Want to be marketable? Consider sharpening these in-demand competencies.
Computerworld’s 2016 Forecast study has identified the hottest skills for IT professionals. The top five include IT architecture (42 percent of IT hiring managers seek this skill), application development (40 percent), project management (39 percent), big data (36 percent), and business intelligence/analytics (34 percent). And business intelligence and app development rank #2 and #4 in the list of the most difficult skills to find. Let’s look at how current or would-be IT professionals can up their game in these areas.
Learning how software and systems are built has never been easier. In a blog for Robert Half Technology, Jerry Clinesmith advised prospective architects to read and write as much code as possible. Through open source, you can find projects you’re interested in and study the code. “Look at how things are broken into classes, access patterns, and think through the overall structure of the project,” he said.
In terms of creating code from scratch, the only way to get better is through practice. “Take a single idea and rewrite it using different styles, languages, and techniques,” said Clinesmith. “Write it once using classes, another in a purely functional manner, etc. You’ll learn what works best and how to solve problems in different ways.”
Keep your knowledge of front-end, back-end, distributed systems, and storage fresh, and don’t forget to pow wow with other architects. “Attend local user groups and conferences, talk to other developers about what they’re working on,” suggested Clinesmith.
No one will tell you that a degree in computer science or software engineering isn’t useful to acquire app dev skills. But it’s not absolutely necessary either. There are now a variety of courses and certifications available – online and offline – for different aspects of development. Mobile apps, obviously, are stratospheric at the moment and a great space to be in.
As with IT architecture, the best way to prove that you’re marketable as an application developer is to actually build something. Before you can, though, you’ll need a solid understanding of user interface design, multiple programming languages, and the business reasons companies build apps in the first place.
Once you’ve started a project, JavaWorld writer Andrew Oliver recommended writing your own documentation. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked on a project, only to be pulled into an executive meeting because I wrote a document or presentation they saw and understood. What most managers want to know is: who can drive this to completion and won’t BS me about how it’s going?” You want to get accustomed to writing this way so that you’ll appeal to the people who make hiring decisions.
For the rest, check out QuickBase's Fast Track blog.