1. Business Ideas
  2. Business Plans
  3. Startup Basics
  4. Startup Funding
  5. Franchising
  6. Success Stories
  7. Entrepreneurs
  1. Sales & Marketing
  2. Finances
  3. Your Team
  4. Technology
  5. Social Media
  6. Security
  1. Get the Job
  2. Get Ahead
  3. Office Life
  4. Work-Life Balance
  5. Home Office
  1. Leadership
  2. Women in Business
  3. Managing
  4. Strategy
  5. Personal Growth
  1. HR Solutions
  2. Financial Solutions
  3. Marketing Solutions
  4. Security Solutions
  5. Retail Solutions
  6. SMB Solutions
Build Your Career Get the Job

The Best Tech Skills to List on Your Resume

The Best Tech Skills to List on Your Resume
. / Credit: Worker Tech Image via Shutterstock

It may be a job seeker's market right now, but that certainly doesn't mean it's easy to land a job. Competition among talented candidates is steep, so standing out can sometimes be difficult.

Those looking for a job in the tech field have the added challenge of keeping up with the industry's ever-evolving demands. As trends emerge and technologies advance, it's important to keep your skills sharp and up to date if you want to land a tech job.

Hiring managers, executives and tech experts shared the top tech skills employers are looking for on candidates' résumés right now. [25 Hottest Job Skills on LinkedIn]

Even if "programmer" or "developer" isn't in the job title, it is increasingly necessary for every startup team member to know his or her way around the website's code, said Matt Ehrlichman, CEO and co-founder of Porch. Having some basic coding and programming chops under your belt will make you a much more attractive hire to prospective employers and may just be the differentiating factor that gets you hired, he said.

It's also critical that people seeking tech jobs keep their knowledge up to date and continue adding to their skills, said Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media.

"Those in the Web development field should be educating themselves or taking courses to understand as many programming languages as possible," Lambert said. "The ability to adapt and work on varying projects can make you hold a major advantage against your peers."

If you're starting from scratch, sites like codecademy.com offer free online courses to help you build up a basic knowledge in a few weeks. Laurence Bradford, the tech careers expert for About.com and creator of the learntocodewith.me blog, said JavaScript is the programming language she sees most often in job applications, from marketing positions to user interface engineers. However, Ehrlichman noted that the widely used HTML, CSS and PHP languages are also important to know.

Development operations, or DevOps, is becoming a key department in many companies. This area covers a variety of IT-related job functions, from software engineering to network infrastructure. Skills that go along with a DevOps role include system administration, scripting and basic programming knowledge, Bradford said. More about the specific roles, skills and tools involved in DevOps can be found in this ScriptRock blog post.

As mobile devices continue to grow in usage and popularity, businesses are investing some serious time and resources in these platforms. Mobile technology is constantly changing, so many businesses want to hire in-house talent to keep up with the ever-shifting market. As a result, any type of mobile skills will be in high demand, said Rona Borre, CEO and founder of Instant Alliance.

There is a strong demand for certified information systems security professionals, said Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Logical Operations Inc. Experts in security for mobile app development are particularly in demand, reflected in the increasing number of certifications sought in this specialty. Enterprises have learned how to make networks secure, but they need much more security for mobile apps. There is an increasing need to bring staff up to speed in this skill area, Rosenthal said.

"Cybersecurity is essential," Lambert added. "Include on your résumé any [security] issues you have solved or stopped proactively and in advance."

Today's tech-job seekers need to understand and assess how businesses, governments and universities can harness big data analytics to shape their competitive strategy and advantages, said Oliver McGee III, a professor of mechanical engineering and former vice president for research and compliance at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Employers want candidates who can capture real value through data analytics and who can manage enterprise risks.

To convey your analytics experience, Lambert advised showing how you helped to improve return on investment or shape an important decision-making process using data.

User experience design — including working with HTML/CSS, JavaScript and Adobe Creative
Suite — continues to be a highly in-demand skill. Adam Kirsch, CEO of Yorango, said that being able to understand how users interact with technology and how to implement these interfaces is incredibly important, especially in fields where the transition to digital programs and online systems is accelerating.

"Create a great user experience within your résumé, using appropriate and well-thought-out layout, font and text to subtly show importance," Lambert added.

Lots of job seekers throw "social media" on the skills sections of their résumés, but this generalized term won't cut it with today's hiring managers. Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, advised listing the specific social media platforms you have a working knowledge of and any systems you've used to manage these channels, such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Don't let an employer assume you're not tech-savvy, she said — itemize your know-how by platform. This becomes even more essential if you're targeting positions in marketing, mobile-product development or others that require you to work on various social media platforms.

In this alternative to traditional software development methods, tasks are broken down into smaller and easier-to-manage projects. More and more companies are embracing Agile for project management because it encourages a more collaborative, flexible process, said Tracy Cashman, senior vice president and partner at WinterWyman. Therefore, employers are increasingly looking for candidates who are familiar with Agile.

Specific tech skills like Drupal, Java, Ruby on Rails, SEO, SEM and ORM are extremely valuable and appealing on a résumé. But as these technologies become more commonplace, employers want to find candidates who can go beyond what many other applicants know. Jessica Bayer, vice president of talent acquisition at Qorvis MSLGROUP, said she looks for job seekers who list experience with technologies she's only vaguely familiar with or has never heard of.

"The technology landscape is constantly changing, and hiring managers want someone who's ahead of the curve," Bayer said.

SQL is a highly sought-after technical skill due to its ability to work with nearly all databases, said Ibro Palic, CEO of Resume Templates for Mac. Companies that gather a lot of data need somebody who can use SQL to quickly pull out key data components and generate reports that aid the decision-making process.

Understanding how to use certain technologies is one thing, but it's an entirely different skill to be able to write about those technologies in a way everyday users can understand. Messages between suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and the end user all happen in the written word online via emails, press releases, Web pages, articles, PDFs, manuals, etc., said Cameron Postelwait, marketing director at Sewell Direct. Companies need someone with a gift for written communication who also understands the technology, he said.

This story was originally published in 2013 and was updated Jan. 19, 2016. Additional reporting by Business News Daily contributor Dave Mielach.

Nicole Fallon Taylor
Nicole Fallon Taylor

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.