What are the most important skills for tech employees?

11.01.2018 Daniel Goldstein

When planning your next career move, it helps to know the skills in demand. What might a fast growing, tech org actually want from you?

Technology evolves relentlessly and so, the most popular programming languages today are likely to  be as redundant as COBOL is now – if you are old enough to remember far enough back. This means that focussing too much on the skills a tech org may need is overlooking the fact that the most sought after skills aren’t necessarily just technical.


Making a difference

Remuneration is inevitably important when working for a startup but founders want their team and culture to be influenced by factors other than money. For these businesses, the desire to have an impact on the organisation and ultimately, on the world is a key characteristic trait they look for in potential hires.

They look for those who share their desire to make a fundamental difference and change. This passion and quest is a key part of good startup culture – if you don’t have it, you may not be aligned with the vision of the company and therefore not be willing enough to make the necessary sacrifices to help the company succeed

The desire for change isn’t completely egocentric either – startup culture calls for team players who build from the ground up, are willing to collaborate and collectively achieve outcomes.


A thirst for learning

Technology continually evolving means the best candidates are constantly learning new skills to maintain their value within the Tech world. The desire to learn new things, understand different concepts and apply new technologies is therefore highly important.

Talented candidates don’t have a static skillset – they can prove it. Looking beyond the CV, you should be able to demonstrate your curiosity and desire to understand new things. This may be evident through a personal blog, your own business venture, regular contributions to GitHub or even the discussions you have on social media. Many employers are interested in your personal projects as much as your employment history, as this is where your true passions and interests reveal themselves.


Inventiveness, problem-solving and adaptability

Periods of hypergrowth can often lend to ambiguity – roadmaps change frequently and employees must be able to keep up. As well as being able to continue delivery in the face of an ever-changing environment, strong candidates have the ability to think laterally and offer solutions. This includes accepting failure, learning from it and driving forward. Adaptability is key to thrive in this change, continually iterating ideas to drive the best outcomes.


Mindset vs Skills

In many ways, the most desirable skills aren’t actually skills – not in the traditional, hard-skills sense. Of course employers will expect you to demonstrate your technical ability but they are more interested in how you think, what your passions are and if your mindset and outlook on the world matches the personality of their organisation.

If you’re naturally curious with a proven talent for solving technical problems, you’ve already got the fundamentals that startups want. If you don’t, the mindset is just as important to nurture and cultivate as your tech stack.