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Are your business council experts giving you specifics on what skills they’re seeking in new hires?

Experts event photo

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Ann Beheler, Director/PI of the National Convergence Technology Center; Cory Kirkendoll, President/CEO of 5K Technical Services; Amy Arnold, Senior Network Engineer at City of Lewisville; Matt Glover, Chief Technology Officer at Le-Vel; and Mart D. Nelson, P.E., ENP, CISSP, CTO and Consulting Principal.

The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently convened a panel of four IT business experts and posed this question to them: what are the important skills or traits for an IT worker?  Their answers are listed below.

  1. Never stop learning.
  2. Hone your trouble-shooting and problem-solving skills. One panelist cautioned that this means thoroughly dissecting the problem before jumping to possible solutions. Only by asking specific questions can you be thorough in making sure you fully understand the problem.
  3. Display comfort working in teams. Remember that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Embrace the personality and cultural differences of others on your team because that’s what makes the group stronger.
  4. Ask questions.Don’t assume you know everything.A new hire can get stuck: “They hired me to do this, so they must think I know how to do all of it.”  And when someone else helps you, learn from it.
  5. Be the “difference maker” who goes above and beyond.
  6. Share what you know.Some may believe that hoarding information makes you valuable, but in most cases it’s the ones who share openly that “cement” their value in the workplace.
  7. Communicate effectively. Technical skills may get you the job, but it’s the employability “soft” skills like communications that will keep that job.
  8. Master the basics. Employees need more than a basic “understanding.” Once you master the foundational know-how, you’ll be able to more effectively and efficiently troubleshoot problems.

This panel session was part of a larger “Expert to Expert” event in Fort Worth, Texas designed to educate high school Career Technical Education (CTE) faculty and administrators in North Texas on the realities of technician fields like IT.  While community colleges have business councils (or BILTs – Business and Industry Leadership Teams) to steer curriculum and keep faculty current on workforce trends, this is not always possible at the high school level.

Over 150 CTE faculty/administrators and employers attended the day-long event.

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