Five Highly Valued Soft Skills for IT Pros

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Active Listening

At the foundation of all the other soft skills previously mentioned is the ability to listen, comprehend the information being exchanged, and respond effectively and succinctly. This is often classified as "active listening," and sometimes described as being "present in a conversation." It sounds simple, but given the number of mobile devices constantly vying for your attention at any given moment, and the other distractions bombarding you, the ability to truly concentrate on a conversation can be challenging – for anyone, not just IT pros. In an era when everyone appears to be challenged to fully focus their attention and process information in real time, your ability to master the art of actively listening is a soft skill that will pay endless dividends.

Expanding or honing your skill set as an IT professional is part of the job. The rapid evolution of technology certainly forces the need for ongoing education and updated certifications. But a desire to accelerate your own professional growth can also ignite a passion for learning. In today's competitive business environment, it's the ability to master non-technical skills, or soft skills, that quickly boosts your reputation as an effective IT pro.

By 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) biennial update of employment projections. This rise in IT jobs goes hand-in-hand with the shift in expectations of IT candidates in the workforce. According to a recent report from Wisegate, the vast majority of IT executives, managers and employees surveyed said they recognize that business proficiency is just as valuable to their careers as new technology skills. In fact, the number-one noted skill IT workers cited as most worthwhile for them to focus on for career advancement was "being business savvy." Rounding out the top three responses were "influencing others" and "building relationships."

As IT becomes more tightly integrated into the business process, the experienced IT professional is expected to be able to understand the business, communicate ideas with coworkers and clients, negotiate, and even lead. This is the case because, as within any career, the further you advance, the more it becomes a matter of working with others. The countless technical certifications hanging on your wall still matter (and always will), but if you aren't able to communicate that knowledge effectively, you may have fewer opportunities for advancement.

In this slideshow, Digium shares a list of five soft skills to master in order to move up the IT chain.


Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

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