5 tech skills everyone should develop in 2017

We outline five tech skills individuals should consider developing to help them stay current and relevant in the 2017 workplace and beyond.


Continuing with our back-to-school/return from the summer holidays thrust, September is an opportune time to begin consider how you would like to position yourself in the future, and correspondingly, the skills upgrade that might be needed. The workplace is rapidly changing, and the onus is on us to ensure that we remain marketable, and relevant, as it continues to evolve.

We thus present five skills that currently are in great demand in the ICT/tech industry and in the general workplace. It must be emphasised that there is a demand for specialist skills in the areas highlighted; however, there is also need for people to develop some proficiency in these areas in order to understand and interrogate work being produced in those areas.

1. Coding

As all aspects of our lives become increasingly digital, it is also becoming ever more important to understand the basics of programming. Further, as more of us become online content creators – by having our own websites, blogs, YouTube channels, to name a few – being somewhat proficient in web development, for example, is useful. Additionally, for those of us who are eager to generate secondary income streams, a wealth of coding projects are available, but require individuals with the requisite skills to take advantage of those opportunities.

For more insight on the most marketable programming languages this year, see our article Best programming language to learn in 2017.

2.  Big data

Individuals possessing skills to capture, process and analyse data continues to be in considerable demand globally. In the Caribbean, demand might not yet be as great as in more developed countries, but as organisations experience competition from international players – even in their local markets –  reliance on big data could provide a distinct competitive advantage.  Whilst there is a demand for big data experts, the rest of us cannot afford to be blissfully ignorant about this area, as it will have an impact on not only the tasks we perform and the expertise that we are required to bring to bear in our positions, but also the systems, processes and strategies implemented in the workplace.

3.  Business intelligence/analytics

Although big data skills continue to be considerable demand, the skills needed can be quite very advanced – consistent with the complexities of the field. Having said this, a growing area for which expertise is needed, is business intelligence. Business intelligence/business analytics uses technology to analyse data and present “actionable information to help executives, managers and other corporate end users make informed business decisions” (Source: TechTarget).

Inherently, it is through the intelligence and analytics performed, that the true value of big data to organisations is realised.  Further, and across a broad range of positions and functions, there is a growing expectation to be more data-driven in developing strategies, and in the decisions that are being made.

A number of tools are available, such as Pentaho, Tableau Software, SAP – Business Intelligence, and even Microsoft Excel, depending your needs and the types of outputs required.

4.  Security, governance and compliance

Having experienced the crippling effect of the network threats and breaches, organisations worldwide have had to make cybersecurity a priority. As a result, there has been a growing demand not only for cybersecurity specialists, but also for individuals who understand areas such as network security, governance and compliance. Such individuals will provide comprehensive network support to their organisations, and ensure that cohesive and coherent policies and systems are established. They will also be the point-person when highly specialist (and external) personnel must be engaged.

5.  Project management

Although not exactly a tach skill, thanks to a continued focus on operational efficiency, increased competition and shorter development and implementation cycles (especially in the ICT/tech industry), possessing (some) project management skills is a definite bonus in today’s workplace.  Most tertiary-level institutions and online training platforms tend to offer a range of project management courses, that can facilitate speedy skill upgrade. Additionally, the Project Management Institute offers international recognised and coveted certifications, for those who are prepared to make the investment, to reap the rewards.


Image credit:  Becky McCray (flickr)



  • Excellent article. If it’s an ordered list I would put analytics at the top. With so many people using social media for marketing purposes being able to gauge how well you’re doing is critical. Coding and big data skills also help in this regard.

    • Thanks Kelvin!
      I had not fully ordered the list by priority, so I take your point about the growing importance of analytics. More of us – regardless of department in which we work, or our field of expertise – are expected to analyse the wealth of data that is coming at us, to better inform the strategies propose and the decisions we are required to make. Hence developing our analytic skills is becoming essential in the workplace…

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