Tech careers: Hiring tips for candidates and leaders

Whether you're a job hunter looking for your next tech opportunity or you're an IT leader looking to retain talent, consider this CIO's advice
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Tech careers are hotter than ever these days, but candidates still need to stand out in this competitive field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology-related jobs will grow much faster than jobs in most other fields over the next decade. So, what does an ideal candidate look like at a startup or a large established corporation?

For job-seekers

Celebrate your story

You don’t necessarily need to have a four-year computer science degree to land a gig as a software engineer. Many companies welcome candidates who come from non-traditional backgrounds and offer development and training programs to maximize their skill sets. But you do need to tell them who you are and what skills you can bring to the table – in a brief and compelling manner.

Show openness to learning both old and new technologies

Take it upon yourself to learn new and old technologies. Many companies are undergoing broad transformation, and while knowledge of the latest tech is key, you’ll fare better if you also understand some of the legacy technologies that many companies still use. By demonstrating intellectual curiosity, you’ll set yourself apart and boost your marketability as a technologist.

[What tech skills are most valuable now for IT job hunters? Read also: Open source IT jobs in 2021: 15 statistics.]

Walk the talk

Don’t be afraid to engage in healthy debates with co-workers/interviewees. Senior leaders will often present opportunities for you to showcase your skills as a technologist.

Be the (respectful) squeaky wheel

Employers are looking for technologists who want to constantly grow and improve. They aren’t just looking for candidates who can write software code – they want people with a bottomless well of curiosity who are willing to challenge themselves, learn new skills, and share their knowledge with their colleagues. Technologists with a sense of purpose and the confidence to make their voice heard and challenge the status quo – and the humility to accept constructive feedback – have the potential to become valuable teammates and leaders.

Tap creative resources

If you’re searching for a technology role at a particular organization, go beyond the company’s careers page and look for online resources to help you gain insights into their culture, tech efforts, and recruitment programs. In addition, make sure you are active on LinkedIn – follow companies and leaders you admire to get the latest news from their organizations and learn where your skills might find the best fit.

For CIOs and IT leaders

Create opportunities for your team to shine

To retain strong teams, it’s equally important to create opportunities for technologists to shine and propel their careers within your organization. Leaders should invest in their employees to help build the skills necessary for their growth.

Support junior staff

Invite them to executive meetings and actively engage with them while they are in the room. This dialogue is beneficial to everyone, helping to break down groupthink and exposing both junior and senior employees to new perspectives.

[Want more hiring advice? Read also: Remote hiring: 4 essential tips for leaders.]

These experiences also help junior employees understand the larger objectives driving their day-to-day work. Make sure that early-career technologists are equipped with the skills needed for today and tomorrow with accessible training opportunities. For example, at JPMorgan Chase, we have a boot camp called Tech Connect that trains people without a computer science background in the skills they’ll need for a career in tech.

Prepare and train mid-level and senior staff

Provide mid-career technologists with leadership training. Building strong leaders will help inspire teams. JPMorgan Chase’s PowerUp program brings together top technologists for live training and hands-on labs to help grow and sustain our leaders.

It’s important to give employees opportunities to lead and make decisions on their own, beyond just investing in and training them. Allow your team to try, fail, and learn from these moments so they can evolve professionally. Employees who feel empowered to take the lead are more likely to stay with your organization.

Consider workplace culture

To retain tech talent, CIOs must look beyond pay and perks – you should offer a workplace that accommodates employees’ personal priorities and has a clear path for upward mobility. Top leaders continue to attract, retain, and grow talent by considering this new reality day-in, day-out.

Whether you’re looking for your next IT opportunity or looking for candidates, technology is a challenging career that makes a tangible impact in people’s lives, and opportunities are only going to increase.

[Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice.]

Gill Haus is the Chief Information Officer for Consumer & Community Banking (Chase) at JPMorgan Chase.