Programming skills are in hot demand across a ton of industries. Still, aspiring programmers need to hone select skills to maximize their employment prospects while securing the highest salaries and most enticing benefits. Some skills are worth focusing on more than others, especially for those looking to change fields or achieve promotion.
Which hard and soft programming skills should programmers accrue to improve their prospects? Here are the 5 programming skills that employers actually care about.
Programming Skills Every Programmer Needs
There are a variety of programming skills good candidates should possess. Here are some of the hard and soft skills needed to excel in this career path.
1. A Flexible Arsenal of Programming Languages
Employers who want to hire you for your programming skills want to ensure you’ll be capable of contributing to the company for years to come. That requires a flexible arsenal of programming languages that allows you to tackle nearly any project. While Python, Java, and C are by far the most popular, you should try to hone broad-based knowledge that will impress employers during the hiring process.
Even if you find yourself saying “I don’t want to be a software engineer anymore,” a myriad of programming languages on your resume shows that you’re smarter than the average bear. Employers in any industry will find that your flexibility and diverse learning style make you an ideal candidate for a wide array of positions.
2. Quick Problem-Solving Skills
Companies are always on the prowl for those with excellent problem-solving skills. Even when you’re not using your programming skills directly, your ability to analyze concepts and solve problems in an efficient fashion will illustrate that you would make an excellent employee. It will also help you during the interview process when many employers ask you about the problems you’ve solved in the past and how you intend to grapple with issues in the future if you land the job you’re actively pursuing.
When interviewing, come up with a concise and clear way of showing that you can quickly identify and solve problems, whether they’re related to your programming skills or the interpersonal relationships that so many businesses are founded upon. Referencing past projects and specific problems that you were onboarded to solve is highly recommended.
3. A Combination of Independence and Teamwork
Most coders require a great degree of independence and creative thinking to accrue their programming skills. Despite the importance of independence, it’s also a matter of fact that you’ll be working with a team at some point if you join a major company or small business that needs your digital expertise. Employers thus seek qualified coders with independent programming skills who can also be team players when the need arises.
If you find yourself constantly saying “I don’t want to be an engineer anymore,” you may find that a management position overseeing others with those skills is a perfect fit. You don’t have to get involved in the nitty-gritty technical details, but possess enough technical knowledge to oversee and assist others who are just getting started.
This is also a fantastic way to achieve lucrative senior positions only available to those who know how to recruit, lead, or train others at an advanced level. When composing your resume or participating in the interview process, stress that you can operate independently with minimal oversight but are also comfortable working with others in collaborative ventures to finish major projects.
4. Writing & Oral Presentation Skills
Coders who want to climb the corporate ladder and secure leadership positions for themselves need more than mere programming skills. True professionals know how to convey complex ideas to others in writing or through oral presentations. You may even gain an opportunity to speak at a major conference which could seriously elevate your professional profile and draw in future job offers.
When cultivating your programming skills, remember that the element of communication is present in virtually every business. Clear, concise writing will also help you produce the best resume or portfolio for any given position.
5. Cybersecurity Skills
Finally, programming skills related to cybersecurity will make you an incredibly attractive candidate in the eyes of any employer. Government contractors and major tech companies, in particular, want to hire those engineers who understand how to keep systems secure and avoid costly or embarrassing data breaches.
Even simple cybersecurity skills that allow you to remotely train other, non-IT employees in the basics of digital security will help you secure valuable jobs that let you work from the comfort of your own home.
Business owners are constantly warned of the perils associated with digital technology. Many of them have to bend over backward to avoid violating privacy laws or losing the trust of their customers. Appealing to these prospective employers with your cybersecurity skills will enable you to stand apart from the crowd and secure a higher salary or better benefits.
Your programming skills will help keep their digital house in order while your written and oral presentation skills enable you to upskill their workforce. All of this makes you more professional and employable in the eyes of others.
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