What are technical skills and why do they matter?

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Skills like communication abilities and a knack for problem-solving are important in any job. Employers love soft skills like these. But they also value technical skills, sometimes referred to as ‘hard skills’.

In this guide we’ll look at what technical skills are, and why it’s important to have a list of technical skills on your CV, and some key technical skills examples.

'Technical skills give you the edge when it comes to applying for jobs. Find out what they are and why they matter'

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What are technical skills?

Technical skills are practical abilities required for certain jobs. Technical skills are most often required for careers in STEM, that’s science, technology, engineering and maths. But these abilities are also important in many other career zones.

Technical skills can be learned and improved on. Usually they require training. You’ll learn lots of the required technical skills for your role on the job.

Why do technical skills matter?

Different technical skills are necessary for you to do your job. They’ll make you more efficient and effective at work.

They’re also really useful at giving you the edge when it comes to applying for jobs. It’s important to include a technical skills list on your CV (read our guide on how to write a CV). This will make you a stronger candidate in your job applications, as well as when it comes to succeeding in interviews. Professionals with highly developed technical skills can also earn a better salary.

What are some technical skills examples?

Here we’ll take a look at some of the main technical skills. This list of technical skills is not meant to be exhaustive – there are lots you may need depending on your chosen job role.

Coding

person at computer
Learning to code has the added benefit of improving your
problem-solving skills and logical thinking abilities.

Being able to code will give you the edge when it comes to applying for jobs in science, technology and maths – even if you’re not expressly going for a role as a coder. Check out why you should learn to code. Plus, your coding technical skills could lead to a career fighting crime, making video games or even exploring space. Check out these super cool coding jobs.

Programming

Another important item for your technical skills list is programming. Similar to coding, if you want to pursue a career in IT, being able to understand different programming languages is a useful technical skill to have. Basic programming skills will come in handy even if you have a non-technical role, such as project manager or customer service.

Research

If you’re interested in that requires working with data, writing reports or researching, then the ability to research information and get the facts and figures you need will definitely come in useful. During job interviews, you may want to give examples of working on school projects that required you to conduct research and draw conclusions from survey results.

Social media

Being a pro at social media isn’t just important for jobs in STEM

Being a pro at social media isn’t just important for jobs in STEM. Employers from lots of different fields will want you to know your way around the top social media platforms – especially if you’d like a job in digital marketing, PR or journalism. And it’s usually not enough to just say you use Snapchat on a regular basis. Employers want to see that you have a real understanding of the platforms and how audiences use them.

IT

No matter what job you do, you’ll almost definitely be required to use digital technology. Employers will want to know that you can use word processing, spreadsheets, apps and ‘content management systems’ to upload information to web pages. Depending on your job, you may need more in-depth software skills.

Numeracy

You don’t need to have a career in maths in order to require good numeracy skills. Analysing numerical information and making conclusions and decisions based on the numbers will give you a great ability to add to your technical skill list.

Attention to detail

Excellent attention to detail is really important in many technical roles. Honing your ability to focus on detail will give you the edge when it comes to applying and interviewing for lots of jobs.

Technical writing

Lots of roles require you to explain complex things in a way that is easy to understand – particularly jobs in science. You might have to send written messages to clients or your bosses, taking technical information and writing it simply. Being able to communicate complex things in a straightforward way is an important technical skill to develop.

Think you have these technical skills down? Add them to your list of skills.

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