Six Skills You Shouldn't Be Overlooking When Adding To Your Tech Team
By: Stephen Dalby
When building my tech team, I had a good understanding of the technical skills I needed to find among the available talent. Since most developers and IT personnel had similar skill sets, I knew that if I wanted to put together a team that could provide a significant advantage in the marketplace, I would have to look for skills that are often overlooked when it comes to a company's tech team.
Here are six skills you should seek out when putting together a tech team and why they are important:
Written and verbal communication is critical to a company as a whole, but it becomes even more imperative to have excellent communication as part of the tech team. First, there is the need to communicate effectively with nontechnical people to help them understand technology issues or the problems they are experiencing with technology. That means having tech people who can patiently and succinctly explain technical terms and processes.
Second, many tech staff work remotely or have remote team members, making it even more important to deliver detailed and regular communication. Having good communication also helps everyone know who is working on what and where projects stand. Being able to get a quick answer can also help keep a project on deadline.
Third, working in a global community, it's also good to be able to think about communicating in a way that helps others around the world understand how to do their jobs.
Although creativity as a skill is most associated with other organizational roles like marketing, it is also an asset for tech team members. This is because creativity helps develop innovative solutions to consumer and business problems.
A tech team member who can employ right-brain (creative) and left-brain (analytical) thinking can be a competitive advantage for a company. They can come up with new products or improvements to existing ones while developing the technical aspects that power that product.
3. Teamwork And Collaboration
Often, tech people are viewed as loners who prefer to work independently of others. However, it's important to look for tech talent that works well with others and willingly collaborates with other tech team members. Being able to play a role within a team rather than doing everything themselves can stimulate creativity, innovation and productivity. Further fueling teamwork and collaboration are those individuals who have an urge to help others and who appreciate the value of diversity and the unique attributes that each person can bring to a problem or project.
I have seen the benefits of collaboration and teamwork within my own tech team. As more tech talent was onboarded, their efforts together provided new ideas and features, and they sped up the development process.
4. Project Management
Another misconception about tech people is that they are so caught up in what they are developing that they lose track of time and can't stay on top of deadlines. I have found the opposite to be true and have brought on numerous IT people who excel at project management. That means they have the ability to oversee many different tasks, projects, deadlines and benchmarks.
Beyond those initial attributes of skilled project management, I believe you should also seek tech team members who know how to set and achieve goals, make plans and establish schedules, and address conflicts or barriers that stand in the way of completing projects. This can be especially critical if tech team members are scattered across the country or globe and require someone who can take the lead on the team to ensure project achievement.
Part of having project management skills involves another skill: organization. With all companies seeking ways to work smarter to meet deadlines and be more responsive to customers, it's important to select highly organized tech team members. Often, the tech team works on multiple projects and tasks across everchanging timelines.
Being organized can help a tech team member stay on task while simultaneously keeping multiple projects moving forward. This skill can also help those on the team who rely on others completing certain tasks so they can take care of their own.
6. Problem Solving
If an individual is already involved in the tech environment, they most likely are already skilled in problem-solving. In fact, those who want to work as computer engineers or developers love problems and puzzles.
Along with that tendency toward solving problems, look for tech team members who like to tinker and experiment. If they exhibit a natural curiosity and passion to see why things don't work, then you want those prospects on your tech team. They will think of what others don't realize, and they will see what others cannot. That is how a company can become disruptive in the market.
My best advice is don't hire the first tech person who submits their resume or does an interview. Sift through a wide range of people, and be open to discovering other tech talent that has one or more of the aforementioned skills. You don't want tech team members; you want tech superstars.