Tech jobs aren’t just about tech - employers want interdisciplinary skills too!

Imagine this scenario – A student knows it’s a really hot job market for graduates with information and communications technology (ICT) skills, so every hour at university or college was crammed with every tech course possible. Once out of school and going to job interviews, employers are impressed by the graduate’s tech skills but some are disappointed by the lack of other basic skills.

What’s the right answer to why the employer is disappointed? The graduate…

  1. Doesn’t know how to write and communicate very well since there are a dozen grammar and spelling errors in his/her resume?
  2. Can’t answer simple questions about how tech can help an organization be more successful and productive?
  3. Hasn’t any idea how a business operates and all the different ways tech is critical to every function like marketing, sales, accounting and human resources?
  4. All of the above?

You’re right if you chose – all of the above. More and more tech jobs are interdisciplinary, mashing up tech with a wide range of business skills needed by almost every part of an organization. Plus, more and more traditional non-tech jobs require graduates to be comfortable using tech and to understand the importance of tech in meeting an organization‘s objectives.

In the same way we rely on tech and computing devices in our personal lives to do school assignments or socialize, tech is also interwoven through everything a business does too! When you have both tech and business skills mashed up together, you‘re more likely to excite potential employers rather than disappoint. And, you’ll be a hot commodity in a job market that’s hungry for tech talent.

A recent survey by IBM estimated Canada’s IT industry will be more than 100,000 workers short by 2016 due to growing skill shortages.

In another survey by the CIO Association of Canada of its members, 64.8% of respondents said an ICT talent shortage is impacting their companies. And the CIO survey respondents weren’t only from technology companies either. They represented almost every sector from education and government to travel and retail.

Respondents to the CIO survey said they need well-rounded graduates who mash up tech with a range of other important skills like project management, communications, collaborating with teams and being able to successfully execute a plan from start to finish. Employers also need graduates who can think independently, are innovative and can take initiative without needing a lot of direct supervision.

You have a great opportunity to be a hot tech job applicant by making sure your post-secondary programs give you the skills that employers are having a hard time hiring. Here are a few examples of responses to the CIO survey questions on what skills employers need from ICT graduates.

  • ICT is not about geeks. It is about the use of technology to drive and support business processes and strategies.
  • We need people with a technical skill set who are business minded and have a well-rounded soft skill set.
  • Business analysis, data science and analytics; leadership and organizational skills; current technology awareness, contract management, project management.
  • For the most part, students are coming with basic tech skills but don’t have the soft skills, program management and goal planning that are required to succeed in an ever changing economy and organization.
  • Ability to think independently and problem solve; integration skills; intersection of IT and business understanding.
  • Soft skills, people management, project management, communication. Technical skill gaps are easy to address.
  • Teamwork, basic business skills, motivation.

Business Technology Management Program

A new post-secondary program that helps prepare graduates for in-demand skills is Business Technology Management (BTM) which is offered at 11 universities across Canada. (See complete list of schools)

The BTM program is designed to improve the quality and quantity of business professionals in Canada capable of implementing ICTs to achieve productivity, innovation, entrepreneurship and competitive advantage. Typical roles of business technology managers including business analyst, project manager, change management, consultant, entrepreneur, and IT manager.

Here are some other examples of CareerMash Tech Career Profiles to help you understanding what some of these jobs are like. The profiles also list skills required and possible post-secondary programs to help you start planning your path to a well paying, in-demand job.

  • Tech Project Manager - All organizations rely on tech project managers to steer projects from start to finish – on time, on budget and to the highest quality. Find out what a project manager does at Electronic Arts, the world’s largest producer of video games like Harry Potter and Reckoning.
  • Business Analyst - Business analysts are in demand everywhere to ensure that tech makes a positive impact, with minimal risk. They provide the smarts that bridge tech with real life needs and make sure they fuse together without a hitch.
  • Tech Marketing - Tech marketing careers include a wide variety of activities such as strategy, product launches, market research, media campaigns, event management, competitive intelligence, design, copywriting, and web or mobile apps.
  • IT Systems Manager - IT systems managers play vital roles in managing, planning and implementing the computing and information resources today’s organizations need to meet their objectives.

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