While those looking to enter the technology field may understand the importance of building their skills in areas such as coding, programming, UX/UI and the like, they may overlook a whole host of other skills and competencies that are just as vital to the role. To truly set yourself up to win in the tech industry, consider developing and improving the following eight unexpected skills.

What’s one surprising skill or competency that is now critical for any tech role, and why?

1. Empathy

Empathy is a deeply undervalued skill. To identify with a user — to understand what drives them — is the key to both building and selling a product. If you can get into the head of a consumer and identify with their pain points, then you can likely build a desirable product. Human-centered solutions are winning over legacy products for this reason. Put humans first and you’ll be surprised by the outcome. – Cooper Harris, Klickly

2. People Skills

You’ll have to deal with people to build projects together. Behaviors like effective communication, empathy, trustworthiness, a genuine interest in people — Many call them “soft” or people skills, but they’re powerful regardless. Look at it this way: There’s someone out there who can do your technical job or better, but they can’t be the team member you can be. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Communication

You must communicate clearly and effectively with your managers and colleagues, even if you are not client-facing. All the technical skills in the world are useless without the ability to communicate clearly. All jobs require good person-to-person communication, even if you are in a technical role. This is even more important now with hybrid work models. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

4. Project Management

I believe that project management is one competency that’s absolutely essential for tech roles across all industries. Your tech team should know how to manage their time and work toward measurable goals. If you hire someone who isn’t proficient at managing their time and projects, you could experience delays and unnecessary complications, which can slow everyone down. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

5. Technical Writing

One skill that’s becoming essential for any tech role is technical writing. A big part of this role is conveying information that’s easy to follow and understand for people who aren’t as technically advanced. This helps teams communicate more clearly and effectively, which increases productivity. Not having to hire external writers also saves the company money. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO

6. Problem-Solving

To succeed in tech, it’s crucial to have skills in problem-solving. You’ll come across issues that need fixing and, without the knowledge to work through them, you won’t be able to create a solution. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

7. Research

In years past, a company needed the best and brightest engineers to create components from the ground up. That’s not the case anymore. Technology today is often leveraging existing resources. One must be resourceful by identifying, coordinating and delivering solutions in the most efficient way. This means being excellent at research, discovery and often puzzling existing components together. – Christopher Daden, Daden LLC

8. A Desire to Continue Learning

To succeed in tech, you need to have a basic understanding of existing and emerging technologies. It’s important to sharpen your technical skills so you have a strong foundation before moving on to more complex topics within tech. Reading publications, taking courses and speaking with mentors are great ways to strengthen your IT skills and boost your knowledge. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

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