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So, you’re looking for a job in IT. It’s a great field to go into. There are always new opportunities opening up, with more and more businesses depending on it, and the number of specialisms developing means that there’s something to appeal to everyone. But what do you need to know to be noticed by IT recruiters? What are the essential skills you simply cannot do without?

Proving you can do it

One of the great things you should know about IT is that you can do it without a degree. Formal qualifications can be very useful and will open many doors, but what really matters is simply that you can prove your competence, and there are many ways to do that. Due to the ever-changing nature of the field, employers are more interested in recent experience than old qualifications. If you can’t find paid work straight away, find opportunities to volunteer and build up your CV that way.

Essential skills

When you go for a job in IT, the first non-specialist skills most employers will be looking for are the following:

  • Organisation – Even if your technical skills are superb, employers won’t want you if you don’t seem organised. This is because IT workers often have to work unsupervised. It’s why a well-organised CV and a thorough approach at interview are particularly important.
  • Web development – The first thing most IT outsiders think of when they hear the term is the web. Building a few good websites for yourself, your friends or local charities means you have instant calling cards.
  • BI data – It doesn’t matter how good your work is if you can’t translate it into terms people in other departments can understand. Specialist agencies often handle BI data recruitment, precisely because skill in this area is hard for most business owners to assess.
  • Cloud computing – With an increasing number of businesses managing tasks and data sharing through the cloud, employers want you to be able to hit the ground running in this area. Make sure you can talk the talk and, ideally, demonstrate your skills at interview using your phone.
  • Data mining – With data mining and analysis such a big deal in business today, it’s great to have some project work in this area that you can point to in order to prove what you’re capable of.
  • Teamwork – If you’ve studied alone, it can be difficult to demonstrate your ability to work effectively with others – something employers prize highly. Try taking a course that involves team projects or taking on a volunteer project together with local computing group members.

If all this leaves you worrying that you’re never going to make the grade, don’t despair. There may be a lot to learn in IT, but there are also many ways to learn, and many of them are free. If you’re prepared to make the effort then there’s no reason why you can’t turn yourself into a well prepared IT professional.

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