The Importance of Business Acumen
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While I meet with hiring managers and technology executives every day who seek professionals with the hard skills described above, an understanding of broader business and industry trends is often what they consider most essential when adding new staff. In a recent Robert Half Technology survey, 41 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) polled said they are placing greater weight on knowledge of business fundamentals such as accounting, finance and general operations when evaluating candidates for IT positions.
Technology is being integrated into all aspects of an organizations operations, and those who can prove they understand the realities of business, including the customer base, regulatory environment, growth strategies and competitive pressures will be most marketable. IT professionals who can show how their IT efforts have helped previous employers achieve business goals will most impress hiring managers.
Other Qualities in Demand
IT professionals who possess the following qualifications also are highly marketable:
Industry experience ranks high on the wish list for many hiring managers. In a survey commissioned by Robert Half Technology, 43 percent of CIOs cited industry-specific experience as the asset they weigh most heavily when interviewing job candidates with similar skills.
Certification is an important consideration for some hiring managers as it provides clear evidence of an individuals familiarity with a particular technology or practice. An industry-recognized credential also demonstrates a persons dedication to continuing education. Keep in mind, though, that certification is of greatest value when it is accompanied by practical work experience.
Soft skills are becoming an essential requirement for any IT job. As technology becomes integrated into all aspects of business, employers seek professionals who can work effectively with others and clearly explain complex technical concepts to a variety of people both within and outside the organization.
The Bottom Line
This is an exciting time for IT professionals as new career opportunities emerge due to corporate expansion, shifting workforce demographics and other factors. Throughout the coming year, job candidates with exceptional technological and soft skills, business acumen, and industry experience can expect to receive the most rewarding employment offers and opportunities for advancement.