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Essential Skills in Technology for Career Advancement in 2024

Working in tech is hard.

Not only because it’s literally changing daily, but because it requires an unusually wide variety of skills. In case you want to be successful in it, of course. You may think that it’s just “technical skills” you need to possess… well, you’re wrong.

In this article I’m going over what technical skills are essentials in my opinion, and also take a look on the not-so-obvious soft skills too that you need to crush in your career in IT.


  • Understanding and proficiency in core technical skills (like programming languages, and data analysis techniques) are critical for many careers within the tech industry.

  • Emerging technologies such as AI, ML, cybersecurity, and cloud computing are the leading fields.

  • Technical skills need to be complemented by strong project management abilities and soft skills like communication and leadership. They are essential for team collaboration and overall success in tech roles.

Decoding technical skills in the tech industry

Illustration of a person using technology skills to program and analyze data

In the realm of mechanics, IT, mathematics, and science, technical skills are at the heart of real-world applications.

They’re your ticket to perform specific tasks, handle complex projects, and adapt to new technologies. But don’t be fooled into thinking they’re only relevant for hardcore programmers or data analysts. From audio engineers to UX designers, tech skills have taken center stage across a variety of professions within the tech industry.

Some basic technical skills like programming, data analysis, and project management, are common among various sub-fields.

They hold weight across different fields within the tech sector, making them an invaluable asset to your professional toolkit.

Let’s explore these core areas further…

Core computer science fundamentals

Behind every efficient software is a robust algorithm, a clear set of instructions that solve specific problems.

This systematic approach to problem-solving is fundamental to effective software development.

If you think of software developers as skilled linguists, coding is their language. Their fluency in coding languages enables them to translate human-readable instructions into computer-executable code.

Here are the most widely used programming languages (by professional devs) in order of their popularity:

  1. JavaScript


  3. SQL

  4. Python

  5. Java

  6. C#

  7. C++

  8. PHP

  9. C

  10. Go

  11. Rust

  12. Kotlin

  13. Ruby

Yeah, I left out the shell ones, as they’re just… well, for shells; and also TypeScript, as it’s just a superset of JS.

These languages are widely used in the software development industry and offer different features and capabilities.

So why proficiency in programming languages is so important?

Picture this – you’re at a party but can’t communicate with anyone because you don’t speak their language.

That’s exactly what it’s like for tech professionals who aren’t proficient in programming languages. From developing diverse software solutions to communicating effectively with computers, fluency in multiple programming languages is a must-have.

But how do you become fluent? Well, online or in-person courses teaching fundamental coding languages like:

  • HTML

  • CSS

  • Python

  • PHP

  • Javascript

can contribute greatly to building a robust technical skill set. These are among the easiest ones, and they basically build up the biggest part of the web…

Next, we’ll move our focus to data analysis techniques.

Mastery of data analysis techniques

Data science and analytics are the game-changers in our data-driven world.

Their ability to transform large volumes of data into actionable insights plays a critical role in business decision-making.

Effective data analysts must demonstrate proficiency in processing, managing, storing, and distilling vast amounts of data into valuable datasets. And if you’re looking to unlock rewarding career opportunities in technology, you can’t skip proficiency in Big Data techniques, including data mining.

Mastering tools like Microsoft Excel, Power BI, Tableau, Python, and Apache Spark can give you a competitive edge in presenting data compellingly.

The critical skill set for emerging technologies

Illustration of cybersecurity professional protecting computer systems

Just as a superhero needs a unique set of powers to save the world, working with emerging technologies requires a unique set of technical skills.

Some essential skills include:

  • Cybersecurity

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Machine learning

  • Cloud deployment

Take Robotic Process Automation (RPA), for instance. I must admit that I heard about first a few days ago while I researched this article… This field focuses on automating repetitive tasks, enhancing efficiency and lowering error rates across sectors.

Or consider blockchain technology, which has extended its applications beyond cryptocurrencies and provides a significant advantage in the technology sector.

Shall we explore these superpowers in more depth?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning know-how

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the superheroes of the tech world.

Especially the pace of new AI developments seem to be unstoppable these days. If you want to stay on top of the news, you better find trusted news curators who can show you what’s worth your attention. My favorite curator is Matt Wolfe, he’s worth a check if you want to stay informed in AI topics:

These fields are transforming technology sectors and creating a rising demand for professionals with expertise in these fields.

AI is a wide field with various technologies and capabilities, like:

  • Generative AI, which focuses on how systems interpret data and generate probability-based outputs

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP), which enables machines to communicate with humans

  • Data science capabilities, which play a crucial role in managing the large datasets encountered in AI projects

  • The ability to create sophisticated algorithms for machine learning, which lays the foundation for AI development and enables predictive analytics and data-driven decision-making.

With the machine learning as a service (MLaaS) market expected to surge at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 43% through 2024.

Can you see the demand for such expertise here?

Cloud computing expertise

Cloud computing is another superhero skill highly sought after in the tech job market, especially in platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

From configuring and deploying to securing and managing cloud solutions, your cloud computing skill set should cover it all.

With organizations shifting their IT systems to the cloud, skills in cloud deployment and migration across different platforms like AWS and Azure are in high demand.

For learning AWS, I’ve found Stephane Maarek’s learning materials especially useful.

But let’s move on. Given the sensitivity of business data stored and retrieved from the cloud, cybersecurity expertise is a massive demand in this field.

So let’s talk about it next.

Cybersecurity skills for protecting computer systems

Cybersecurity expertise is more than just a skill nowadays – it’s a shield.

With the rising threat of cyberattacks, a solid IT and networking foundation is essential for security roles.

Cybersecurity skills encompass:

  • Information security

  • Risk analysis

  • Cybersecurity analytics

  • Penetration testing

  • Compliance

Expertise in network security and awareness of database vulnerabilities is a highly important to protect computer systems.

These skills are key competencies for positions such as IBM Cybersecurity Analyst.

Project management skills in technology projects

Effective project management is a critical skill in technology projects.

Agile project management is a powerful methodology and an iterative approach focusing on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

Scrum, a subset of Agile, is a structured approach that revolves around short work cycles known as ‘sprints’. Combining Scrum’s structure with Kanban’s flexibility results in Scrumban, a framework that allows teams to adapt to changing priorities with ease. With Kanban, tasks are visualized through a board format, making tracking and organization of work progress a breeze.

Project planning, scoping, and task management skills are absolutely necessary for the efficient and successful delivery of projects.

From preparing comprehensive project briefs to conducting effective kickoff meetings, leading tech projects requires a robust skillset.

Enhancing your digital marketing capabilities

Mastering digital marketing capabilities can give you a significant edge.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for online visibility, requiring knowledge of keywords, optimized content, meta tags, and backlinks.

Creating and curating engaging content is a must for inbound marketing strategies and customer engagement. A solid digital strategy and understanding of the target audience, customer base, and competition are vital if you want to effectively implement business strategies. Proficiency in MarTech tools like Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Hootsuite streamlines processes and optimizes marketing activities.

Additionally, the power of social media cannot be ignored.

Skills in the following areas are highly prized:

  • Customer engagement

  • Customer service

  • Marketing promotions

  • Data analytics

Expertise in search marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can help target high-intent customers and achieve a return on investment.

Building technical communication skills

Technical communication serves as a bridge between the sender and the reader.

This helps the reader achieve a goal or task through the information provided. Understanding the audience’s needs, what they aim to achieve, and how to help them reach their goals with the simplest and clearest explanation is key to effective technical communication.

Technical writing is essential for making complex information comprehensible.

Clear and accurate information sharing ensures that the information is shared accurately and understood clearly, minimizing reliance on jargon.

To start learning writing on the internet, I recommend my kind mentor, Nicolas Cole’s content. I assembled and organized all of his publicly available materials, so you can start to dive in even easier:

So as you see, technical communication is a fundamental skill in various sectors, including information design, instructional design, and marketing.

Navigating the job market: listing technical skills on resumes

In the competitive job market, strategically incorporating the keyword “list technical skills” on your resume can make all the difference.

Here’s how to do it effectively:

  1. Critical technical skills should appear first, followed by general skills

  2. From your technical skills include only the ones that are relevant to the current position you’re applying

  3. Clearly indicate the proficiency level of each skill to potential employers

  4. Illustrate these skills with specific examples that include measurable results. By following these guidelines, you can showcase your technical skills and demonstrate how they have been applied in real-world projects.

Also, be sure to include information about yourself and your other, non-technical character traits as well. As my mentor stated in his tweet, employers often care more about how good you are as a team member, and your capability to learn:

What I care about is what type of person you are.

Here are the 5 character traits I look out for:

• I want to know if you have an “owner mentality,” or a “follower mentality”

• I want to know if you’re confident in your abilities, but also open and humble enough to learn

• I want to know how you handle conflicts, how big your ego is, and whether or not I can trust you to make good, genuine decisions

• I want to know who you are as a person.

• And most of all, whether or not you’re teachable

Nicolas Cole

With the demand for IT skills evolving, there is a significant need for professionals skilled in technical support, networking, and a good team member’s character traits.

Strategies to improve technical skills for career growth

Enhancement of advanced technical skills is a continuous process.

It starts with identifying your career goals, which guides you towards skills that match your aspirations. Next comes a structured plan that itemizes the skills, methods of acquisition, timelines for completion, and available resources.

Whether it’s through online courses on platforms like MIT open courseware, Code Academy, Udemy, and Coursera, or training courses offered by employers, building valuable technical skills is within your reach.

Some skills that can be acquired include:

  • Programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++

  • Web development skills like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

  • Data analysis and visualization using tools like Excel, SQL, and Tableau

  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence

  • Cybersecurity and network administration

Some skills can be acquired on the job while others might need a more formal approach, like enrolling in relevant courses and training.

Identifying personal interests and career goals

The first step in determining the technical skills you need is to identify your career goals.

This will help you align your skill development with your professional aspirations. It directs learners to skills that align with their aspirations.

In multi-faceted fields, narrowing down career goals allows you to hone in on specific roles you’re interested in.

This then helps you prioritize learning the technical skills associated with those roles.

Engaging in continuous learning and certification

Ongoing learning and certification pave the way for professional growth.

Peer-supported environments like developer, programmer, and designer clubs provide a platform for professionals to engage with each other and facilitate continuous learning.

Participation in these clubs offers opportunities to improve your technical skills through collaboration and shared knowledge.

Continuous peer-supported education helps technology professionals stay competitive and advance in their careers.

Keeping up with industry trends and technology tools

Tech industry evolves rapidly, so staying up-to-date of industry trends and technology tools is a necessity.

Professionals in the IT industry for 2024 must proactively seek to acquire new skills to remain competitive.

Harnessing soft skills alongside technical expertise

Technical expertise is only one side of the coin.

The other side? Soft skills.

They enhance the ability to collaborate and lead effectively within teams, making technology skills and technical skills important as well as vital in the tech industry.

In technology project management, soft skills such as:

  • Communication

  • Time management

  • Teamwork

  • Leadership

  • Problem-solving

  • Adaptability

are all vital. The higher you go on company hierarchy to managerial and executive levels, the higher the emphasis on soft skills will be.


These are essential for leading teams and ensuring operational success.

Collaborative skills contribute to positive employee morale and the ability to work with diverse teams, which is a sign of strong leadership ability in the tech field.

Career opportunities unlocked by technical skills

Technical skills open the door to a myriad of opportunities!

From the education sector to the media and entertainment industry, technical skills have created a see of career opportunities.

The advancement of artificial intelligence alone has led to the creation of 2.8 million jobs by 2020, showing significant demand for tech professionals across the AI field.

And let’s not forget the predicted increase of 186,600 job openings for application developers by 2024, a clear indication of the demand within software development.

There are lots of worrying about AI taking away jobs in the tech field. Let me tell you something:

As long as you’re a great team member who’s capable of thinking and making good decisions, your job is not at risk of being replaced by AI.

And how to be that kind of person?

Learn how to avoid the biggest mistakes IT professionals make in their career from my free 5-day email course here:

The Tech Leap Accelerator: how to avoid being replaced AI in your tech job


From core computer science fundamentals to cybersecurity skills, from project management to digital marketing capabilities, from technical communication skills to strategies for improving technical skills, this blog post has covered it all!

Remember, technical skills are your ticket to career advancement in the tech industry.

So, stay curious, keep learning, and most importantly, never stop growing.

The world of technology awaits you!

Frequently Asked Questions

To improve your technical skills for career growth in the tech industry, consider your career goals and interests, engage in continuous learning and certification, and stay updated on industry trends and technology tools. This will help you advance in your career.

Critical technical skills for working with emerging technologies include proficiency in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud deployment, all of which are essential for success in this rapidly changing field.

List your technical skills on your resume by strategically ordering them, with critical skills appearing first and indicating proficiency levels. Support each skill with specific examples that show measurable results.

Soft skills are just as essential as technical expertise in the tech industry, as they improve collaboration and leadership within teams.

Having technical skills can open up career opportunities in various industries, including AI, education, healthcare, retail, transportation, and media and entertainment. So, honing technical skills can significantly broaden your career prospects.

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