How to Be More Marketable as an IT Professional

Most mid-pay scale careers require basic technology proficiency — 78% of them, according to Burning Glass Technologies. But the most marketable IT professionals boast the broadest skills, education and experience. Consistent expansion and improvement of your abilities brings greater marketability. So pick one skill and start from there.

The Basics

CSS and HTML

Learn the basic coding languages, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) , to immediately boost your marketability. These languages from the basis of modern Web pages. Both are relatively simple to learn and provide stepping-stones to more advanced languages like PHP that developers use for more complex, often database-driven sites. Common career tracks using this skill include: content creation, digital marketing, technical writing and Web and app design.

WordPress essentials

You may think of WordPress as merely a blog host, but it actually tops the list as the most popular content management system for Websites and e-commerce. It has 25 percent of its market. Learn its administrative tools and how to add functionality. For example, WordPress doesn't come with the ability to block users, a necessity in our spammy world. It requires an add-on which requires knowledge of its proprietary coding.

Search engine optimization

Knowing the ins and outs of the ever morphing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques means you can ensure better placement of Websites and blog posts in search engine results. Keys to knowledge of this tool that helps with organic growth include keyword identification, local SEO, understanding current algorithms used by the search engines. LinkedIn reports this as the fourth hottest skill of 2016. It's only moving up as search engines continue to localize results.

Industry knowledge

Tracking current events and trends tops the skill list. Watching where your industry and related industries are moving keeps you on top of the game. Set up Google alerts for key industry terms and set the alert to provide a daily email of results. Make it a priority read each day. Follow up with research on topics of greatest interest or that generate the most buzz.

Advanced Skills

Once you've mastered the basic skills, move on to these advanced necessities.

Project management

Not strictly an IT skill, but a necessity in IT, project management consists of planning and successfully administering a project. It encompasses team management, monitoring and basic management skills. A plethora of approaches exist making this an ideal candidate for continuing education courses whether online or in person. You'll also learn common software planning applications such as Atlassian, Basecamp, Podio, and Wrike.

Marketing campaign management

LinkedIn put marketing campaign management at number three on 2016's must have IT skills. Whether you work for a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you have to get your brand in front of the right people. That means know how to research and define a target audience and market, planning promotional/marketing campaigns, monitoring campaigns, branding, reputation management and damage control.

Web analytics

Part of the monitoring skills you need are referred to as Web analytics. This data intensive skill set refers to collecting, measuring and analyzing Web-based information. Its uses range from defining target audiences to monitoring PR and advertising campaigns. Most tools used in this area are Web-based, including Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and Mixpanel.

Image and video editing

Not strictly an IT skill, photo and video editing help you in Web design, blogging and Internet advertising. Startups that can't afford a professional photographer can still look professional by learning these two key skills. The popular application Photoshop now comes in a basic, free version for Android and Apple mobile devices. Learn the basics of video editing to put together eye-catching, quick loading blog and YouTube content.

Wireframing/prototyping tools

Quality planning is key to every well executed app or Website. Wireframing refers to the planning process. Prototyping refers to modeling the initial design or prototype of a site or app. In addition to its techniques, you'll need to learn commonly used software such as Axure, Balsamiq and InVision.

 

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According to Western Governors University, the demand for talented, competent IT professionals is tremendous. Updating or adding the abovementioned skills to your resume can add to your marketability and enhance the salary you command. Although adding them all is a great goal, start with one basic skill and take them one at a time. Many build on one another, so learning gets easier as you go along.

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