tools and technologies you used, and the results you achieved.  For instance, if you built a website using HTML and CSS, mention the functionalities you implemented and the overall user experience you aimed for.

Remember, these are just tips! Tailor your approach to your specific skills and craft a compelling resume that employers read and showcases your technical expertise and achievements.

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How Do You Keep Your Technical Skills Current?

Each Technology evolves rapidly. Here are some ways to ensure your technical skills remain relevant:

  • Continuous Learning:  Dedicate time to ongoing learning. Pursue online courses, attend workshops, and seek new learning opportunities to keep pace with advancements.
  • Stay Informed: Follow industry publications, blogs, and thought leaders to stay updated on the latest trends and innovations. Subscribe to industry newsletters, podcasts, or YouTube channels to stay informed about the latest developments in your field.
  • Practice and Experimentation: Regularly practice your technical skills to maintain proficiency. Experiment with new technologies and tools to broaden your skillset and stay on top of emerging trends.
  • Networking and Professional Development: Engage with online communities, attend industry conferences, and participate in professional development opportunities to connect with peers and expand your knowledge base. Networking events and conferences can provide valuable insights and opportunities to learn from other professionals.
  • Embrace Open Source Projects: Contributing to open-source projects is a fantastic way to stay at the forefront of your field. These projects are often at the bleeding edge of technology, and by getting involved, you'll gain practical experience with the newest tools and approaches.
  • Build Something Cool: Learning is best when it's fun and engaging. Instead of passively consuming information, why not put your skills to the test by building a personal project? This could be anything from a simple mobile app to a complex data analysis tool. Brainstorming, designing, and developing your project will solidify your existing knowledge and push you to explore new areas.
  • Teach What You Know: One of the best ways to solidify your understanding of a topic is to explain it to someone. Consider volunteering as a mentor for aspiring tech professionals or even starting a blog or YouTube channel where you share your knowledge and experiences.
  • Gamify Your Learning: Learning isn't a chore. Some online platforms and apps gamify the process of acquiring new skills. These platforms use points, badges, and leaderboards to keep you motivated and engaged.
  • Embrace the 15-Minute Rule: In our busy lives, it can take a lot of work to carve out large chunks of time for professional development. So, even 15 minutes a day can make a big difference. Use that spare quarter-hour to read a relevant industry blog post, watch a short tutorial video, or complete a quick online coding challenge.

Bonus Tip: Explore Free Learning Resources

The good news is that you don't always need to spend a fortune to develop your technical skills. Numerous free online resources can be a great starting point. Here are a few examples:

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Platforms like edX and Udacity offer a wide range of free courses on various technical subjects. While some courses might offer paid certifications, the core learning materials are often accessible for free.
  • YouTube Tutorials: YouTube is a treasure trove of free educational content. In-depth tutorials on almost any technical skill are available. From learning the basics of coding languages like Python to mastering advanced data analysis techniques, YouTube offers many free learning resources.
  • Open Source Resources: Many open-source projects provide extensive documentation and tutorials to help newcomers learn the technologies involved. Contributing to open-source projects can be a fantastic way to gain practical experience while developing your skills. Open-source communities often welcome individuals of varying skill levels, fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Incorporating these strategies into your routine ensures that your technical skillset remains current, evolves, and grows throughout your career.

With a strong foundation in technical skills and a commitment to continuous learning, you can position yourself for success in the ever-changing world of work. You'll be well-equipped to navigate the evolving technological landscape, adapt to new challenges, and contribute meaningfully to your chosen field.

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Choose VLink for Technical Expertise

VLink recognizes the growing importance of technical skills in today's job market. We are a leading provider of various software development solutions, offering comprehensive resources to help individuals and organizations stay ahead of the curve. Here's how VLink can empower you to excel in your technical skill development:

  • Extensive Course Library: We offer a vast library of online and in-person courses covering various technical skills, from programming languages and data analysis to cybersecurity and cloud computing.
  • Experts Help: Our expert team comprises seasoned professionals with extensive industry experience and a passion for knowledge sharing. They are committed to delivering engaging and effective learning experiences that equip you with the practical skills you need to succeed.
  • Flexible Learning Options: We understand that learning styles and schedules vary. VLink offers flexible learning options to suit your needs, including online self-paced courses, instructor-led live sessions, and blended learning programs.
  • Community of Learners: Our dedicated team fosters a vibrant community of learners who share their experiences and support each other's growth. This collaborative environment allows you to connect with peers, ask questions, and gain valuable insights from others on their technical journeys.
  • Industry-Aligned Curriculum: Our curriculum is constantly updated to reflect industry trends and employer demands. You can be confident that the skills you learn at VLink directly apply to the job market, giving you a competitive edge.

Partner with VLink and unlock your full potential in the ever-evolving world of technology. Contact us now and apply a proactive approach for significant progress in technical skill development.

That’s it from our side in this blog. I hope this comprehensive blog guide equips you with the knowledge and strategies to embark on your technical skill development journey. Remember, consistency is vital. Dedicate time regularly to learning, practicing, and expanding your technical skillset.  

Conclusion

Technical skills are a valuable asset that opens doors to exciting career opportunities. Regardless of your current skill level, remember technical skills are learnable and can be honed with dedication and the right approach. Embrace continuous learning, leverage available resources, and actively seek opportunities to apply and showcase your skills.

The journey of developing technical skills is an ongoing process. Embrace the learning process, celebrate achievements, and never stop expanding your knowledge base. By investing in yourself and your technical skill development, you open doors to a world of exciting career possibilities!

FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Are soft skills still important?

Absolutely! Soft skills, like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, are crucial for success in any career path. Technical skills complement soft skills by providing the tools and knowledge to translate those skills into concrete results. Soft skills bridge the gap, ensuring effective communication and collaboration.

How can I identify the right technical skills for my career?

Here are some strategies to identify the right technical skills for your career:

  • Research Job Postings: Analyze job descriptions in your desired field. Identify the technical skills consistently mentioned across job postings.
  • Network with Professionals: Connect with Professionals to gain insight through demand-driven online communities, professional organizations, or industry events. Ask them about the technical skills they use daily and the skills they believe are most valuable in their roles.
  • Utilize Career Resources: Many colleges, universities, and professional organizations offer career resources and guidance. Utilize these resources to identify skills relevant to your desired career path. 
I have zero technical experience. Can I still develop these skills?

Absolutely! The beauty of technical skills is that they're learnable. Many online courses, bootcamps, and certifications are available to equip you with the necessary knowledge. With dedication and the right resources, you can unlock your technical potential!

What kind of technical skills are in demand?

While specific needs vary across industries, some common in-demand skills include data analysis, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and programming languages like Python or Java. The key is to stay up-to-date on what's trending in your target field.

How can I showcase my technical skills to potential employers?

Highlight your technical skills on your resume, but don't just list them – showcase your proficiency! Describe specific projects where you used these skills to solve problems or achieve results. Bonus points for creating a portfolio website to display your work.

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