It goes without saying that in today’s digital world, workers need to equip themselves with the basic skillsets to both understand technology and being savvy technology users. Those skillsets are necessary for anyone seeking employment in the digital age, and are also essential for those seeking to transition into the tech sector.
Yet, McKinsey reports that 87% of companies around the world currently have, or will have, a skills gap in the next few years. While that data shows a huge gap in the workforce, it also represents enormous opportunities for both businesses and employees to grow their capabilities in the data and digital space.
These skills prospects are exciting and that includes for non-tech individuals and mid-career changers alike. Ready to grow your digital skillsets and data literacy capabilities? Read on!
What Can I Do?
If you’re already in a sector and/or job you love, talk to your employer about upskilling in areas such as using pivot tables in Excel, working with data in Microsoft’s Power BI (business intelligence) or learning introductory coding (read on for more information on that!). You can also try learning new marketing skills such as search engine optimization (SEO) or learning how to use creative software programs like Adobe and Figma.
But I’m Not Really Technical (Yet)
For those looking to pivot into tech but are not sure where to start, think about what you do on a day-to-day basis that is a transferable skill:
This is the process of finding solutions to often difficult or complex issues. It’s a vital skill in any sector and no more so than in tech. Every day you routinely gather and analyze ‘data’ of some sort to put forth a solution that remedies an issue in your job. In tech, for example, a frontend developer creates websites and a backend developer looks for broken code.
While you might think a tech career means sitting alone behind a computer screen, the reality is that a job in tech means working collaboratively within—and across—teams. Communication is crucial for career success and those transferable skills include developing effective relationships, assertiveness and active listening. For example, the role of an agile coach in tech is to foster effective, transparent and cohesive teams.
Building on interpersonal skills, good leadership is an excellent asset to have in a wide range of industries. And tech is certainly no exception. Effective leadership is the ability to build trust, have great communication skills and vision. A technical team leader is responsible for product delivery and it can touch on everything from design and development to finance to collaborating with customers.
We all deliver assignments and projects with deadlines in any job we do. We need to deliver on time and on budget. In tech, meeting deadlines is crucial as many other pieces of work can get held up until other jobs are completed. If the role of tech is to save time and effort, then time management skills are an excellent transferable skill you already have. For example, a scrum master uses a framework for project management to emphasize teamwork, accountability, iterative processes and yes, time management to reach the organization’s goals.
Being able to think creatively is another key transferable skill. Tech is another platform for creativity to thrive in. Creativity allows us tackle challenges with new insights or to design websites designed to appeal to users. Creativity is also about innovation, fostering growth and improving productivity, and isn’t just relegated to the designers.
I’m Still Not Sure
Your career path so far has been non-technical and perhaps you’re still thinking about your transferable skills. There are also non-technical roles you may want to consider. In this way, if you change jobs, you’re pivoting first into the tech sector to see if there’s a fit for you. Non-technical roles include:
- Finance (e.g. managing income and expenses; preparing cash-flow statements; budgeting)
- HR (e.g. recruiting; hiring; onboarding; training; compensation and benefits)
- Product Management (e.g. planning and co-ordinating product improvements; feature upgrades; product version releases)
- Product Marketing (e.g. introducing a product to the market; strategies to promote it; ways to sell it to customers)
Other non-technical roles can include branding, social media, content creation and customer success.
She Loves Data offers online and offline events that cover data and tech, digital marketing, business discussions and essential skills. Our events are free and, unless stated otherwise, our events are open to anyone. Start with online courses and introductions and we encourage you to attend as many events and courses as you can. You can test the waters and see where your interests and abilities take you. This month there is an Intro to Data and data analytics for complete beginners and an Intro to Python (a programming language used to build websites and software, and conduct data analysis). Our courses are a great way to begin your tech journey. And if you’re still not sure you can explore mentoring options as well.
Technology has boosted every industry and it’s an inevitability we can’t ignore. But it’s also not yet inclusive or diverse enough. Data and tech need you: your voice, your experience and your talent. Join us in helping to close the gender and skills gap in a growing field that offers so much positive opportunity for you and our communities.