Recent reports indicated a 5% probable dip in hiring intention in the IT sector from October 2019 to March 2020. Moreover, a considerable talent shortage can be expected in the industry by 2021. The reason: survey and trends show that India’s IT professionals are lacking deep and advanced technical expertise required to adapt to rapid changes in the industry.
Additionally, employees will have to marry technical skills with skills such as critical thinking, adaptability, and leadership skills, to meet the future needs of the industry. Do these trends sound alarming? Wait, make way for optimism. Professionals can invest time and effort in making themselves employable in the IT sector. Here are some ways to gear up:
Upgrading and Upskilling
An article in Forbes can’t stress enough on learning– companies want avid learners. The results of The Annual Employability Report, Engineers 2019, too, point to a dire need for up-skilling in the IT industry. As stated in the report, “More than 80% of engineers may be unemployable for any job in the knowledge economy due to the lack of next-gen tech skills.”
The initiative for more in-depth learning is the responsibility of both employees and employers. For example, Singapore-based bank, UOB, has launched a program called ‘Better U’, through which, they train their employees on the latest technology to keep them employable. Employees that have a reputation of being learners are more likely to be offered high-profile projects and new jobs within their organization or their professional networks.
Do this: move beyond basic coding skills, be equipped with deeper skills in AI, ML and, data science.
Keeping Abreast with Industry Trends
Elizabeth Crook, author of Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next, points to the fact that technology and process innovation aren’t limited to one sector anymore; all sorts of industries, from finance to retail, FMCG to staffing are utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence. Hence, do not narrow down your network to one particular stream; explore different areas; chances are, you’ll land up with a relevant and exciting opportunity in a completely new field.
Here’s how to stay up-to-date: industry publications, conferences, social media networking groups, and city-based networking groups are a few of the critical resources that you could use for staying informed about the going on in your specific industry.
Branding Oneself and Resumes
An IT professional may be good at several skills, but that’s not what would impress hiring managers. Instead, professionals brands should be specific, narrowed down, and targeted toward the job roles they’re seeking. When professionals list down their latest and upgraded skillsets on their Linkedin profile, they stand higher chances of getting recruited. Hint: most recruiters search for key skills in the Linkedin search bar, not designations or qualifications.
Let’s get to work:
- List your target employers
- Write a resume that aligns with your target employers needs
- Update Linkedin profile and keep it active
- Highlight key achievements as well as key skills
Being Speedy and Swift
With increased competition, the pace at which work moves has grown tremendously. Apart from being consistent, employers require employees to be fast.
In their book, Speed, leadership development experts John Zenger and Joseph Folkman talk about four types of work performers:
1. Sloth – slow, tedious, poor execution
2. Tortoise – patient, quality focus, excellent execution
3. Hare – frantic, easily distracted, mixed execution
4. Cheetah – high speed, great execution
Which one would you want to be? Most likely, cheetah. Here’s what to do: make quick decisions, move ahead with speed, and take immediate steps to progress.
Developing Emotional Intelligence
EI (emotional intelligence) as an employability skill may not seem as important to employees as it is to employers. What makes EI an important quality? Best selling author, Brian Tracy, elaborates: employees with EI are more likely to comprehend when emotions are influencing their thinking, which helps them make rational and practical choices. Moreover, EI makes assessing the emotional and psychological state of co-workers easier, which is a huge factor when working in teams and in collaboration.
Take cues from the Harvard Business Review with these elements of EI:
- Be self-aware
- Practice self-regulation
- Stay motivated
- Show empathy for others
- Brush up on social skills
These are just a few of the many employability skills that can help engineers, coders, and other IT professionals land their dream jobs. How are you ensuring you remain relevant in the industry? Time to pull up socks, roll up sleeves, and get IT ready.