Posted by Robert Half on 20 March 2015
If you're looking for an IT job in the UK, you might just be in luck. Demand for technology professionals is high with employment in the industry expected to grow at a rapid rate in the UK.
In the digital age, it's clear that employers highly value IT skills. Technology has moved to the very core of business, and as such, organisations need people capable of deploying, managing and upgrading tech solutions. This isn't a job just anyone can do.
There may be a wealth of IT jobs demanding professionals with strong IT skills, but organisations will not just hire anybody. They need talented and experienced candidates, who can meet their day-to-day IT challenges head-on and support wider business growth. As a job applicant, you need to prove the value you can add. Otherwise, hiring managers will simply look elsewhere.
There's no doubt that the right candidates can command high salaries and enjoy rapid career progression, as employers compete for the top talent. But in order to make yourself a prize asset, you need to invest in your own career development and build up your IT CV.
If you want to make headway and secure a technology job, then these are some of the IT skills and attributes you need:
1. Commercial nous
IT is no longer a standalone function; it has become fundamental to the way businesses operate. When organisations outline their growth strategies, they inevitably think about how technology can support their plans and what challenges may exist. Professionals who have strong technical skills and a sound understanding of business generally can offer real value as a potential employee. Being able to offer insights needed to form effective growth plans and achieve expansion are an essential skill that every tech savvy professional should have.
2. Project management experience
As budgets increase, many organisations are pressing ahead with new IT projects and initiatives which may have been delayed during the economic downturn. Employers are looking for individuals who can lead teams effectively and deliver results using the fewest possible resources. So if you've got project management experience on your CV, this may give you an advantage over rival candidates.
3. IT upgrade experience
Many of the projects being planned by organisations are IT upgrades. Professionals who have worked through the entire project life cycle - from the identification of a problem to the selection of a suitable product or service, and then on to deployment, implementation and management - can offer significant value. Organisations are eager to ensure they introduce the right technology at the right time, making as seamless a transition as possible.
4. A security focus
IT security remains a key priority for all organisations. As such, there continues to be strong demand for specialist security skills and experience safeguarding data and confidential information. Organisations are acutely aware of the risks of data breaches, such as fines, reputational damage and customer attrition. This means they are eager to create high-quality security teams who can establish the necessary safeguards - at whatever the cost.
5. Leadership skills
As employers build up their technology teams by hiring more staff, new opportunities are emerging throughout businesses. Organisations need experienced candidates with strong management and leadership skills to head up teams, work on strategy and play an active role in recruitment. If you've got experience in management, and are interested in pursuing a career in leadership, there is scope for advancement within many organisations.
6. Cloud knowledge
Specialist cloud skills are proving to be highly valuable to businesses, as many shift from in-house IT to hosted or managed solutions. If you have expertise in this field - either as a provider or consumer of cloud-based technology - this will potentially count in your favour in the jobs market. Many organisations are still nervous about moving core functions off-site, out of their direct control, and the recruitment of skilled staff with cloud experience can ease their anxiety.
7. Communications skills
IT no longer exists in silo; it has to work effectively with all other departments within the business. Everyone uses IT, and technology has a direct impact on people throughout the organisation. As such, employers are looking to hire IT professionals who have good communication skills, a collaborative nature and an ability to simplify complex subjects for non-technical staff. They have to be visible within the organisation and work with a wide range of business stakeholders.
8. A flexible nature
There are plenty of permanent IT jobs available in the technology sector, but equally, there are various temporary opportunities. Project manager jobs and other senior roles may be available to IT contractors on an interim basis, as and when the demand exists. Employers may be willing to pay a premium to secure professionals with IT skills on a short-term contract, particularly since they do not need to add them to their permanent salary bill.
Being flexible in terms of your location for work can also be beneficial. IT jobs exist all over the UK, but in some regions, there is a particularly high level of demand, especially with the emergence of Tech North. If high-level candidates are willing to consider options outside of London and the south-east, they may have the opportunity to rapidly develop their careers. See the Robert Half Salary Centre to fnd out more about what you can earn.