IT skills: Why communication is key in 2021

In times of great change, strong communication skills are essential. Here's why – and how to develop them
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[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.]

Today’s evolving IT landscape and the disruption we all experienced over the past year have made communication skills more important than ever. For new IT hires, the ability to communicate and build partnerships with all departments is critical.

Mass automation leads to mass change, and this can be challenging at scale. We are an Robotic Process Automation (RPA) company, and intelligent automation is at the heart of our IT strategy. For this reason, we hire people who are exceptional at communicating and partnering with their peers as well as others across the organization.

[ What skills are hottest right now? Read also: IT careers: 10 critical skills to master in 2021. ]

Change is possible only if you are able to get buy-in from others, and strong communication skills are a big part of achieving that goal. These skills will help also help drive your digital transformation initiatives.

Remember that change management and enablement must be a company-wide effort. When IT professionals develop great communication strategies and plans, change programs will run more efficiently, with lower costs and faster ROI.

How to build communication skills

Upskilling is very important to your team members’ growth, development, and career prospects. As an IT leader, I focus much of my time on continuing to upskill my team.

When it comes to communication skills, IT professionals should think about what a communication plan might look like. Identify what communication methods (presentations, lunch-and-learns, webinars) you find to be most effective and aim to find opportunities to grow your comfort level in each one.

For leaders, highlight the effectiveness of what and how IT team members communicate as part of a large change program and use feedback to make improvements. Discuss with your team which communication skills to develop and how to do this most effectively. Consider approaches such as coaching from others, implementing feedback and practice sessions, and developing a strategy to improve communications.

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

Kapil Vyas is the Head of IT and Information Security at Automation Anywhere, where he has built a diverse and high performing global team with ownership of Internal digital automation, core IT infrastructure, corporate information security and IT support. He has over 20 years of management and technology experience.