CLEVELAND -- We've dug deep to discover what kind of computer skills employers really want you to have to stay viable if you're already employed or get you hired if you are looking for work.
Computer World puts out a list of the 10 hottest tech skills. This year IT Architecture and Programming/Application are the scorchers on the list. But for many of us, computers aren't our world. But we do live in a world filled with and seemingly run by them.
Computers dominate at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. As we tour the facility, a student and instructor work on getting the "bugs" out of a program on a machine, so that the cutter inside knows exactly where to cut. This is Computer Numerical Control or CNC Machining for short.
"I wasn't expecting to be doing coding. I was coming for welding and fabrication. But as I got here, I started learning how to use bigger machines," said Micaiah Sullivan a student at the Cuyahoga County Valley Career Center.
Computer coding has become hugely popular. So popular in fact that children as young as third grade are taking weekend workshops at the career center. "Coding is very popular, even with those young kids," said Joseph Dannemiller, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center.
Right down the hall in automotive, students spend a lot of time on their computers using chrome books to manage their assignments.
In a few years once these students are in the workplace they can use the same tool for client info, appointments and account information. You name it. "All of our work orders are done on this computer," said Charles Russo and instructor at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, who said it's the students who already know how to use Chrome before they come to the class.
If you need to catch up on your skills, that's no problem says Carmen Castro-Rivera, Director of Career Services at Baldwin Wallace University. "Teamwork, problem solving, organizing, prioritizing and communicating. Those things come before technical skills," Castro-Rivera stressed.
In fact, employers rank skills they want in an employee. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers a survey of 201 diverse and large companies, revealed that communication and teamwork are most important. Proficiency with software programs finished 8th on the list.
The director of Baldwin Wallace's Career Center Carmen Castro Rivera says the skills employers want are ranked.
"Every organization that an individual enters is going to have their own technology resources, platforms, and approaches as long as somebody's open to learn. They can learn from those skills too," Castro-Rivera said.
But some companies still might test you on the basics. In this case that often means Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint using a company like Proveit. The company lists over 1,500 assessments on its website an employer could make you take.
File sharing is also an important skill that should be mastered, said Kenneth Atchinson, Professor of Math and Computer Science at Baldwin Wallace.
"Obviously there's Google Drive, Drop Box, One Drive and Sky Drive. All of these tools are pretty much free. You just choose one and then you send people links, so they don't actually have to sign up. And then you can share files," Atchinson said.
It's possible the company you work for, or are trying to work for, may not have all the computer tools you need.
We have a link to a free list of 147 free desktop software for backup, conferencing, email, instant managing, graphics, networking, notes and a whole host of other functions, complied by PC magazine.
It's a great way to show the company you mean business. Computer business!