Technical Skills List and Examples

Application developers at work.
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Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for candidates who can jump right in on the first day of work and start helping the company achieve its goals. That means finding people with the right technical skills to get the job done.

Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. They are practical, and often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. Some examples include knowledge of programming languages, mechanical equipment, or tools.

While technical skills are often most important for jobs related to information technology (IT) and other fields in the sciences, many other industries also want employees with at least some technical skills.

Many technical skills require training and experience to master. They are also typically a type of hard skill. Hard skills are those that can be taught in a classroom, and can be defined, evaluated, and measured (as opposed to soft skills, which are personal attributes that help you succeed at work).

This list of technical skills can come in handy for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Included is a detailed list of five technical skills that are most desired across industries.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use these skills lists throughout your job search process. Firstly, you can use these skill words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these key words.

Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated those skills at work.

Finally, you can use these skill words in an interview. Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.

Of course, required skills will vary based upon the job for which you're applying, so be sure to be specific when listing hardware, software, programs, applications, etc.

Take the time to match your qualifications to the job, and review our other lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Five Technical Skills

Emily Roberts. © The Balance, 2018

1. Big Data Analysis

Nearly every industry today relies on data, whether it is data about their clients or the success of their product. While it is easy for companies to get data, they need employees who can collect, organize, and then interpret that data. Data analysis skills most valued by employers include:

2. Coding and Programming

Even if the job you’re applying for is not for a “coder” or “programmer,” most employers will look carefully at an applicant with some coding experience. Being able to code, and to understand multiple programming languages, will make you a strong candidate in many jobs. Several of the key technical skills sought in IT job candidates include:

3. Project Management

This might seem to be more of a soft skill than a hard skill, but project management is critical for all technical projects. Being a good project manager means being an effective leader, delegating tasks, and measuring the success of each project.

  • Benchmarking
  • Budget Planning
  • Engineering
  • Fabrication
  • Following Specifications
  • Operations
  • Performance Review
  • Project Planning
  • Quality Assurance
  • Quality Control
  • Scheduling
  • Task Delegation
  • Task Management

4. Social Media Experience

Throwing a phrase like “experienced in social media” into your resume is no longer enough to impress most employers – today, so many people use social media. However, if you can explain your experience with certain media platforms and quantify your results, you will be able to stand out from the competition.

This skill is particularly useful if you are looking for jobs in PR, marketing, web development, or anything related to social media.

  • Blogging
  • Digital Photography
  • Digital Media
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Networking
  • Pinterest
  • SEO
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Twitter
  • Web Analytics

5. Technical Writing

Many jobs that involve written communication require you to explain complex things in a way that is easy to understand. You might have to send messages to clients or manufacturers, or write press releases, web content, or manuals for clients. Being able to communicate complex ideas in a clear way will make you stand out in many jobs.

  • Client Relations
  • Email
  • Requirements Gathering
  • Research
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • Technical Documentation

Job-Specific Skills to Use During a Career Search

In addition to the technical skills that are needed in the workplace, your command of job-specific skills can help ensure you get hired or promoted. These hard skills include the expertise required to do a job, knowledge of specific software and hardware applications, and advanced design skills. Your hybrid skills will also boost your candidacy, regardless of the type of job for which you're applying.

Which job skills are most valuable for your field? Beyond reviewing lists of job-specific skills, you can identify important accomplishments and abilities by looking at job descriptions in ads for similar positions. It may also be useful to review LinkedIn profiles for workers with the same job title, looking for keywords that apply to your skill set as well.

Also review a list of the best skills to put on your resume, to see what employers are seeking in the applicants they hire.