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Career Transformation Q1 2023

What are the hard and soft skills you need to succeed in the tech industry?

Engineer Developing App, Program, Video Game
Engineer Developing App, Program, Video Game
iStock / Getty Images Plus / gorodenkoff

Claire Farrugia

Assistant Editor, gradireland

Ireland is a global leader in technology, but as the sector begins to feel the pinch with job cuts, how can you position yourself to succeed as a graduate in this industry?

The challenges facing the technology sector globally have real consequences for Ireland, on both the macro and micro economic scale. These have led to ongoing cuts across the sector.

Impact of job cuts

In terms of job cuts themselves, Irish workers have been only modestly affected, although that is of no comfort to the many Irish employees who have lost their jobs in 2022 and 2023 at many household-name tech companies. The sector employs more than 250,000 people throughout the country.

One silver lining is that although many companies are shedding jobs in certain areas, many continue to recruit in other areas, and the pace of job cuts has slowed in recent weeks.

Job opportunities for graduates

STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) related skills are likely to remain in high demand for roles in the sector, in organisations such as:

  • Major technology services
  • Technology solutions
  • Mobile technology and services
  • Insurance
  • Financial technology (fintech)
  • Software and game development

The sector employs more than 250,000 people throughout the country.

Demand for hard skills

While there’s more to a successful technology career than just hard or technical skills, they are the bedrock for many of the most in-demand roles. The suite of programming and coding languages continues to expand, but among those most in demand are Java, C#, .NET, Python, C++ and HTML 5. Graduates with an understanding of digital design and UX (User Experience) testing and refinement will also be in demand, particularly those with project or experience-based work in their portfolios.

The value of soft skills

While technical skills may be the bread and butter of entering tech, it’s not all you need. This is a very collaborative industry, and people skills are highly important.

Technology graduates may also be competing against jobseekers from more soft skills-focused disciplines such as social science or humanities. The main soft skills tech companies value include:

  • Communication
  • Ability to plan, organise and communicate plans
  • Drive, enthusiasm and resilience
  • Problem-solving and creative thinking
  • Working effectively as part of a team and developing the ability to lead

These skills are particularly crucial in more people-focused roles such as consulting — where communication, problem-solving and commercial awareness are to the fore. It’s best to be conscious of all the skills that can help you succeed in the industry.

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