It’s no secret that in today’s digital age, technical professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020, there will be more than 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available and only 400,000 graduates with the skills to fill that need.
But computer science and information technology are not the only fields that require technical prowess nowadays. Education is gradually becoming digital, with many schools providing tablets and laptops to students and curricula being delivered partially or fully online. Organizations that are not traditionally tech-based, like insurance companies and hospitality management firms, are developing apps and other technological innovations to reach a broader spectrum of consumers. Media outlets are switching to online and other digital platforms as demand for news becomes increasingly faster.
FIU professor of journalism and broadcasting Susan Jacobson said news and other media companies are turning to recent graduates to know more about technology. And that trend continues among other industries.
“The old folks have much less of a clue,” Jacobson joked. Adding tech and digital skills to a resume makes recent graduates more marketable for a variety of jobs.
Willingness to go beyond the classroom to learn skills is also a valuable trait in potential hires, according to Alton Gaines, who manages university relations at the company Ultimate Software.
“Taking the initiative to go out and teach yourself something that’s not necessarily part of your curriculum is a great quality,” Gaines said.
Here are five tips for students looking to strengthen the technology skills section on their resumes and stand out from other job applicants:
1. Understand basic computer science
Even students who don’t major in computer science can learn basic programming skills in Introduction to Computer Programming (COP 1000) and Computer Science for Everyone (IDC 1000), offered by the School of Computing & Information Science. The courses teach the logic behind programming, from basic principles to developing computer animations and video games. Students finish COP 1000 and IDC 1000 with a solid background for future programming courses.
2. Meet Lynda
FIU students, staff and faculty have unlimited access to Lynda, an online learning platform that offers video courses on software, creative and business skills taught by industry experts. Lynda courses include e-learning tools for teachers, design software like AutoCAD and Illustrator, information technology, business tools like Google Analytics, and more. After finishing each module, users earn certificates of completion that can be forwarded to employers, clients and colleagues.
3. Design a website
Building a website is as simple as drag-and-drop. Free web builders like WordPress.com and Wix.com offer users easy design templates to create and customize a variety of sites, from art galleries and writing portfolios to online storefronts and interactive classroom webpages. A resume itself can even be turned into a simple webpage, exhibiting both creativity and technical skill.
4. Learn a new language
Students looking for a more in-depth understanding of web design should consider learning the basics of coding. Online tools like Codecademy.com and KhanAcademy.org offer free, in-depth tutorials on HTML and CSS, languages used to build webpages. These skills can be used to create pages for organizations, as well as maintain and update pre-existing sites.
5. Be social media savvy
Turn your online personality into a marketable skill by learning to monitor trends across the various social media platforms, analyze user demographics, and create content that appeals to an organization’s followers. Even companies that don’t have a dedicated social media professional on staff recognize the need for employees who know how to tap the marketing and community outreach opportunities afforded by social media.
This article is part of our Secrets to Success series.