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Old dog, new tricks: Why your tech skillset needs to change

2 Aug 2019

Feel ready for a new job in the tech sector? Great! If you think you have all the skills you’ll ever need though, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Whether you want to be a data scientist or a software developer, the same is true: you need a skillset that expands with each new day.

Of course, almost every career path will be paved more clearly with a willingness to learn but the world of technology in particular demands an agile mindset and an ability to adjust to a new environment without so much as a glance back to the days of yore.

This week in Careers, we had a look at the type of skills you need when embarking on a brand new role in the tech sector.

We kicked things off with some practical advice for those considering a career in the data science field. Eoin Lane of Dun & Bradstreet said his top tip is to learn a programming language, and his pick is Python.

“The industry has really standardised on Python at this point for data science, and knowing basic data science structures [such as] hash maps, hash tables, linked lists, Q stacks, these will all be things that you will need as you move on.”

Once you’ve mastered that, he continued, you should focus on getting some real-world expertise and downloading datasets that you can analyse to hone your new skills.

Also from Dun & Bradstreet, Sandra Lacey said that to be successful in the tech sphere, you must be an eternal student.

“Continually seek opportunities to build your subject knowledge. The technology industry is constantly evolving so to stand still is to be left behind,” she urged.

Not content with securing her scrum master and PMP Agile certifications, Lacey now intends to broaden her scope by learning more about Amazon Web Services and getting her cloud practitioner certification.

In with the new

All that is well and good, but what if you have no blueprint from which to work? As new roles crop up with each passing year, it’s highly likely you might secure one and not have the faintest idea what to do with it. Not to worry, as Robby Vanuxem of Hays Belgium offered us seven tips for success in a newly created position – and one of them is having confidence in your skills.

Moving on to a recent report from Skillnet Ireland, we learned that digitisation and innovation will be key in dealing with customer experience in particular. However, the report also stressed the importance of ‘skill dexterity’, meaning employees must not only have the requisite skills but also be flexible in applying them to various tasks.

Finally, if your skillset is up to date (yet still ripe for growth), you might be ready to take that leap into the world of employment. Luckily for you, we frequently report on the newest jobs announcements in the Irish tech sector and the latest offering is courtesy of Creative Composites, which is creating 132 roles at its facility in Lisburn.

So yes, it may be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks but it’s not impossible. And if you want a thriving career in technology, it’s absolutely vital.

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Shelly Madden
By Shelly Madden

Shelly Madden joined Silicon Republic as sub-editor in September 2016 to realise her lifelong dream of being a professional nitpicker. Before this, she worked as a freelance writer for various newspapers and made coffee for people who use the word ‘expresso’. She enjoys red wine on rare occasions, such as weekdays and weekends.

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