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Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Employers in this technologically advanced age are always looking for recruits who can begin working on their expected tasks from day one. The days of being technologically ignorant are more or less a thing of the past, especially as organizations get smaller and the list of technical skills of engineers has now become so much more than just code.

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. What are technical skills?
  2. Significance of technical skills in the 21st century
  3. How do technical skills work?
  4. Technical competencies employers are searching for in a candidate: Best industry-specific technical domain skills
  5. Trivia
  6. How to improve your technical skills?
  7. How to stay on top of innovation? Keep your technical skills up to date!

Usually, interview preparation guides involve generic solutions, like graphic representation, organizational skills, and mechanical skills. And you might already know these by heart! 

But what exactly is the meaning of technical skills, and how do I incorporate them in my resume?

Read on to find out: 

What are technical skills?

Hard skills or technical domain skills are qualities and expertise acquired by working in the relevant field by using specialized tools and software to perform real-life tasks. Primarily, technical skills are a practical application of theoretical concepts, mainly to solve specific issues in the workplace.

Technical skills can vary vastly depending on the industry and job role. Usually, when somebody mentions technical abilities, our minds immediately jump to fields like Information Technology, Mechanics, Engineering, Computer Science, or Mathematics and Physics. However, many other relevant areas these days look for various technical competencies in recruits.

Significance of technical skills in the 21st century

While behavioral and soft skills have gained unprecedented importance in modern-day interviews, technical skills remain the primary deciding factor for a candidate. If your technical knowledge encompasses a wide range of skills, you will have a better fighting chance in today’s ultra-competitive job market.

This is also the reason why interview preparation tips focus on soft skills only after you have honed your technical prowess.

For example, even if goldsmiths have excellent customer interaction ability, they may not become successful if their crafting ability and handling a torch is not at par with pre-determined requirements. Thus, his/her expert technical knowledge will be crucial for successful career advancement.

How do technical skills work?

As the world moves forward with technological advancements, demand for diverse technical knowledge and skills is only going to swell with time.

Since these skills refer to completing tasks using specialized tools, it lays the foundation that a worker with technical skills can perform a task in real-life scenarios, as compared to theoretical/ hypothetical situations.

To master advanced technical skills, a student has to undergo thorough training with hands-on experience of using the said tools. Therefore, the full-stack coder will have to learn more languages and use them to solve a particular problem at hand.

In financial markets, a trader or investor will use bookkeeping software, pattern tracking tools and mathematical calculations to understand the movement of various stock prices and use historical data to predict future scenarios.

In sales and marketing, a marketer will use various pattern recognition tools and statistical data to understand customer demands and then create marketing campaigns to increase user engagement and boost sales.

Similarly, in healthcare, a professional will use electronic medical record software to perform medical procedures such as sonography and ECG. Additionally, a technical professional will also be proficient in medical billing and other certifications.

Technical competencies employers are searching for in a candidate: Best industry-specific technical domain skills

Programming/Developer/Coding technical skills examples

Languages: C/C++, C#, CSS, HTML, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Swift, Go, SQL, R, Ruby

Software Development: Applications, Certifications, Coding, Computing, Configuration, Customer Support, Debugging, Design, Development, Implementation, Operating Systems (iOS/Android), Solution Delivery, Systems Analysis, Technical Support, Technology, Testing, Troubleshooting, Usability

Information Technology: ICT (Information and Communications Technology), Network Security, Infrastructure, Maintenance, Restoration, Network Architecture, Networking, Security, Servers, Storage, Structures, Tools, Training

Example

  • Using iterative Scrum-based approach, lead the end-to-end mobile web development to build frontend and backend architecture and user interface using Amber, Python, and Ruby.
  • Collaborate with internal teams like web and graphic designers and quality analysis teams.
  • Designed Angular framework templates.
  • Cooperated with Agile product team to redesign the customer-end website to include JavaScript functionality, boosted UX interaction by 25%.
  • Managed application scaling, database administration, and hosting environment.

Big Data Analysis technical skills for resume

Algorithms, Big Data, Calculating, Compiling Statistics, Data Analytics, Data Mining, Database Design, Database Management, Documentation, Modeling, Modification, Quantitative Research and Quantitative Reports, Statistical Analysis

Example

  • Collaborated with clinicians, clients, and stewards to frame potential problems and generate practical solutions
  • Ensured future state analytics vision by developing solutions for important business initiatives
  • Recommend operational improvements to support change initiatives
  • Cooperated with other developers, management and test teams, and architects
  • Ensure quality across Agile and iterative SDLC within ODM

Project management technical skills

While project management may seem more of a soft skill (and it is up to a certain extent), an efficient leader understands the technical know-how such as using complex programs and codes from time to time. You can mention the following skills under the Skills section, and elaborate them in the employer history section.

Benchmarking, Budget Planning, Engineering, Fabrication, Operations, Performance Review, Project Planning, QCA, Scheduling, Task Delegation, and Management

Example

  • Overseeing multiple projects across different phases of development
  • Monitoring workflow and adjusting timelines as needed
  • Develop status reports based on resource estimates and plans
  • Spearheaded vital decisions and maintain the best developmental practices
  • Managed resource and capacity planning for various projects

Social media management & digital marketing technical skills

Although the entry barrier to SMM is relatively low, the potential rewards for top-quality marketing skills are exceptionally high. The traditional reverse-chronological resume works best in this field, and you can use the following keywords throughout:

Automated Marketing Software, Content Management Systems, Digital Photography, Digital Media, Networking, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Platforms, Web Analytics

Example

  • Working with social media channels with over 50k followers
  • Writing 3000 words daily with high user engagement for high profile industry leaders
  • Apply to various events and meets for brand exposure of our clients

Trivia

Digital marketing strategy tips 2020

  • Reach your customers early in their buying journey
  • Assess the performance of the business regularly
  • Make decisions and form strategies based on data
  • Track and report Key Performance Indicator regularly
  • Create a community

Technical writing skills

Client Relations, Email, Journalism, Ghostwriting, Grant Writing, Resource Gathering, Research, Scientific Writing, SEO, Technical Writing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), Technical Documentation, WordPress and other CMS, Yoast.

Example

  • Writing 120K words end-user manual for 10 flagship products including <devices or software>
  • Worked with more than 30 Subject Matter Experts to draft best practices documents, which contributed to a 20% increase in customer satisfaction
  • Trained a team of 5 technical writers in research and writing

Graphic designer technical skills

Creativity is the bread and butter of a graphic designer. You will be creating ads, designing packaging and websites daily. When it comes to graphics designer resume technical abilities, you can add the following skills based on your expertise:

Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Layout, FreeHand, HTML/CSS, Corel Draw, Sketching, Typography

Example

  • Produced commercial and noncommercial websites and developed content for the clients
  • Created designs and layouts based on aesthetic design concepts
  • Prepared illustrations and rough sketches for flagship products, discussed them with clients, and made necessary changes

Sales technical skills

As a sales representative, you need to highlight your job experience, closing skills, and sales background in your resume. Highlight the following technical skills and then mention these keywords in the job description as well.

Closing Sales, Customer Needs Analysis, General Marketing Skills, Objection Handling, Product Demo, Presentation, Product Knowledge, Prospecting, Relationship Building, Social Media, etc.

Example

  • Developed customer relations with more than 60 local physicians and dermatologists around the <region> area in 1.5 years</region>
  • Collaborated with the sales and marketing team to discover which products to retain and withdraw from a region
  • Analyzed sales division performance generated weekly and monthly reports for meetings
  • Assessed patient requirements based on seasonal variables and supply and demand chain
  • Set up meetings with physicians and regional companies to promote <company> products</company>

More technical skills

For such additional skills, the best practice is to list the skills relevant to the position that you are applying for in a company. Highlight these skills in the description of your employment history and the body of your cover letter.

Accounting Software, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Blueprint Design, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Cloud/SaaS Services, Database Management, Database and Query Software, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software, Hardware Verification Tools and Techniques, Hardware Description Language (HDL), Information Management, Human Resources Software, Information Security, Inventory Management, Medical Billing, Medical Coding, Mechanical Maintenance, Manufacturing, Numeracy, Productivity Software and Microsoft Office Certifications, Structural Analysis, Telecommunications, Video Creation

Accounting technical skills

As a technical accountant, you will be responsible to provide expert technical accounting advice and implications of any regulatory change. You will also guide regarding implementing new changes and improvements. You can highlight the following skills under the technical section:

Automation, Account Reconciliation, Asset Management, Payroll, Tax Returns, Profit and Loss

In your resume, you can list the following examples under your job description:

  • Perform accounting duties independently with ledgers and reports
  • Interpret emerging accounting policies and make recommendations in compliance
  • Initiate automated financial systems improvement initiatives
  • Work with regional finance teams to maintain accounting policies up to date in key areas worldwide
  • Working knowledge of U.S. GAAP, various financial instruments, and transactions

Business analyst technical skills

As a business analyst, while you do not need to be able to write code or run database queries, you should possess a conceptual understanding of the following skills, so that you can efficiently assess the issues and communicate solutions with the stakeholders.

As-is Analysis, Benchmarking, Business Process Re-engineering, Defining Solutions and Scope, Financial Analysis/Modelling, Future State Assessment, Gap Analysis, Prototyping, Role Change, SWOT Analysis, User Stories, Wireframing

On the resume, you can list these skills under the Technical skills section, and then bolster your claims by providing relevant situations where you used these skills. 

Consider the following example:

  • In 2018, exceeded the incremental spend target by 109%
  • Managed multiple platform integrations with 5 partners and 8 banks
  • Helped maintain customer satisfaction for 3 consecutive quarters in 2020
  • Formed and led a team of 7, covering backend and testing activities for one of our bestselling products
  • Provided business analysis consulting to 9 state agencies (2013-15)

How to improve your technical skills?

Learning new skills and knowledge is a continuous, and quite frankly, a never-ending process. As such, learning new concepts is crucial for our growth, especially in an individual’s professional career. With professional advancement to managerial roles, you may need to learn new technical skills in management, etc.

So, here are simple tips to help you learn new abilities and hone your technical aptitude.

  1. Dedicated training classes

For most technical domain skills, you can find various dedicated online and offline training programs from different universities and professionals. You can also enroll in technical interview preparation courses before the actual interview.

  1. Contact a professional

One of the best ways to learn about a particular skill or even company culture is a person who has relevant experience in the field. Contact a professional who has already learnt and used the said technical abilities before, and ask if they are willing to teach you, for free or a fee.

  1. Learn on the job

Most companies these days have a dedicated training program where a recruit is taught everything the employer desires. During the interview and even after you are selected, you need to show that you are eager to learn new skills which can help you perform your job effectively.

How to show technical skills on your resume?

Here’s a pro tip that you may not find anywhere on the internet.

DO NOT pick and place your technical skills at random on your resume. 

Instead, follow these three steps while you create your customized resume for an interview:

Step 1: Research about the company and find what the employer wants from the recruits. In the Skills section in your resume, list the skills that you know out of these first, followed by everything else.

Step 2: Create separate lists for your technical skills and behavioral skills. This simple separation makes it easier for the recruiter to tally if you have the required skillset. Additionally, many companies use ATS, which automates the resume selection process based on keywords.

For example, list your skills as follows:

Technical skills: Skill 1 | Skill 2 | Skill 3 | Skill 4 |

Step 3: Instead of blankly listing and shouting “See I have technical skills, try and combine it with relevant situations from your professional career. Say “Here’s how I used my technical aptitude to solve pertinent issues.” 

If you are a fresher, list some situations where you used the said technical domain skills to overcome some hurdles in your day-to-day life.

Here is an amazing example of the same:

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Excellent skills in operating systems: Windows Server 2000, 2003-2008, Unix: Linux Astra, HP-UX, Mint, RedHat Enterprise, Fedora, and Solaris

Proficient in: C++ and C#, V.B. Script, SQL, JavaScript, Perl, Python, Objective-C, Ruby on Rails, XSL and XML

Web servers: HTTP (Apache and Oracle)

Adept with productivity suite: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), Adobe (Acrobat and Photoshop), Visio, Publisher

Technical skills for cover letter

One of the most common mistakes that we come across in cover letters has to be self-promotion. Do mention your valuable skills, but make sure to keep it brief and stay focused on your skills.

The cover letter should provide a solid introduction of who you are and why you may be the perfect fit for the position, while also showing that you know about the company, its working and policies and that its values align with your aspirations.

How to stay on top of innovation? Keep your technical skills up to date!

Your behavioral skills define who you are as an employee and will likely stay with you throughout your life. Technical skills, on the other hand, change with time. When you switch industries or are promoted to a managerial role, you will need to learn new skills while keeping your existing skills up to date.

You will master your skills only if you use them as frequently as possible.

Staying ahead of the curve is one of the best ways to make your technical skills remain relevant and refresh your technical competencies as well. For most tools and applications that you use, they will receive an update every few months. Instead of waiting for your skills to get outdated, start using and get familiar with the new updates as soon as you get your hands on them.

For example, upgrade to the latest version of Photoshop if you are a graphic designer, as the software usually sees a relatively massive U.I. overhaul each year. It is the same for the Microsoft Productivity Suite as well.

Additionally, make sure that you update your resume as well to reflect your refreshed technical skills. Irrespective of the field that you are in, be in I.T., marketing, journalism, healthcare, coding, JAVA development, etc., remember that employers will be looking for recruits who not only possess relevant technical skills but can also get a job done successfully with the least wasted resources.