Soft Skills for IT Success: A Report from the Industry

Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s Bioscience and Information Technology Industry Association, and Bridge Technical Talent, an IT staffing agency, released the report “Enter IT RI” on the skills that are most important for professionals in IT in Rhode Island. The “Enter IT RI” report surveyed hiring trends since 2013 and pulled information on technical and workplace readiness among young professionals. This continues our review of the findings.

Students need to be ready for the workplace. “Employer-readiness” is a concern that New England Institute of Technology is tackling head-on. Soft skills such as communication, organization, teamwork and work ethic are crucial in the technology workforce. Preparing students in school can make a big difference.

New England Tech received a grant from the Davis Foundation in 2014 in order to help students become employer-ready. By reviewing and altering course syllabi, New England Tech incorporated new ways for students to interact outside the classroom. Helping students become more independent learners allows them to transfer that drive to the workplace. The time in class became more focused on group projects and communication skills that graduates could apply toward career advancement. As one respondent from an IT company explained:

“We look for people that have excellent work ethic and communication skills.

We provide all specialized training.

We look for people who are eager to learn and grow and who are comfortable with constant change.”

Businesses want employees who will work hard and keep learning — especially as the IT industry continues to grow and change. The report found that employees who had technical skills but could also demonstrate soft skills and a history of some Project Management academic work had a better chance of developing successful careers.

Many companies hire entry-level applicants with an eye toward these employees building careers in-house. Do you demonstrate a strong work ethic, an ability to communicate effectively, and curiosity? workers. Such attributes are in demand at the higher management level positions, which require significant interaction across teams and company departments.

The complexity of IT projects is increasing the need for the skilled Project Manager. While this position requires understanding the technical requirements for each task, it more importantly calls for excellent communication and organization skills. Currently, only 28% of the “Enter IT RI” respondents have Project Managers on staff. Companies know how important this role is; 60% of respondents planned to hire Project Managers in the next 2 years.

Those working at the management level need to communicate the project’s process to others. Most companies expect these employees to use PowerPoint (67%) and SharePoint (89%) as the means for transferring information. These briefing tools explain in simple, clear steps how the project is doing to the organizational chain of command.

At New England Institute of Technology, the Master of Science in Information Technology Program recognizes the importance of these business and management skills. Courses are designed to cover technical topics as well as the necessary business strategies, behaviors and characteristics that contribute to success.

Learn more about how New England Tech can help you become a successful part of the growing IT field.

Enroll today and get your MSIT.

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