As the technological landscape continues to evolve, the types of IT jobs employers are now hiring for has changed as well. For example, Mainframe, DB2, and VB.NET were once considered to be the main programming languages to perfect. However, an increasing number of companies are now moving toward more open source, opening the door for candidates with experience using Java or Python.
Bryan Luther, a Senior Technical Recruiter for The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division in Boston, has witnessed firsthand the shift in the skills employers are looking for in prospective candidates. “Whether you’re looking for ways to stay competitive in today’s job market or looking to make a job change in the near future, now is the perfect time to position your skill set for IT jobs in demand,” recommends Bryan. As the skills shortage continues to impact a number of industries, if you’re vying for IT jobs, it’s important to do your due diligence to be a competitive candidate.
Before starting your job search, think about the following three areas to ensure you stand out as a prospective candidate:
Programming languages in demand
As companies continue to incorporate AI/Machine Learning, Big Data, and Data Analytics into more web-based projects, certain programming languages have become more in demand for certain IT jobs than others. “Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, Platform as a Service (PaaS), eCommerce websites, and companies using cloud-based technology are just a few types of employers looking to hire candidates with a particular skill set,” says Bryan.
Technical aptitude tests to look out for
Before employers invest in you as a new hire, most of them want to assess your coding proficiency skills to ensure you can excel in your role. This could mean demonstrating your understanding of core computer science fundamentals (i.e., algorithms, data structure, etc.) or explaining object-oriented programming principles. “Whether you’re pursuing temporary assignments or a full-time opportunity, at some point during the interview stages, technical aptitude tests will be used to evaluate your programming skills,” warns Bryan. “To weed out unqualified candidates, employers will also use these tests to see how quickly you are able to pick up technologies as they relate to your core responsibilities.” Keep in mind, these assessments may not always be language specific. If this is the case, they may be better understood as Quantitative Analysis or Logic based.
Soft skills to emphasize
While strong programming skills are a prerequisite for almost every IT role, possessing the right soft skills are just as important to show why you are the best candidate for many IT jobs. “Too often, IT professionals lose out on opportunities because they emphasize the wrong soft skills during their interviews,” says Bryan. “During the interview phases, you should try to be as personable as possible with your interviewer. For example, being overly confident is one quality that tends to hurt IT professionals.” Apart from knowing basic information about the company and what they do, it’s also important to express an openness to learning new technology as well as demonstrate effective problem-solving skills.