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10 Skills Every Ambitious IT Professional Needs to Master in 2021

The modern tech landscape is a rapidly changing landscape. Skills that may have been in very high demand over the last decade may no longer be as relevant in the coming years. New skills and capabilities are also emerging and becoming must-have requirements in specialty roles across many types of organisations.

At the same time, it’s important to recognise the increasing importance of soft skills for IT professionals. As automation and AI continue to push into traditional job roles, soft skills only become more necessary and tech professionals now need a mix of both soft skills and technical skills to get ahead.

In this article we explore the top five most in-demand technical and soft skills that will give you the jump over your fellow colleagues and help you progress in your career.

Top 5 in-demand technical skills

Data analytics

The volume of data being generated and collected is increasing at an exponential rate. Companies are recognising that data is a very valuable commodity. However, these increasing data volumes are also causing challenges for businesses to effectively make use of it. Data analytics skills allow tech professionals to better understand their target markets and generate business insights. Having quality analysts can therefore help the business’ Cyber security.

The string of major data breaches and hacks continues almost daily, making cyber security a major concern for organisations of all sizes. Due to the financial and reputational risks associated with data or privacy breaches, increased resources need to be allocated to ensure cyber security is robust. Cyber security skills enable you to help audit security risk levels, plan and implement cyber security strategies, and educate the organisation’s staff on the importance of following best practices.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence technologies are now being widely integrated across all kinds of applications and platforms. Whether it’s developing voice assistants, chatbots, or simply improving the quality of search engine results or data analysis, AI is everywhere. Its usefulness will continue to increase as AI systems become more accurate over time and are employed in ever more areas as they disrupt everything from finance to farming.

Mobile applications

Mobile app development is now big business. Really big business. With more than $500 billion in revenue forecast from mobile apps this year, mobile app development has become as integral to business operations as the smartphone has become to our daily lives. This means having the skills to develop, maintain, and update mobile apps has become one of the best technical skills you can have and the need for it won’t be going away anytime soon.

Cloud computing

As more and more companies adopt enterprise cloud storage or multi-cloud solutions, there is a corresponding high demand for people with cloud engineering and architecture skills. The most sought after cloud skills are certifications and experience working with the major cloud platforms such as Azure, AWS or Google. Many companies now operate multiple cloud services simultaneously, so there’s even stronger demand for those that can deploy and manage critical cloud applications.

Top 5 important soft skills

Growth mindset

According to the Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report, adopting a growth mindset was ranked as the most important soft skill for helping to advance your career. Having a growth mindset means you are open to continuous learning and are highly adaptable to change – both crucially important in a workplace landscape being continuously disrupted by new technologies.

Critical thinking

Being a good critical thinker means you can objectively analyse and evaluate information and options to form a judgement on an issue. This means you can see through distractions or minor problems to the core of an issue and be better suited to helping to address the real roadblocks your team or company are facing.


Providing guidance within an organisation is invaluable because every leader is essentially increasing the value of each and every person they lead. This is because people with strong leadership skills encourage and inspire other employees, boosting morale and making them more productive.


In a business setting, being a good storyteller means you have the ability to organise thoughts, information, or data into a meaningful narrative. Humans are naturally engaged by stories, meaning that if you can weave the subject matter of a conversation or presentation into a story then it vastly improves the ability of others to connect with and remember the information you’re presenting. The ability to tell stories with data is useful for both fellow employees and customers as it helps to improve decision making in teams as well as engagement with new customers and markets.

Cross team communication and collaboration

Being a great communicator and collaborator means you are adept at interpreting and acting on information you pick up through observing, speaking, and actively listening. This allows you to better cooperate with team members because instead of just waiting for your turn to speak, you are genuinely processing other people’s opinions and needs and acting on them in the most appropriate way.

The complete package

By focusing your learning on one or more of the technical areas outlined above you will be ensuring that you remain in very high demand in the future. At the same time, constantly working on improving the most important soft skills will mean that you have equipped yourself to be highly valuable to employers. The influence of automation will continue in the coming decade but soft skills can’t be automated. So with this combination of skills, you’ll find yourself clearly ahead of the pack on your career path.

If you’re interested in steering your career direction towards the technical skills that will be in the most demand in coming years, or want to learn more about how soft skills will help you get ahead, talk to Finite920.


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