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IT needs soft skills

Published on Saturday, 30 Aug 2014
Christine Wright

Data analytics seems to be the talk of the town. Whether it's helping identify business opportunities or protecting companies from cyber attacks, demand for IT professionals with these skills is set to continue. But to succeed in this highly competitive field you'll, need more than just technical skills. You'll also need the human touch.

Technology helps people work faster and extract more information, but IT professionals still need business acumen and the ability to communicate findings in a way that influences how a company approaches a business challenge.

The "soft skills" of problem solving, communication and open-mindedness are critical for data analysts, as they often apply their knowledge to multiple industries, such as banking, healthcare and retail. These skills can include being able to work efficiently as part of a team, the way phone calls and emails are handled, and giving presentations to clients and management.

Organisational skills are often cited by employers as something they look for when hiring. There are plenty of ways you can demonstrate these skills, from running events and breaking down projects into manageable pieces, to planning your workload to ensure all tasks are done on time.

Candidates with the ability to see how businesses are affected by broader business trends are increasingly sought-after. Candidates should volunteer to chair meetings, help run a team project or mentor a junior team member.

Analytics can help us make better, more informed decisions, but it's the emotional and human connections that keep businesses growing. Those who communicate their ideas effectively will find themselves in the most demand.


Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia.

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