Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking to some senior educational leaders about the requirements for students who will be entering the IT marketplace in the next few years. In addition to talking about the increasing prominence of open source and standards in that marketplace, I discussed the skills the students would need beyond technical competency. This is a topic I plan to return to again, but let me start by listing the main areas:
- Social skills to work in diverse, multicultural teams
- Communication skills
- Comfort with ambiguity
- Analytical skills — ability to recognize patterns in disparate data
- Understanding how to translate challenges into opportunities
Taken individually, many of these are not new, but taken together and within the context of the new workplace that includes
- development and sales teams being global and increasingly distributed,
- more people working from home offices,
- it becoming more commonplace to hire and manage people whom you have never met in person,
- development taking place 24 hours a day in some part of the world
- leadership positions sometimes being given on a meritocracy basis rather than a seniority one
- improved use of communications technology; email; instant messaging; and distributed source code control, requirements management, bug and issues tracking, and customer relationship management, and
online document creation and collaboration.
What other skills would you list or what are the specific aspects of those listed that you think we will most need? What other factors are driving these requirements?