With the tech industry growing faster than any other in the UK, the CV Squad unpacks which technical and soft skills are the most in demand in this competitive market, and how to transfer skills from one job to another in this booming industry.
On top of a digital skills shortage, retaining highly skilled tech employees is a huge challenge for 50% of businesses in the UK. As the digital capital of Europe, there is a need for exceptionally talented individuals who are not only technically skilled but who can excel in top roles and jobs in the industry too. This is especially true for the tech sector, which is growing at twice the rate of the wider economy.
Top Technologies to Work in
While employers in the UK face a shortage of expert talent, employees in tech can rest easy knowing they are part of the fastest growing industry in the UK, with the greatest need for technically skilled talent.
According to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s report on the UK’s digital skills crisis, if you work in data science, cyber-security or data security, your skills are more desired than all the rest.
A recent report by techUK reveals the top new technologies poised for growth in the next five years:
AREA OF TECH:
PREDICTED MARKET WORTH:
Internet of Things
£5.4tn by 2017
£52.3bn by 2024
|Big data and data analytics
£24.2bn by 2017
5G and associated wireless technologies
40-fold increase by 2018
£21.7bn by 2018
£20.9bn by 2020
Advanced manufacturing, building automation
£37bn by 2018
*All numbers converted from US$ to £ as per rates on 19 December 2017
Tech City UK’s 2017 report found that tech workers get paid more and contribute more to the UK economy than any other industry. Although tech is the fastest-growing industry in the UK, 85% of hard-to-fill positions are difficult to recruit for because of a lack of specialist, technical skills, meaning employees with top skills are hard to find.
The Most In-Demand Tech Skills
Since technology is constantly evolving, new skills and abilities are continuously required to fill new positions, and with almost everything involving a digital component these days, tech employees are required to consistently expand their skill sets to stay relevant.
The world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn, analysed the hiring activity that took place on the platform in 2016 to highlight the 10 top skills most likely to get you a new job in 2017.
Most employable skills:
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
This vital digital skill involves extracting comprehensive information from large databases and analysing it to form statistical conclusions. Jobs include data scientists or analysts, business analysts and statistician data scientists.
- Middleware and Integration Software
In a highly distributed digital environment in which businesses need to connect with several systems, ensuring seamless connectivity is crucial.
- HR Benefits and Compensation
It’s safe to say many employees don’t go to work based on passion, and since we know that money is one of the biggest motivators, the ability to attract and retain talent is a vital skill that employers look for in their HR recruits.
- Web Architecture and Development Framework
Employees with these skills are more than equipped to work as web developers, software engineers, programmers, or project managers.
- Mobile Development
Mobile development expertise for Android or iOS is a top skill preparing you to work as a technical architect, lead software engineer or developer, and project manager.
- Perl, Python, Ruby
These top three scripting languages are very competitive skills among developers and programmers, equipping employees for jobs as software engineers, web-developers, lead engineers, backend developers and front-end engineers.
- SEO/SEM Marketing
Targeting visibility in search engines is one of the most important digital skills in marketing. SEO/SEM skills will make you proficient as a digital marketing manager, online marketing manager, SEO marketing strategist, SEO manager or SEO analyst.
- Network and Information Security
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing digital industries, and as more people demand more secure ways of sharing information, security engineers or analysts, information security analysts, and information security officers are some of the UK’s top jobs.
- Data Presentation
Similar to the job of data analysts, the ability to process, analyse and present complex information is a top skill for employees in tech. If you can use data to make decisions, problem solve and visualise, this top skill will get you hired.
- Data Engineering and Data Warehouse
Being able to understand and perform end-to-end data warehousing architecture, dig through data sources, and perform basic programming skills are beneficial for Britons working in tech.
Interestingly, many of the top skills for the UK were listed as top skills for 2016 and 2015 too, indicating that the digital and tech industries are dominating recruitment. Not only are these skills the most in demand, but they’re likely to remain the most needed skills in the future.
LinkedIn careers expert Catherine Fisher adds, “While some skills expire every couple of years, our data strongly suggests that tech skills will still be needed for years to come, in every industry.”
Upskilling to Stand Out
To stand out in an industry with such a highly skilled talent pool, workers should take the opportunity to upskill themselves in various prominent areas that are vital to the tech industry’s growth.
Easily Transferable Skills & Tools for Tech Industry Workers
CV Squad analysed data to determine which skills and tools are easily transferable to the industry’s top jobs:
1. Project management: PRINCE2, Agile, Scrum
2. IT service management (ITSM): ServiceNow, BMC Remedy
3. Research and analysis of big data: Tableau, NoSQL, and Apache Hadoop
5. Sales: Oracle, Salesforce CRM
6. Content marketing: JSON, SEMrush, BuzzSumo, WordPress, Canva
7. UX design: SEO, HTML, CSS, Adobe Creative Suite, CMS knowledge (e.g. WordPress)
Don’t Neglect Soft Skills
Top organisations want to hire leaders – those who can speak confidently, listen well, make decisions based on critical analysis, and lead by example. But, unlike hard skills, which can be proven and measured, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify, so organisations are on the lookout for this rare combination of skills.
Recruitment expert at the CV Squad, Ben Muir, adds: “Soft skills are especially valuable in tech jobs that have team-based work and collaborative working. While technical skills are needed to excel in a role, soft skills are often overlooked, especially in more technical jobs where an emphasis is placed on technical knowledge. But, in the fast-paced, intense nature of the tech industry, working well with others is non-negotiable, thus, these soft skills are valuable in treading a modern office.”
These are the top soft skills for employees:
• Deal-making and meeting skills
• Presentation and negotiation skills
• Communication skills
• Time management
• Analytical thinking
• Ergonomic sensitivity
• Leadership skills
• Teaching, mentoring and knowledge sharing
• Flexibility and adaptability
• Innovation and creativity
• Being a team player that can work well collaboratively
The soft skills listed above are related to your character – employers want employees who possess and can display emotional intelligence in the workplace, which is based on your awareness, sensitivity, and ability to connect with people.
According to the CV Squad’s Justin Roach, who specialises in recruitment in the tech industry: “Aside from much-needed technical skills, recruiters and businesses are struggling to find technically skilled candidates with the soft skills to match. The sector too often focuses on the hyper-technical knowledge of this highly experienced group, and less so on communication and leadership skills. These soft skills are crucial when climbing the corporate ladder from a purely technical role to a more senior one – and since soft skills are learnt, not taught, they should be a focus for employees, businesses, and the tech industry at large.”