Hiring an IT specialist in the United States is a much more difficult task than it appears. According to the World Economic Forum, there is a significant information technology skills gap in this country. Hiring professional staff in general is an expensive and time-consuming process that can end up being highly stressful, especially when a lot of specialists talk in a jargon that could easily be mistaken for Klingon. When hiring an IT specialist, an employer can spend a huge amount of money, sometimes up to $4000.00 and 24 days to fill a vacant position; however, because IT staff earn higher salaries than the average and there are fewer applicants, it will likely take even more money and time to fill a vacant position. At DragonTech IT Services INC, we do a lot of online outsourcing of our skills and provide a free app which can be used to contact us for quick and efficient technical support.
It’s easy to think that hiring IT specialists is all about technical skills, and that a scarcity of those skills is what makes finding great IT hires difficult. While this can in most cases be true, it is the softer skills, such as teamwork and communication, that distinguish a great IT professional from a merely competent individual. After all, what good are top-of-the-line coding skills if the person possesses them while being rude, uncooperative, and unwilling to work well with the rest of the team? Hence the earlier Klingon Analogy.
In the following section, we will go over the entire spectrum of abilities that make a great IT specialist.
What technical abilities should I look for in an information technology professional?
In order to be an IT specialist, it goes without saying that you must have strong technical skills. IT is a discipline in which employees must be comfortable working with complex concepts, systems, and processes; therefore, you should sift through your resumes in this manner.
It’s important to note that because information technology is such a broad field, the skills you’ll need will vary depending on the position you’re hiring for. It is possible to be a “IT specialist” in a variety of roles, including the following common IT positions:
- Engineers working in the Software Industry
- Computer scientists who work as quality assurance testers
- Technicians in the IT field
- Analysts of Information Systems
- Network Engineers and Administrators
- Specialists in IT security and Cybercrime
Each of these groups has a unique set of specialised knowledge, skills, and processes that you should look for when hiring a consultant. When in doubt, take a look at the job descriptions of your competitors to see what they’re looking for in their candidates. Alternatively, if you already have an IT team in place, you should consult with them and find out what skills you could use to increase business and benefit you when it comes to upscaling work for clients, providing a better set of skills and services.
Step 1: Coding!
It is likely that your IT professionals will require at the very least a basic understanding of the process of writing code in order to do their jobs properly. Even if your new IT hire will not be writing a lot of code, familiarity with fundamental programming languages such as HTML and C++ will always be beneficial.
You might look for proficiency in several languages if you’re hiring a software developer, software engineer, or computer scientist, depending on your needs and the languages you already use in your organisation.
Step 2: The Methodological Approach
If you are hiring an established IT specialist, you should also look for evidence that they are familiar with the way your company operates—or that they are capable of adapting to it. DevOps or Agile methodologies, for example, will require someone who can keep up with the rapid pace of development and “sprint” style of working required by your IT function.
Step 3: Cybersecurity
Obviously, if you’re looking to hire a cybersecurity expert, you’ll want someone who has extensive knowledge of the most recent cybersecurity issues, software, and best practises.
As a result, you should expect all of your information technology staff to promote, demonstrate, and uphold sound information security practises throughout the organisation. All information technology specialists should be aware of how cybersecurity issues affect their particular field of expertise, and they should put this understanding into practise in their daily work.
What characteristics should I look for in a trainee information technology specialist?
Recruiting junior IT specialists who can be trained on the job is a good way to find and grow excellent IT specialists, whilst saving some money to boot! Some companies use training as a major part of their recruitment strategy, putting together extensive, structured programmes for recent graduates and less experienced tech workers. While some IT positions necessitate prior specialisation (for example, degrees in software engineering), others may be filled solely on the basis of potential or natural aptitude.
In other cases, companies hire trainees on a “as and when” basis, or they hire one or two trainees per year as part of an apprenticeship or internship programme.
As long as you have the resources to provide adequate training, this can be a very effective method of attracting the future leaders of tomorrow. Training on the job provides employees with opportunities for advancement and job satisfaction, and it demonstrates your commitment as an employer to long-term skills development.
At DragonTech, we have compiled a list of skills that are useful for any IT professional, regardless of their level of seniority. However, they are especially important when hiring trainees who may or may not have previous work experience.
Step 4: Logical reasoning and problem-solving abilities!
Logical thinking is essential when diagnosing and resolving system-based information technology problems. When it comes to coding, logical reasoning and problem-solving skills are essential, whether you’re writing code or debugging.
School-based evidence of math and science proficiency is frequently a good indicator of this, but grades should not be the be-all and end-all measure. During the interview, ask potential employees about some challenges they’ve faced in the past to see how they deal with problems in a work environment.
Step 5: Look for an interest in the Job!
It is not necessary to look for specific prior experience when applying for a trainee position. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to look for anyone who is familiar with your current systems. Instead, a combination of problem-solving abilities and a general enthusiasm for information technology should serve as a foundation for learning these skills quickly. Many people who look for careers in IT are passionate about the subjects they are studying and this attitude lends itself well to good employees. You don’t want someone who is capable of doing the job, but has barriers and reluctance. This will result in poor customer service due to hiring of Klingons as mentioned earlier.
Look for someone who is willing to share information about projects they have undertaken in their spare time. Participants in after-school programmes like hackathons or coding projects, as well as IT-related volunteering (such as teaching basic IT skills to the elderly), are all excellent indicators that someone would make an excellent hire.
Step 6: Do they display Flexibility and Adaptability?
The information technology landscape is changing at a rate that has never been seen before. The use of emerging technologies such as augmented reality, machine learning, cloud computing, voice interfaces and others is becoming increasingly appealing to businesses.
As a result, it is critical for today’s junior IT employees to be able to adapt to new ways of working and learn new skills as quickly as possible throughout their working lives.
What soft skills should an information technology specialist possess?
Perhaps as a result of the significant skills gap in this field, employers have frequently prioritised technical skills over soft skills when hiring for information technology positions. In terms of what this means for your company, it means that you’ll have to make every hire count in this industry. It also means that, if you put forth the necessary effort during the hiring process and attract IT professionals who are a true match for your organisation, you have the potential to significantly outperform your competitors in this area of the market place.
It’s critical to remember that your information technology staff is an integral part of your overall organisation’s operations. Working well with others, communicating clearly, and organising their workload effectively are all necessary skills for ensuring that your organisation runs smoothly.
This is something that employers are increasingly taking notice of. Communication is listed as one of the five hottest IT career trends, alongside other softer skills such as general business skills and self-learning, as well as other hard skills such as programming.
As a result, when hiring information technology (IT) specialists, you should place as much emphasis on soft skills as you would when hiring project managers, marketers, or any other type of employee. Look for candidates who can demonstrate the soft skills listed below, which are particularly important.
Step 7: Look for Empathy
Understanding complex systems and processes will be much easier for your IT team to grasp than it will be for some of your other staff members, and certainly your clients whom they will be visiting, possibly on a regular basis. To bridge this gap in familiarity, your specialist will need to be effective communicator—especially if he or she will be working in a customer-facing role such as information technology support. You should look for someone who is capable of clearly explaining processes, issues, or software usage to a non-technical audience, and someone who can be sympathetic to a client’s lack of understanding of the field.
Step 8: Look for Teamwork!
Even if your IT specialist is the only subject-matter expert in their field of expertise, he or she will be required to collaborate with colleagues from other departments on larger-scale projects. Having the interpersonal skills necessary to effectively manage these relationships can make or break the success of a project. If you have a single IT security expert who is difficult to work with and who consistently misses deadlines, for example, you could face significant delays on a significant portion of the IT projects you undertake. You want employees who are capable of integrating together and working as a dedicated team!
Finding an IT professional with the right skill set, experience, and knowledge is the first step in the hiring process when you’re looking to hire. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, it’s important to consider their soft skills as well, because the new hire will be working as part of a larger group. The ability to collaborate and communicate with others is what separates a great IT professional from a good one after all. If a person is unable to collaborate with others, even the best coding skills will be of little use to you in your job search. During the hiring process, evaluate a candidate first and foremost for his or her hard abilities (like skill set, training, etc.). Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, ask them questions to find out if they’re open to teamwork, enthusiastic about self-learning, and willing to communicate through a variety of channels (like Zoom and Slack). We hope this has been useful to you!