[Editor's note: This article is part of a series highlighting the most in-demand IT skills in 2021, how job seekers can learn these skills, and how they can stand out in an interview.]
As more companies undergo digital transformation, in-demand IT roles are increasingly shifting to focus on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), data science, user experience, and the Internet of Things (IoT). And thanks to the workplace changes brought about by COVID-19, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and other areas of expertise are primed to be in high demand in 2021 and beyond.
[ What skills are hottest right now? Read also: IT careers: 10 critical skills to master in 2021. ]
Considering the limited pool of professionals with skills in emerging technologies, proficiency in these areas will be a key differentiator across all industries. Professionals with extensive experience in new-age technologies will be able to spearhead digital transformation initiatives within their organizations – helping companies across all industries to navigate a changing digital landscape.
Furthermore, these professionals will enable their organizations to optimize costs, tackle business problems creatively, and adopt more future-centric decision-making processes.
How to build the right skills
IT professionals can always tap into online resources by signing up for free and paid courses in various subject areas; however, the real challenge is finding hands-on experience and exposure.
[ Want more tips? Read also: Virtual interviews: 6 ways to succeed and Zoom tips: 6 ways to make meetings better. ]
Internship, volunteer, and gig work experience will prove significantly valuable for professionals looking to develop both hard and soft skills in a practical environment. Additionally, certificate and higher education programs offer a surefire route to gain skills and hands-on experience. The key is taking initiative and finding ways to continuously learn and develop.
How to stand out
Writing a compelling resume is always a challenge – how do you differentiate yourself on a piece of paper?
Get creative: Include samples of your work, highlight lists of soft and hard skills, even include a QR code or link to an online portfolio. In an interview, don’t be afraid to ask questions and admit to not knowing the answer.
MORE ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND IT SKILLS
Curiosity and resourcefulness are two of the most important skills an IT professional can have. Remember, concrete skills and software can be taught, but knowing how to ask questions, seek help, and find solutions is crucial.
[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]
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