Other skills that can get you ahead?

DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
Obviously this is a certification forum so certs are a major consideration and degrees etc.....

What are some other non technical skills that can help you stand out from the pack?

I'd like to compile a list for members to review including myself.



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    cyberguyprcyberguypr Mod Posts: 6,928 Mod
    People skills. I'm dumbfounded by the amount of people I come across that can't communicate, listen, resolve conflict, and other basic things.
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    jamesleecolemanjamesleecoleman Member Posts: 1,899 ■■■■■□□□□□
    -Being creative
    -Communication skills
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    VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    Agreed with the above posters about communication. There's an old saying from a Greek philosopher (Epictetus) that has been around for almost two thousand years:

    "Nature hath given men one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak."

    We communicate with others all of our lives, but a majority of our time we spend talking instead of listening. When you have two people talking and not listening, it is no longer considered a conversation. I have found that effective communication revolves around listening to the person who is speaking and when it is your turn to speak, acknowledging what the other person has said while avoiding certain words that negate that person's view(i.e. when people flat out say "No" if they disagree with something you said or "You're wrong because...").
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    PC509PC509 Member Posts: 804 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Aside from the other suggestions - time management. When you have a dozen projects going and another dozen issues going on (throw in a few meetings in there, too), you need to prioritize and manage your time to get them all done rather than just running around all willy nilly. I've been working on that for a while, and I'm doing much better.
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    NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I would say people skills\communication\customer service

    Here are some good links that discuss these skills and have some training in these skills as well.


    IT Customer Service

    Dealing With Difficult people

    Top 10 Go To Words for Customer Service
    Top 10 Go To Words for Customer Service | Mojo Helpdesk Blog

    other skills:

    Maybe team player?
    I'm not sure what you would call this skill, but I will try my best to describe it.

    You're at work and you think about how you can help the company as a whole, and you don't always concern yourself only with your role/position.

    Troubleshooting,Thinking outside of the box, keep messages short and to the point (email, work messaging) This is all I can think of right now.
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
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    PCTechLincPCTechLinc Member Posts: 646 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Humility - the ability to ADMIT when you're wrong, or something didn't work like you thought it would. Too often I explain an issue that I am trying to resolve, and I have exhausted my abilities. I ask someone else that may be more knowledgeable than I, only to hear "well the problem is this, and this is how you fix it." Problem is, that WASN'T the problem or the fix, and things just didn't follow the "normal" approach. Just because you THINK something can't happen one way doesn't mean it WON'T. /rant
    Master of Business Administration in Information Technology Management - Western Governors University
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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Some kick ass recommendations I appreciate.

    Communicating to the point is something I MUST work on.

    Humility is a great one, I don't seem to struggle with this, in fact I maybe to far which can look like lack of confidence. Still good to be aware of nonetheless.
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    ThePawofRizzoThePawofRizzo Member Posts: 389 ■■■■□□□□□□
    All good points.

    In my first IT position, my manager told me he hired me because I did well on some "customer service" testing that they implemented during the interview process. He told me "We can teach you the technical side, but the customer service skills are very difficult for people to understand if they don't have a natural ability."

    Excellent communication skills are great. I would specifically add that the ability - and willingness - to create documentation has been a specifically valuable skill that has helped me stand out. When I put together a new system, for instance a Certificate Authority or a new terminal server, I usually will write a configuration document detailing specifics about servers, IP addresses, troubleshooting considerations, etc. If it is something for users at the company I may even create some user "how to" type documentation so both the users and the IT Helpdesk techs, have a reference of the steps to access and use the system. The documentation is helpful for me months after I set up the system, and don't recall all the details. If my team needs to learn the system, I can point them to the documentation to save the hassle of at least going over the system basics. Users will often be impressed that you put some time into making using the system easier for them to understand. Putting together the documentation can be tedious, with gathering screenshots, editing the images with arrows and circles to illustrate the process, and writing tables, paragraphs, and bullet lists. However, having that documentation has saved my proverbial bacon, as well as others', a time or two.
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    paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    @OP - Interesting question - If I was to think about it in terms of talents vs skills - I would say that there are talents that are always helpful like passion for the craft, self-motivation, and discipline. But talents are traits that you can't learn but could possibly enhance or compensate with learned skills. So - some of the non-tech skills that have helped me include:
    1. Understanding the business/industry that you serve - most of IT is in support of industries such as financial services, healthcare, retail, etc. To understand how technology can align with business drivers can only occur if you know how your particular industry or business works.
    2. Learn how business management works - it helps to know how different parts of a business works. All these functions are important from HR, Recruiters, Legal, Sales, Marketing, etc. It can help you be a better technology provider and partner.
    3. Brand management of your career can be important. It doesn't mean you have to blog, speak at conferences, or publish white-papers. But having a message about who you are as a professional can be helpful when meeting prospective customers, employers, and peers in your industry.
    4. Networking is one of those skills that can be learned. I am often surprised when I read on TE about how people hate tools like LinkedIn. For me - it's a great way to maintain my network.
    5. Be aware of your limitations, ambition, and what makes you happy - not everyone is able to be a founder of a startup or C-level at a company. That doesn't mean that you aren't successful. Having the self-awareness to be great at where you are at in your career isn't a bad thing.
    I want to add that that #4 i perhaps the most important skill that I've learned. Every job that I have ever landed in the last 25-30 years is because I knew someone who hired me because of a prior business relationship or who referred me behind the scenes.
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    DatabaseHeadDatabaseHead Member Posts: 2,753 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Wonderful insights Paul, thanks for providing these insights.

    From previous post you are an executive, that works for you not myself. The reason I bring that up is number 5. While I can relationship build like nobodies business, I don't possess the executive presence and quite frankly I don't want to. I'm aloof and have fun being that person.

    But...... It's not self defeating, I excel at development, leadership (lower levels lead / senior management type roles). Which for my life style is perfect. I like serving executives, providing reporting and analysis of our financials (data). It motivates me and when I have a SVP for a fortune 20 come down to personally thank me (doesn't happen all that often) it really makes my job worth while.

    Anyway thanks again I appreciate it.
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    higherhohigherho Member Posts: 882
    The ability to combine Business skills into Information Technology skills and articulate both of those skills interchangeably. Not many people can do it and do it well. Of course having great speaking skills, communication, and leadership skills boost you even further.
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,564 Mod
    my activities outside work makes me extremely social, and I have a massive network with people. This help make me more approachable.

    Also, looking after your health and looks; makes a huge difference.

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