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In-Demand Information Technology Skills for Success

Revised: March 1, 2024

Basic IT skills are required for just about any position you may want to pursue in the field but to secure that competitive advantage, you want to focus on developing an advanced set of information technology skills. These in-demand, higher-level technical skills could prepare you for the most powerful positions in the industry.

IT Skills in Demand

Few fields change as drastically and rapidly as information technology; as a result, IT professionals are constantly seeking ways to reshape, reinforce, and redefine their skill sets. By being aware of trends currently shaping the industry and investing in your education and professional development, you can develop sought-after IT skills that are ever-frequently found on job listings. Below are some IT skills in demand right now:

Coding and Programming

Coding and programming are basic IT skills, but they are essential for anyone wanting to secure a position in the field. Some of the most valuable programming languages to learn include:

  • Java
  • Python
  • C
  • C++
  • C#

In reality, coding and programming skills are becoming necessary for professionals in all industries, not just those looking to work in the technology sector. Your ability to write and read code may help you become more competitive in the job market. When you take the time to learn basic coding and programming languages, you can build upon that foundation in the future.


Described by Indeed as the practice of protecting a computer network or operating system against cyberattacks, cybersecurity is quickly becoming a must-have skill among IT professionals. For example, if you want to work in software development or information security, you would need to have an advanced understanding of the best and most recent cybersecurity practices. Some of the most critical cybersecurity skills include:

  • Firewall installation
  • Data encryption
  • Penetration testing
  • Threat analysis

Data Management and Analysis

Organizations of all sizes and across all industries rely heavily on data collection to personalize their customer experience, streamline operations, and ultimately increase revenue. With that said, computer science professionals need to be well-versed in data management and analysis.

Data management is the process of collecting, storing, and maintaining data, and it must be done efficiently for businesses to make strategic decisions and plans. The top functions of data management include:

  • Modeling
  • Integration
  • Governance
  • Quality management
  • Master data management

Cloud Computing

Rather than storing data and programs within computer hardware, professionals in the computer science industry have moved toward cloud computing. For a while, cloud computing was the exception, but today, it is the expectation. Cloud computing is the process of delivering technical services via the internet instead of on a computer's hard drive.

Having an advanced understanding of cloud computing as well as how cloud computing will continue growing and developing is essential to remaining relevant and competitive in the information technology field.

Machine Learning

Over the past year or two, artificial intelligence (AI) has started to reshape and redefine daily life. Machine learning, as defined by IBM, is a branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the collection of data and the creation of algorithms to mimic human thinking and behavior. When trained effectively, machine learning can improve and correct itself over time, leading to increased accuracy in its output. Some of the most in-demand machine learning skills for IT professionals include:

  • Clustering
  • Deep learning techniques
  • Kernels

Essential Soft Skills for IT Professionals

While practical and technical IT skills are essential for advancing your career in computer science, you also want to hone and improve your soft skills. These core competencies allow you to collaborate better in a professional environment and help you implement the technical skills you have developed throughout your career. Here are the most in-demand soft skills for IT professionals:

Communication Skills

Improving both your written and verbal communication skills can help elevate your career in IT. It's increasingly important for those in the IT industry to communicate effectively. For starters, you must be able to listen to the wants and needs of your employer and clients to build the IT infrastructure they require. In addition, you need to relay information to those around you, requiring you to translate the IT jargon (that you might be familiar with) into plain words those outside the industry can better understand.

Project Management Skills

Whether you are working with a team of software engineers or an IT consultant partnering with an individual client, you will need to prioritize and develop a strategy to accomplish your goal. Project management skills are key in the IT field, as the needs of organizations and businesses become more complex. Some crucial project management skills to focus on include:

  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Prioritization 
  • Cost management
  • Risk management

Problem-Solving Skills

IT tasks and projects are growing in complexity, meaning you are bound to encounter unexpected issues and challenges along the way. Therefore, a well-developed set of problem-solving skills under your belt will make you more marketable in the industry. Some of the most valuable problem-solving skills for IT professionals include:

  • Assessment
  • Analytical thinking
  • Innovative thinking

Improving IT Skills for Career Growth

As you look to grow your career and advance in the IT field, focus on skill development. You can take several steps to hone in on the core competencies required for this field and develop desirable IT skills.

Taking Online Courses and Certifications

Professional development is not optional in computer science. Due to the ever-evolving landscape of the IT field—with constant innovations continuously redefining the industry—most IT professionals regularly participate in online courses and complete certification programs. Some of the most in-demand certifications for IT professionals include:

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Amazon Web Services Cloud Practitioner
  • GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)

Participating in Tech Communities and Forums

One of the best ways to stay abreast of the latest IT trends and developments is to connect with other industry professionals. There are a variety of tech communities and forums available for software engineers, programmers, and artificial intelligence experts, allowing you to discover the niche ideal for you and your career. By becoming an active member of these communities, you could expand your professional network while staying up to date on changes that may have a significant impact on your career trajectory.

Continuous Learning and Staying Updated

By nature, the IT industry is constantly evolving. The endless reinventions are a response to the increasingly complex technical needs of large organizations, small businesses, and even individuals. People crave new and improved ways of completing their daily tasks, which means those in the computer science industry must rise to the occasion. Thus, you should invest in continuous learning opportunities throughout your career to stay informed about the latest possibilities, techniques, and strategies that are changing the way that people interact with technology.

Advantages of a Master’s Degree in Information Technology

Enrolling in a master's in information technology degree program requires an investment of your time and resources, but most students find that it's well worth the effort. Whether you have recently earned an undergraduate degree in computer science (or another related field) or have been working in the industry for several years, a graduate degree in information technology could allow you to pursue new and advanced opportunities in the industry. These are a few top advantages associated with earning a master's in information technology:

Enhancing Knowledge and Competency

First and foremost, a master's degree in information technology allows you to build upon your existing knowledge and develop an advanced understanding of computer science. At Champlain College Online, we offer a rigorous curriculum that accounts for the most recent trends in computer science and information technology. Our coursework includes:

  • Risk management
  • Digital investigation practices
  • Project management
  • Software engineering
  • Cybersecurity

In addition, we provide students with an opportunity to select a specialization and focus on the specific competencies required for their preferred career pathway. The four focus areas available include:

  • Business management
  • Data science
  • Digital forensics and incident response
  • Software engineering and project management

Through your master's degree program, not only could you develop an advanced understanding of the best practices in information technology, but you could also hone the competencies recruited by top employers in the industry. By focusing on the most in-demand IT skills, you could enjoy a competitive advantage in the job market.

Career Progression and Salary Boost

A master's degree in information technology could allow you to pursue more advanced positions in the industry, some of which might offer a higher earning potential. Advanced opportunities in the IT field may include:

  • Information technology manager – An individual in this supervisory position is responsible for developing, enacting, and managing the IT strategy for an organization. They often must manage a team of IT specialists, which may include software engineers, software development professionals, or programmers.
  • Chief technology officer – A professional in this executive position is responsible for developing large-scale technical solutions to meet an individual organization’s needs.

Regardless of the position you pursue, you may find you could earn a higher salary after graduating with your master's degree. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information research scientists with a master's degree make a median annual salary of about $136,000.

How Can Champlain College Online Help Boost Your IT Career?

At CCO, our online Master of Science in Information Technology offers a future-forward curriculum promoting the development of the most in-demand information technology skills. In recognizing that the information technology field is constantly changing, we can help provide you with a solid foundation to build upon throughout your entire career. Request more information about our online master's in information technology today. 

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