7 Essential Skills Needed To Develop a Career in IT

Posted by: guestblogger at October 17th, 2012

The Information Technology (IT) field is booming thanks to the growth of the Internet and the vast expansion of all kinds of software tools and computing equipment. There has never been a better time to be thinking of entering the IT field. However, in addition to having the proper education and training, there are a number of skills which will be essential to developing a strong IT career. Many of these may be developed along the way, but you should certainly pay attention to the direction and focus you have in relation to these essential skills.



One of the most important skills anyone in the IT field needs is the ability to work as part of a team. Unless you are working for a very small company, you will not be the only member of the IT staff. So, you simply must learn how to “play well with others” and become a part of a team. Developing this skill involves putting your own ego aside and focusing on getting the job or project done in a way which is best for your company or client.

While each member of the team might have a specific role, this does not mean that you should only focus on your own. In fact, if you want to progress through the ranks, it would be helpful to learn the roles of other key players on the team. Offer to support them in their roles in any way you can. The more insight you can gain into how everything functions and works together, the more valuable you will become to the team.

IT Certification

While this may not technically fit under the category of a skill, if you really want to be taken seriously as an IT professional, you must have certification. Which ones you need will be dependent upon what areas you would like to pursue. If you want to be a system administrator, then the MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) is one of the top certifications to earn. If you wish to work with routers and Internet architecture, then one of the Cisco certifications would be highly valuable.

Doing your own research (such as interviewing someone in a position you would like to have in the future) is essential. You should also have a good general idea of the possible career paths you might be qualified for with such certifications.

Time Management


Working in the IT field demands an ability to manage your time wisely. Depending on the specific job you have in IT, there may be clients who need to have urgent problems fixed or bosses who need particular work done at a moment’s notice. You may feel like you are always rushing to put out fires and calm nerves. Get used to it — this is normal for an IT professional. When people have issues with their computers and equipment, it is an urgent problem because it interferes with their work. Knowing how to prioritize and get things done in an efficient manner is crucial to your success.


This is very important if you ever plan to manage a team of others. Since the IT field is so accessible these days, you may have opportunities to lead even before you ascend to management positions. You simply must learn how to reach out to people, motivate them and hold them accountable for assigned tasks.


Working in the IT field also demands a certain sense of creativity, particularly as it takes the form of problem solving. Being creative helps you to think about ways to solve problems and issues that even your bosses may not have considered. Showing creativity and imagination is also an excellent way to stand out from the crowd.

Thinking Like A CEO

To one day lead and manage others, you need to start learning how to think like a CEO. This means taking a big picture overview of your job and the tasks which need to be accomplished. A great way to go about developing such a mindset is to consider your department or team as an entire division with you responsible for managing and controlling that division.



You never know when the next person you meet might turn into a key contact. Since the IT field is so fluid, always be on the lookout to meet new people and develop new relationships. This could turn into a key skill that lands you the position of your dreams!

These seven skills are essential for developing and furthering your IT career. Pay close attention to them and always be thinking about how to improve yourself and you will have a bright future.


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