Information technology is one of the most dynamic job sectors of today. Thanks to new and forward-thinking work methodologies and evolving hardware and software, things never stop moving in the IT sector.

If you think you don’t have the skills or the experience to become an IT professional, you might be happy to learn that there are ways to change that. To start, you need a thirst for knowledge and a passion for self-improvement. 

IT skills can be learned quickly as training resources are widely available, and there are many ways to build up your work experience. We’ll show you where and how to start honing your tech skills and which areas of expertise are highly sought-after today. With plenty of hard work, this time next year, you could be a successful IT professional too.

Demystifying Information Technology Skills

IT professionals’ skills most often include developing and maintaining new and existing software, and everything in between. IT professionals are software project managers, cloud programmers, UI designers, technical researchers, HR technical specialists, and much more. Tech experts have the top IT skills in coding software, data analysis, software and hardware installation and maintenance, or working with customers to resolve IT-related issues.

You’ll often hear about hard and soft skills in the IT sector, especially on any IT resume. Knowing what they are is instrumental when you’re applying for entry-level information technology jobs, and you’ll need both kinds on your way to becoming an IT professional. 

“Hard” skills, or technical skills, are profession-specific work-related skills; in the IT sector, they’re the knowledge and tricks you have up your sleeve about software and hardware. Coding in the C++ language is an IT hard skill, as is designing a UI for Android apps or installing and optimizing operating systems.

Soft skills stem from your personal traits and help you do your job better, work effectively within a team, and are not specific to any profession. Communication, creativity, multi-tasking, leadership, problem solving, or resourcefulness are some of the soft skills we all possess in varying degrees and can perfect during our lifetimes.

Both types of skills can be improved easier than ever, thanks to YouTube and many online learning academies. Completing courses and getting IT certificates is something anyone can do; nonetheless, while finding learning material online may be easy, perfecting your technical IT skills is an entirely different matter. The IT field is changing every day, and so is the need to constantly evaluate your knowledge and learn new things to stay on top of your game.

Learning an entirely new set of tech skills is not reserved for newcomers: IT professionals can constantly expand their knowledge, too, so long as they’re prepared to learn and experiment with what they know. The demand for specific tech skills is constantly changing, and to stay in the IT waters, you have to stay informed.

In-Demand IT Skills

Tech skills are constantly in high demand, so it makes sense to include one or several of them in your learning plans. However, the exact skills companies are looking for keep changing over time, and we will strive to keep this list updated.

Cybersecurity Professionals

Cybersecurity specialists remained the unsung IT heroes until the pandemic brought a record-breaking rise in cybercrime. While the threat from viruses and phishing attacks was high before the pandemic, it rose even further when people moved to work from home. Most companies also update their cybersecurity systems at a snail’s pace, leaving them open to increasingly sophisticated hacking attempts.

Today, the demand for cyber security analyst IT skills is very high, and it’s no wonder: The overall cost of cyberattacks in 2021 is expected to rise to $6 trillion. Cybersecurity professionals are needed for protecting every network out there, be it a governmental or a business one.

Software Developers and Engineers

Coding skills were, and always will be, at the center of the IT sector. No IT project can reach a milestone without back-end and front-end programmers to finish the job. At least one object-oriented programming language needs to be on every coder’s basic IT skills list. Therefore, proficiency in C++, C#, Python, and Java are the staple requirements in almost any IT company.

Whether you are a Junior Java Developer or a Senior Python Engineer, you’ll find your skills put to good use. However, always be ready to learn new programming languages, either on the job or through freelance projects, to stay competitive in the career market.

Cloud Computing Architects and Engineers

From its modest roots in the 2000s, cloud computing has grown to such a level that it is interwoven with nearly all IT skills. Its definition means working to save data in real-time in cloud storage units. Thanks to the advent of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), cloud computing is an indispensable tech skill today.

With the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud architects and engineers have more work than ever before. Not only that, but cloud computing professions have some of the highest salaries in the IT field, since these skills can be used in nearly any other IT profession.

AI and Machine Learning Engineers and Developers

Here’s one of the more interesting IT skills examples: Go to Youtube, click on a video, and you’ll see a list of recommendations that are based on a highly advanced algorithm. Such algorithms promote personalized online content to users practically everywhere, and they’re all based on the work of machine learning engineers, who use lines of code to create learning systems.

Artificial intelligence is experiencing a renaissance, since more corporations are investing in researching and developing increasingly advanced AI. Machine learning is an essential step to building an AI, and while both markets had slower growth during the pandemic, these computer-learning IT skills are here to stay.

Data Analysts and Engineers

With so much data collection going on, it’s getting harder and harder to process any of it in a way that results in meaningful insights. In fact, every year, the standing records for data creation and consumption get surpassed. The International Data Corporation estimates that over 59 zettabytes of data were created in 2020. This number will be 175 zettabytes by 2025.

The need for Data Analysts and Big Data engineers has never been higher. Due to sheer demand, many consider data analytics one of the best IT skills to learn. These IT professionals use advanced data processing and visualizations tools to compile endless columns of data into easily understood, bite-sized reports. Judging by the current trends in global data consumption, the importance of data analysts and engineers will only grow.

Adapt and Evolve Your Skillset

Today, it’s easier to acquire tech skills than ever before. You can watch many high-quality videos on the subject online, often for free. IT books and online academies have many courses for tech skills with globally accepted certificates you can partake in. You can also apply for volunteering projects and programming as a form of IT skills training.