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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

'Tis the season to revamp your IT skill set

During this time of year, it's easy to get caught up in what everyone else will be getting. If your gift list is anything like ours, it includes the names of all of your closest friends and family. But, you may be forgetting someone: yourself!

Especially as the New Year's holiday approaches, now is a good time to turn your attention inward and get ready to make improvements that can enhance your skill set and your career. Whether you're aiming to change jobs in 2017, or simply make yourself indispensable at your current place of employment, improving your IT capabilities is one of the best gifts you can get yourself.

Enhancing your tech skills is an important investment, and one that must be made with care and strategy. So which capabilities will provide you with the most competitive edge in 2017? Let's take a look at a few key areas you should consider brushing up on:

Application development

This has been one of the hottest skills to have in recent years, and will continue to be imperative to IT development for the foreseeable future. Just think about all the applications you use on a daily basis - from email and file sharing platforms at work to social media and mobile apps at home, there is certainly an application for nearly everything. And, before those programs can make it onto your favorite mobile device or work desktop, they must be developed by someone with a unique set of skills.

Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing firm Modis, told Computer World that today's businesses need individuals with the talent necessary to create brand new apps, as well as customize off-the-shelf options to suit an organization's particular needs. In this way, even if you're not quite ready to build the next killer app from scratch yourself, it can still be worth it to obtain the necessary skills to help update and maintain existing applications or tailor current programs to better align with your company's requirements.

Big data is still essential, and being able to present it in a meaningful way is crucial. Big data is still essential, and being able to present it in a meaningful way is crucial.

Data visualization

Big data has been a buzzworthy topic in every industry for a while now, and is helping ensure decision-makers have the insight necessary to make the best strategic moves for their organizations. However, data without context can hamper that goal, and has made processes like data visualization and presentation more important than ever. In fact, according to LinkedIn's list of the Top Skills of 2016, data presentation reached the number 8 spot.

"[E]mployers need employees who can organize data so it's easy for people to understand," LinkedIn contributor Catherine Fisher wrote.

If you have an interest in big data and the benefits it can provide for your company, studying and better understanding visualization and presentation may be just the thing for you. What's more, this is a skill that's sure to earn you the attention of the boardroom and make you a critical part of the workforce. 

Help Desk support

"This is a skill that's sure to earn you the attention of the boardroom."

Now that so many of our most important functions take place thanks to technological solutions, the role of the IT help desk within an enterprise is more crucial than ever. At the same time, though, there has historically been a shortage of skills when it comes to this position - finding the right person with the right talent to answer your company's most pressing IT questions can be incredibly difficult.

If you're more advanced in your IT skills, this could be a position worth looking into. What's more, as technology continues to change and advance, this spot will only become more essential. Help desk personnel require a broad base of knowledge, particularly with vendor-specific solutions like those from Microsoft or Cisco. If this appeals to you, consider obtaining one or more certifications from a trusted organization like New Horizons Computer Learning Centers.

New Horizons offers a wide range of courses and certifications to ensure that you have the skills you need to be successful. From solution-specific certifications for Adobe and Microsoft platforms to more strategic courses connected with business and application needs, New Horizons is your one-stop shop for your next IT certification.

To find out more, check out our available courses and certifications and contact us today.

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