In a time of dot.com fallout, mergers, reorganizations and downsizing how is it that a host of IT and IS professionals consistently propel their careers upward and others take a series of lateral moves? They may be thinking like a technology expert and not like a business partner.In a recent survey by RHI Consulting, 97 percent of CIO's indicated that they look for well-developed soft skills when hiring IT staff. Are your job skills on technology overload? If your energy is solely on developing technical skills and getting the latest certification you may need to make some adjustments before you short-circuit your career.
Skills needed to perform successfully in today's IT job market can be grouped into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills refer to the multitude of programming languages that you've mastered and the various certifications that you've obtained. They describe WHAT you do. Soft skills or critical business skills address: How well you provide other departments with service, products or information to help them do their jobs. How well you listen to and understand their concerns.
How well you solve business problems that will help the organization succeed. Whether you plan a life-long career in IS or technical support you need to master soft skills. They describe HOW WELL you get the job done.
These critical skills termed "soft skills" focus on four primary areas: problem solving, communication skills, interpersonal, and teamwork skills. Problem solving skills allow you to identify problems, formulate and evaluate alternative solutions by weighing risks and benefits. Communication skills address the ability to clearly convey a message verbally, in writing, or through formal presentation. Interpersonal and teamwork skills are those needed to build client relationships, facilitate meetings, to negotiate with and influence others, to participate as a member of a team, to serve clients and customers in a way that achieves maximum business results.IT does not simply support business requirements but enables business.
With that integration comes the realization that it is people using technology not the technology itself that drives the business. The interpersonal, communication, personal management, and organizational skills of IT professionals are the leading forces behind the success or failure of high-technology departments and companies. Many companies are making moves toward hiring people who can effectively demonstrate mastery of soft skills but have minimal technical skills.To stay competitive companies have to hire and promote the right individuals. 77 percent of CIO's responding to the RHI survey stated that the importance of soft-skills will continue to increase. When asked what factors are most important for moving into information technology management, they reported that interpersonal skills account for 27% and advanced technical skills account for 23% of managerial success.
Do you know if your career is in technology overload?.Look at your resume. Is there a heavy emphasis on technical skills and certifications? Do you describe projects that you've completed or do you tell how you completed them?.Look at your personal development plan or your last performance review. Is there any mention of communication, partnering, decision-making, listening and/or teamwork?.Look at the list of courses that you have signed up for or are scheduled to take.
Have you signed up to take any soft-skills courses or are is your list full of more technical classes?.Take a free online assessment to see where you stand..The importance of interpersonal skills cannot be emphasized enough. No matter how technologically skilled you are, there is a point when all the computer knowledge in the world will not give you access to the best job opportunities.
No matter your job title or specialty the IT business needs professionals who have mastered and can demonstrate both hard and soft skills will enjoy the most success..Valarie is CEO of Think 6 Results -- a knowledge broker passionate about learning and improving performance in organizations. She's a writer, presenter, and executive coach on a mission to get every employee and organization focused on and thinking about the SIX business driving goals that matter.We want you to share this article with others.
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By: Valarie Washington