Technical Skills

What Are Technical Skills?

Technical skills refer to the specialized knowledge and expertise needed to accomplish complex actions, tasks, and processes relating to computational and physical technology as well as a diverse group of other enterprises. Those who possess technical skills are often referred to as "technicians," with the expression referring to audio technicians, electronics technicians, market technicians, computer technicians, engineering technicians, and a variety of other designations.

Technical skills may also refer to the expertise of a certain type of market participant who uses technical analysis signals to buy and sell stocks, bonds, futures, and other financial instruments.

Key Takeaways

  • Technical skills are sets of abilities or knowledge used to perform practical tasks in the areas of science, the arts, technology, engineering, and math.
  • Technical skills typically require the use of certain tools and the technologies required to use those tools.
  • In finance, technical skills may refer to traders and analysts who follow the procedures of technical analysis, using charts, indicators, and patterns to generate buy and sell signals.
  • In most cases, the acquisition of advanced technical skills requires specialized training or education, which takes both time and resources.
  • Technical skill requirements are listed for most career fields.
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Technical Skills

Understanding Technical Skills

Technical skills are practical ones, typically related to the fields of mechanics, information technology, mathematics, and science.

The term can refer to the ability to perform tasks that require the use of certain tools, whether tangible or intangible, and the technology required to master their intended uses in a variety of scenarios. In this regard, the knowledge in a technical skills capacity is seen as practical in nature because it allows an individual to complete a designated task in a real-world, not theoretical, manner.

Given the growth of technology within worldwide and local economies, the need for diverse technical skills and knowledge is likely to continue to grow into the foreseeable future.

Technical Skills Education and Training

The acquisition of advanced technical skills requires specific education or training, often with a hands-on learning component and many advanced topical elements. Technical skill requirements are listed for the majority of career fields, with the highest concentrations being employment in areas involving scientific, technological, engineering, computational, and mathematical capabilities.

Some employers offer training courses to help their employees develop technical skills.

Within the financial markets, trader and investor participation in the technical analysis skillset requires the use of various mathematical and pattern recognition tools. These include the ability and expertise to determine what historical data is required and how it needs to be applied to elicit the required information.

Most technical analysis applications in relation to the market and other financial activities are designed to digest historical information measured in days, weeks, months, or years and use the output to predict future directional outcomes in specific financial instruments.

Examples of Technical Skills

Finance

In finance, technical skills consist of an array of knowledge topics that include computing abilities, quantitative analysis, and various financial market forecasting techniques. Technical analysis requires a variety of mathematical skills, often advanced in nature, to produce price chart analysis and model trends that look at historical information to predict future price movements.

Technical skills in this context usually refer to an individual who possesses the knowledge and expertise to complete the mathematical tasks required to gather the historical data, produce a data model set, and perform directional analysis on the various outputs.

For example, to produce a linear regression model for technical analysis, the market analyst must have the skills and knowledge necessary to properly gather the historical data, perform any necessary calculations, and use the output to generate a visual representation of current and legacy historical data.

Once the linear regression is complete, the market analyst needs to have the skills and expertise to extrapolate future market activity based on the directional patterns identified in the model set(s).

Accounting

Akin to finance, accounting requires specific technical skills that extend beyond basic mathematics. Unlike the olden days when paper and pen were used for documentation, today's accounting professionals rely on a suite of software products, such as Microsoft Excel, for computing and analysis. Therefore, these workers need an advanced working knowledge of various software.

Although most accounting processes are automated, accountants still need to be proficient in understanding and preparing financial statements (e.g., balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flows). Central to accounting, these documents shed light on the health of a company or person's portfolio.

Research is another important and often overlooked technical skill needed in accounting. Some situations require extensive and independent research. For example, an accountant may need to learn how a new law affects how assets are classified or about a new accounting principle.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) outline the rules and regulations for US accountants, whereas the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is the standard in other nations.

Software Development

Software developers must understand and know how to create and edit code, use complex software, and manipulate hardware to increase computing capabilities.

Most notably, software developers must be proficient in coding, also known as software programming. Much like human languages, there are many coding languages in which a developer can be fluent. Coding translates human language into instructions the computer uses to perform specific functions.

Software developers also need to know how to organize and use data to solve computing problems or simplify processes. Along with data structure, the use of algorithms helps software developers solve issues. Computers use algorithms' step-by-step instructions to produce solutions.

Which Jobs Require Technical Skills?

Many professions—such as audio technicians, electronics technicians, market technicians, computer technicians, and engineering technicians—require technical skills. Careers in the scientific, technological, engineering, computational, and mathematical fields have the highest concentrations of technical skills.

Which Technical Skills Should You Put on a Resume?

An applicant should list the technical skills relevant to the job to which they are applying. In addition, they should list common technical skills most employers look for, such as data analysis, accounting, project management, and marketing.

What Technical Skills Are Employers Looking For?

Many employers look for basic technical skills like data analysis, management, accounting, project management, and marketing. Highly-specialized jobs may require specific technical skills that the applicant must possess to qualify.

How Can I Improve My Technical Skills?

Technical skills can be improved through education and training. For example, enhancing technical skills in computer programming may require prospects to take computer programming courses and receive training on specific software applications.

The Bottom Line

Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge that enable someone to perform certain functions. Workers need these skills to successfully perform their day-to-day job duties. Whether attained through training or education, technical skills are essential for increased productivity and to achieve a competitive advantage.