The Tech Skills to Have If You’re Not a Techie
You may not work in IT. You may even own your own business that has nothing to do with IT. Even if you don’t work in IT or own an IT business, you can quickly become irrelevant if you’re not technically savvy. It doesn’t mean you have to learn how to set up a network or write code (unless it interests you), but it does mean that learning some technical skills will give you an edge in your career. As for the business owners – in the beginning, you are going to be the chief, cook and bottle washer, so knowing some technical skills will help you run your business better as it grows.
Below are some technical skills to have to give your career or business the advantage:
Excel (Intermediate to Advanced Level)
Ideal skill for: business owners, buyers, planners, schedulers, marketers, administrative assistants, business analysts, instructors, students, virtually any job
- Excel is a surprisingly powerful data analysis tool that has a number of functions that can be used to help make business decisions from the data with no coding required. There are also 3rd party components that can be used with Excel to make it even more powerful. Some of the things that can be done with excel include: calculations, data comparisons, charts, and data slicing. This allows decision-making professionals arrange the information needed and make business decisions without relying on other team members (such as IT) creating data reports and programs for you.
- Excel can help you get your work done quicker. If your job requires number crunching – and in most jobs, you will have a moment where you have to do some number crunching – you can either use your calculator and do all the calculations, or plug in the numbers on a spreadsheet and use a function that does all the calculations for you
- Excel is becoming the must-know skill for most positions of all levels. If you want to make yourself relevant in the market, or if you want to move onward and upward in your career, having an intermediate or advanced knowledge of Excel will help.
- If you’re a business owner with a tight budget, Excel can easily be used with tools like Quickbooks to allow you to analyze your business expenses and spot spending trends. Excel can also be integrated with your payment system like Square to allow you to manage and analyze your sales.
If you want to know more about the power of Excel, read this article from Investopedia.
Google Analytics and Data Studio
Ideal skill for: business owners, marketers, social media analysts, content managers, administrative assistants
- Google Analytics is a powerful tool to indicate who is visiting your site and how they are behaving on the site. By knowing how to use Google Analytics, it helps you get ideas on how to target your content to the appropriate markets, and it tells you whether your site layout is effective in getting more eyes on the pages.
- Google Data Studio is a powerful reporting tool that allows you to easily build graphical, reusable reports based on the Google Analytics data and other data sources. These reports help communicate trends in a visual way. If you are an administrative assistant or a business professional who has to provide reports to your management on website activity, this tool helps build reports in less time than other methods, like downloading data from Google Analytics and using Excel, Google Sheets, or other reporting tools to create reports. As the old saying goes, time is money, and if you’re able to provide information efficiently and effectively in quick time, that makes you more valuable to your managers. Below is an example of a report that I did on my website on visitors by location. Using Data Studio, it took me about 10 minutes to create.
Ideal skill for: buyers, planners, schedulers, marketers, researchers, business analysts
- The truth is most non-IT companies either have a very small IT group that has more tasks and projects than people to do them, or they outsourced the work to groups that charge for each IT task. Your company may be large enough to afford a sophisticated business intelligence tool that will allow you to use the tool to pull data that you need to make purchasing and business decisions, but some of these tools do require some knowledge in SQL for more complex data pulls. Most companies don’t have these business intelligence tools, so in order to get the data you need, someone needs to write “code” called SQL to be able to get the data. By knowing SQL, you don’t have to rely on IT to get the data for you, so you can get it faster. A trend that I’m seeing is that IT is providing database access to business analysts and other business users to allow them to write SQL to pull the data themselves, and these business professionals who also know SQL are getting higher salaries than their not-as-technical counterparts.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Ideal skill for: business owners, marketers, instructors
- In this day and age, businesses require an Internet presence to help market products and services, and if you’re an eCommerce business, you must have an internet site. In the beginning, you may not be able to afford a web developer to help set up a website for you, so you may have to use 3rd party sites like WIX, WordPress, Amazon Marketplace and Etsy to set up a website. These sites use content management systems to allow you to easily write what text that you want your site to have and to publish product information that you want to sell online. If you don’t know how to use a CMS, you will need to hire a content manager to manage your website and eCommerce marketplace for you. Although a content manager is less expensive than a web developer, it could still be a strain on your budget to have one if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a lot of capital.
- Colleges and universities are cutting costs. One way is to hire adjunct (a.k.a. part-time) professors instead of full-time professors to teach courses. Another way is to offer more on-line classes and reduce the amount of classes held in a classroom. Many of these colleges use a form of a content management system, known as a learning management system, to host the class. If you don’t know how to use a CMS to add content, upload documents, and create surveys and quizzes, schools may pass you over for an instructor that knows how to do on-line classes.
- Many businesses do marketing tests on their website to see which campaigns and headlines get the most attention and action. The good news is many businesses use CMSes like WordPress, Drupal, SharePoint, or another tool as the website base so they don’t have to depend upon IT to publish website content changes. By knowing how to use the CMS to manage the site to do marketing tests (like A/B testing), this puts you at an advantage because you don’t have to rely on a content manager to do this for you.
Photo and Video Editing
Ideal skill for: business owners, marketers, merchandisers, instructors
- Social media like YouTube, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat are major platforms to help advertise a brand and business. Knowing how to edit photos and videos will help you leverage these platforms with photos and videos that fit your image.
- If you are an instructor, having videos to supplement your class work help give your lessons more impact with learning. When I was teaching part-time, I had videos that my class can view after the lecture to help reinforce what was discussed in the class.
Do you know of any other technical skills that will help non-technical positions? Share them in the comments below.Follow Me on Social Media