Seattle Skyline

 

We get it, the tech industry can be intimidating. If you’re just starting out, it may be difficult to figure out what you need to learn. You might ask yourself, “which skills are worth my time?” “Do I even have the skills needed to break into tech?” The answer to the second question, is absolutely! Everyone has the potential to break into tech and forge a successful career for themselves. 

 

It all comes down to education. Getting the knowledge you need before you dive headfirst into the tech industry can mean all the difference later on. So, if you’re thinking about working in the Seattle area, you may wonder which skills you should study the most. We’ve got the breakdown on the most in demand skills in Seattle.

 

Skills to Get a Seattle Tech Job 

 

Person typing on a laptop.
Do you have the skills necessary to snag a job in tech?

 

But what do we mean by skills, and what makes some skills more valuable in the industry than others? What does it really mean to be a “skilled worker”? Skills take many different shapes and forms and are unique to each person. In order to better organize our thoughts about skills, let’s reduce this into specific categories. 

 

Technical Skills 

 

As referenced above, in order to properly address the skills you’ll need to excel in the LA tech scene, we’ll first need to break this down a bit. The first category we’ll address is technical skills. These skills range from the amount of coding languages you know to your portfolio and everything in between. 

 

1. Coding Languages 

 

Coding is probably the first thing someone thinks of when imagining technical skills. In fact, coding is pretty much a necessity for anyone looking to break into the industry. While this may seem daunting, the good news is that coding is different for everyone. There are a variety of coding languages in the technical universe that do many different things. When first starting to code, pay attention to which languages are most important for your goals. 

 

Companies have different coding language requirements.  Also, language requirements vary between positions in companies.  But as a general rule, each major company has preferred languages for its products and systems. 

 

  • Google: C++, Java, and Python
  • Apple: Swift, and Objective C
  • Microsoft: C#
 

Other companies have language requirements, as do many software engineering projects.  Android and iOS development are good examples, as they require different programming skills.

 

  • IOS app programming requires Objective C. 
  • Android app programming requires Java. 
  • Games usually require C++. 
  • Text-based web applications require JavaScript. 
  • Python, Ruby, and PHP are common in web development. 
 

2. Portfolios

 

To get hired at a tech company, you almost always have to have some form of previous work to show your employers.Even if your projects aren’t finished or aren’t as complex as other applications, showing that you have the drive to put thoughts into action and actually produce real ideas can lead to an actual job offer. 

 

Many coding bootcamps or coding programs will take special care to prepare students for the workforce by focusing on portfolio work. This is a great idea and something that all technical workers should take into account. Routinely update your portfolio and include a variety of projects to showcase you versatility as a programmer. Additionally, include projects that your passionate about. 

 

Having a good portfolio is only half the battle, the way you present your portfolio to potential companies can also make all the difference. When talking about your portfolio projects be sure to showcase your strengths but also acknowledge any weaknesses if prompted about them. 

 

3. Past Projects 

 

When you think of experience many worry that they won’t make the cut.  While some jobs are strict on the amount of professional experience a person has, many jobs are open to any kind of experience. Much like having a portfolio, any learning opportunity or achievement that you’ve experienced can absolutely make the difference with employers come hiring time. 

 

Letting your employer know that you’ve been in previous coding situations before, will help showcase you as someone who is comfortable coding and working towards set goals. 

 

Soft Skills 

 

Soft skills comprise of everything that makes you a good worker, that doesn’t necessarily relate to coding. These are anything from working with others to being a good leader and everything in between. While they may seem self-explanatory, don’t discount the importance of soft skills entirely. 

 

1. Working with Others

 

Working with others is a must in almost every industry, the tech world is no exception. Most major technical innovations that have changed the way we see the industry weren’t done by one person alone but by teams of people all working together to create one thing. The industry places a high priority on collaboration and routinely encourages pair programming or team based programming. 

 

2. Attitude 

 

The average worker spends over 100,000 hours of their life at work. Before that number overwhelms you, it’s important to note that work is only work if you’re not happy. If a job is merely “a job” and not something you’re passionate about, then the odds of you getting burned out over the course of your career are greatly increased. The way you approach your work can change everything about the job. Plus happy coworkers or bosses tend to make the work environment a lot more pleasant for everyone. 

 

3. Leadership

 

In the tech industry, leadership is always changing. Many people are rising through the ranks of both startups and corporate firms at faster rates than ever before. If you’re interested in leadership or are just comfortable with taking charge, the chances of your career prospering significantly rise. 

 

This goes hand in hand when we talk about working with others. You need to be able to delegate, bounce from project to project, and help handle any problems that arise in a project. Regardless of your current role in a company, embodying the good qualities of a leader will definitely get you far! 

 

Most In Demand Skills in Seattle Right Now 

 

Mural that says “More Awesome Now”.
Which tech industry trends do you think will stick around?

 

Now you have an idea of some of the different types of skills someone can have. Now, let’s look at which skills are the most popular right now. 

 

Programming languages

 

These programming languages are in-demand today, and knowing them is a valuable asset.

  1. JavaScript
  2. Java
  3. Go
  4. Ruby
  5. Python
 

Note that these 5 languages are only a few of the most popular programming languages this year.  There are many additional languages that are valuable to learn, but these 5 are particularly popular (and useful to know) in the industry today.

 

Adaptability 

 

Going back to soft skills for a second, adaptability is one of the most vital skills a tech worker or really any worker can have. Whether you’re working at a bustling startup or a corporate company, being able to adapt to the fast paced changing atmosphere of the tech world is absolutely vital to your prosperity in the industry. 

 

Originality 

 

Nothing beats an original idea. Throw out the status quo, forget about industry “norms”, and take matters into your own hands! Creativity and original thinking will be your best friend in the tech industry. With so many people competing for the same jobs, you ability to show that you’re more than just a resume or portfolio is absolutely vital to your ability to get and keep a job in the tech world. 

 

Keep in mind…

 

Seattle’s tech industry is growing at lightning speed. With additional jobs comes additional competition. Setting yourself apart is absolutely vital. Seattle is also home to an interesting combination of startups and big tech. It’s always a good idea to try many different things. Don’t be afraid to move around the industry until you find a position and a company that feel right for you. 

 

What’s the Takeaway?

 

Person sitting on a cliff.
Learning to code is a journey.

 

There is a lot of information here, and it can seem overwhelming.  But it’s worth it overall, as the tech industry in Seattle is full of opportunity.  If you’re a local or a newcomer looking for a high-tech career, remember that these skills can make a world of difference in your career.

 

The truth is, skills come in many different shapes and forms. Some of the things we do, we many not even realize are actually valuable skills that can serve us well in both our professional and personal lives. The biggest takeaway from all this info should be the idea of self reflection. Really take the time to think about what you’re good at and capitalize on it. Our skills make us individuals and companies in Seattle and beyond value unique individuals which a variety of skills. 

 

Regardless of where your technical journey takes you, it’s important to work towards your goals and recognize the power of your own skills. Additionally, it’s also highly important to keep up with the latest news in tech both in Seattle and beyond. 

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