Council Post: 16 Special Skills, Traits And Backgrounds Tech Companies Love In New Talent

A career in technology can lead to outstanding opportunities, especially in the current marketplace, where more and more companies are leveraging tech solutions. While today’s tech professionals can launch a career in nearly any industry, many prefer to join tech product or services companies to have a direct impact on designing and building the tech that will revolutionize the world of tomorrow. And a career with a tech company isn’t limited to tech specialists. As in any industry, tech companies need a variety of specialties and skills to operate and grow.

So what are the skills and traits that will put job seekers at the top of the call-back list when tech-focused companies are hiring? Leading-edge “hard” tech skills such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and DevOps are always in demand, but there are other backgrounds and abilities that tech companies prize—and some of them may surprise you. Below, 16 tech leaders from Forbes Technology Council share specific areas of expertise, qualities and backgrounds that they’re seeking talent for and why they’re so essential.

1. Analytics Translation

Many data scientists lack business acumen and struggle to drive business impact. “Analytics translators” leverage the knowledge of AI and analytics to convert business objectives into technical solutions. They also ensure that the technical solution produces actionable insights that the business can implement. This helps us drive ROI and adoption of our analytics initiatives. – Jit Papneja, Reynolds American

2. Teaching And Training Talent

We are always looking for tech talent who can translate their expertise and skills for others who are not tech-savvy. This skill is an art; it is incredibly hard to find someone who can break down complex tech problems into simple digestible steps that are easy to understand and follow. – Elena Elkina, Aleada Consulting


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3. Sales

Hiring sales talent has become a big challenge, especially since the pandemic hit. With traditional techniques such as cold calling, email blasts and social network contacting not working as well, sales personnel have struggled to get new leads and convert those leads into real business. We have tried AI, but we believe that technology has a long way to go before it matures. – Deepak Padgaonkar, V3iT

4. DevOps

Hiring developers has become challenging these days. It’s very important to optimize developer productivity, which can be done by hiring good DevOps personnel. They can optimize such processes as setting up structures and everyday pull request reviews, using local environments for easier setup. Running well-designed automated quality tests helps businesses gain insights into what may be slowing down progress. – Kartik Mandaville, Springworks

5. STEM Skills

Our company is focused on building innovative software, so we are always looking for individuals from disciplines including math, science, design and critical thinking. To remain leading-edge, continuously deliver value to our customers and stay ahead of our competition, we must have a foundational group of engineers to research, develop and continuously improve our software. – Chetan Mathur, Next Pathway

6. 3D Printing

The pandemic was a catalyst for 3D printing, which enabled on-demand solutions in a crisis. As the world faces ongoing supply chain disruption, hiring 3D printing talent will be critical for plugging the gaps in traditional supply chains and meeting evolving consumer needs. Recruiting and training skilled talent in this space will allow organizations to better pivot in the face of disruption. – Jeff Wong, EY

7. Critical Thinking

Demonstrating critical thinking and being unafraid to ask questions are two skills I have a strong bias for when hiring talent for future development projects. It is not only important to know why we are doing what we are doing, but also to understand how it relates to the landscape of alternative solutions. Often when developing a solution, to truly understand “what it is,” we must also understand “what it is not.” – Amandeep Midha, BEC Financial Technologies

8. Passion For Positive Change

Expertise is essential, but hard skills aren’t the only thing at stake. Passion is key. As a company focused on altering the course of climate change, we look for talent with a background in environmental, social and governance efforts and environmental tech. What we really need are people who care—about the environment, our mission and the future of our planet—and are willing to harness tech to make a difference. – Chris Romer, Project Canary

9. Positive, ‘Can-Do’ Attitude

In today’s world, soft skills are as important as expert knowledge in a specific tech field. Our customers say that they like working with us because we’re always ready to help and because we’re in the business of finding solutions, not problems. That “can-do” attitude is at the heart of our competitive advantage and something we look for when hiring talent. – Robert Strzelecki, TenderHut

10. Cybersecurity

Information security and cybersecurity are key initiatives for all firms and a key focus for the C-suite and boards. Ensuring the appropriate leadership, individual contributors and third-party partners are in place and focused is a critical success factor in ensuring a company’s critical and sensitive assets are secure. – Mark Schlesinger, Broadridge Financial Solutions

11. UX Design

User experience design is a critical function of a fast-growing, agile development organization that builds data security software. A lack of UX consistency or logic in security products may lead to poor decision making by users. Our goal is to have UX embedded in all stages of the software development cycle to help our clients get the most value and reduce their organizations’ IT risks. – Ilia Sotnikov, Netwrix

12. Software Engineering

We’re always looking for talented software engineers—and I say “software engineers” rather than “developers” or “coders,” because anyone can hack together some lines of code. It takes talent and engineering discipline to write scalable, sustainable and efficient software that others can also work with and build on. – Alexander Hill, Senseye

13. Cloud Computing

We are currently seeking talented professionals who have experience in cloud computing, including infrastructure as a service; platform as a service; hybrid, public and private cloud; AWS; and Azure. This skill set positions your software infrastructure for success and ensures your service is up to par with your competitors. – David Valverde Vargas, Pranos.ai

14. Analytical Skills For AI/ML Development

Something very important to our company is tech talent who can analyze requirements and design and develop applications to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. The algorithms and techniques of this process require developers who have mathematical, quantitative and analytical skills. Developers need to be able to practice statistical methods to catch up on new AI/ML techniques, which are ever-evolving. – Bhagvan Kommadi, ValueMomentum

15. Data Science, Math And Statistics

We’re looking for data scientists, mathematicians and statisticians. Data is becoming overwhelmingly available, and it’s increasingly challenging to build a story for ROI by simply throwing numbers at consumers and brands. Someone who can both digest the data and bring value to the use cases for the data is a highly valuable asset in proving attribution. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB

16. Digital Marketing

Tech-savvy digital marketing executives are important for all types and sizes of companies because they are responsible for making a company stand out from the crowd and get recognized digitally. Digital marketing managers grow a company’s online presence and profits by running various marketing campaigns, such as social media marketing, content marketing, search engine marketing and so on. – Roman Taranov, Ruby Labs

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