Strengthening Essential Technical Skills While In High School Is Important For Overall Career Success
By Darius Harris, Stride Success Coach
Most jobs require both soft and hard skills to be successful at work. Soft skills relate to how you work, and can include interpersonal (people) skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management, and empathy… among others. Although soft skills are important, employers expect everyone to have them before starting a job. Then, there are hard skills, which are learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education. These skills often enhance performance and productivity, and they will be specific to different careers.
Technical skills can be categorized as hard skills. For instance, for a web developer to build great websites, they must possess the technical skill of coding. The type of technical skills that will be required for you to know or learn will depend on the job you're seeking. There are also basic technical skills that everyone is expected to know, to be considered career-ready.
Do Your Research Into Technical Skills
Be sure to research the skills needed to enter the field you are interested in, and be prepare to obtain those technical skills that are needed. Research can be conducted in multiple ways. Look over job listings on job boards, like Indeed.com, or directly on relevant company websites. Pay close attention to the required qualifications sections, as they often list needed technical skills to perform jobs well. Looking over profiles of people on LinkedIn who work in the industry you are interested in can help, as well. Oftentimes, people list needed skills within the skills section of their professional profiles.
Take Online Courses To Enhance Your Technical Skills
There are tons of websites out there offering free, or cheap, courses in just about anything. Once you figure out the technical skills that are required in particular industries, you can start taking some online courses. Don’t wait until after high school to start taking these courses, since the earlier you are exposed to these tools, the easier they will be for you to use. Look over websites like Stride Career Prep, Udemy, or Coursera for great educational opportunities. Having exposure to industry-specific technical skills can give you an edge over the competition, since companies are looking for people who possess the skills they need for the jobs they currently have listed.
Learn The Basics Of Commonly Used Technical Skills
No matter what industry you ultimately choose, there are basic technical skills all employers expect people to have to perform on the job. Knowing how to utilize Microsoft Office (including Excel), navigating social media, having a general understanding of a Mac and/or PC, being able to engage with video conferencing tools (like Zoom), creating presentations, sending emails, and having a good typing speed are all basic things. If you are weak in any of these areas, start looking for free courses, or just begin working with these skills directly… since most of the time you won’t learn to be competent with a given skill until you actually put it into practice.
Be sure to check out the article, How To Optimize Your High School Years For Career Readiness, to learn even more from a Stride Success Coach!
Want to take experiential learning to the next level? Then be sure to visit the Stride Internship Search Tool, to expand your knowledge and skills for better career prep and development: https://www.stridelearning.com/career-prep/internships.html
To learn more about Stride Career Prep Success Coaching for teens and what it offers, be sure to visit this site: https://www.stridelearning.com/career-prep/career-exploration/student-success-coaching.html
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