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Six Must-Have IT Skills

Six Must-Have IT Skills

R. Marc Phillips

March 05, 2009

The skills required for technology jobs vary widely from one position to another, but are some technical skills worth acquiring, no matter what your area of expertise?

Absolutely. That’s clear from a review of Monster job ads for various technical positions. Listings for network engineers sometimes call for HTML skills. Help-desk jobs may require documentation skills. Programmers often need to know how networks operate. And just about any tech job may require proficiency in Microsoft Office.

Employers want techies who demonstrate versatility, says Matt Colarusso, branch manager of national recruiting and strategic accounts at IT staffing service Sapphire Technologies. “They’re looking for a more well-rounded individual," he explains.

With that in mind, here are six must-have tech skills:

1. Quality Assurance

The quality assurance (QA) process is central to developing software and systems. While QA can be a job in and of itself, many organizations rely on developers, support professionals and others to handle QA. If you don’t know anything about it, you’re shortchanging your career prospects. “I think it’s important for every techie to have a sound QA background,” Colarusso says.

2. Documentation

Producing documentation isn’t just for technical writers. Support professionals, coders and other IT workers must often document their processes and products for other technology pros, customers and nontechie colleagues. Techies with sharp documentation skills have an edge.

3. Databases

“The database is at the foundation of most software projects,” says Sergio Faissol, director of engineering at AdviceAmerica, a financial planning software company. Therefore, the more you learn about databases, the more you’ll be able to contribute to projects with databases at their center. Support professionals often field calls from nontechnical users about databases, while developers must often design software to work with databases.

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