New to Tech? Employers Want Technologists with These 25 Skills

Let’s say you’re totally new to the tech industry, and you’re curious about where to focus your valuable learning time. Which skills should you attempt to master?

The answer to that question is partially driven by your own interests—if you have an emotional attachment to artificial intelligence (A.I.) or game development, for example, you’ll want to study the skills that power those disciplines. But it’s also worth examining what employers want.

Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, offers a regular breakdown of the most-requested tech skills by employers. Here’s a chart of those skills over the past 60 days:

As we’ve discussed before, there’s a continuing hunger among companies for technologists who’ve mastered SQL, and for good reason: the programming language is key to managing and querying relational databases, making it the foundation of many organizations’ data operations. Want to learn SQL? Check out this offering from w3schools, which breaks down the various elements of SQL into “chapters”; Microsoft also offers a variety of training materials and instructor-led courses.

It also never hurts to learn popular programming languages such as Python, Java, and JavaScript, all of which power thousands of companies’ internal and external apps and services. As with SQL, there are lots of resources available online for learning these languages; if you want to learn Python, for instance, swing by Python.org for its handy beginner’s guide. 

In addition to technical skills, it’s also clear that employers really want technologists who’ve mastered product and project management. These managers not only know the technical aspects of projects, but also have the “soft skills” (such as empathy and communication) necessary to work with stakeholders, team members, and clients. If you’re curious about project management as a career, start off by mastering project-management methods such as Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and (yes, it’s old, but still used) Waterfall.