Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 24, 2022 | Published August 25, 2020

Updated November 24, 2022

Published August 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Technical skills are a highly sought-after skill set desired by many employers. When you demonstrate technical skills, you show you're qualified for jobs that require the use of physical or digital tools. Understanding what technical skills are and when they are required could be important to your next job move or promotion. In this article, we explore the technical skills you might need in your career path and how to improve them.

What are technical skills?

Technical skills allow you to perform specific technological or physical tasks. There are many different kinds of technical skills. Traditionally, people working in mathematics, computer science, mechanics and information technology mostly use technical skills. Today, however, many industries rely on employees with technical knowledge in various areas. Computer programmers, customer service representatives and even public positions, such as teachers, often need technical skills to perform the essential duties of their job.

Related: 14 Fields of Computer Science To Explore as a Career Choice

Why are technical skills important?

Technical skills are important because many jobs rely on digital tools, programs and processes. If you have sought-after technical knowledge and skills that are common in your industry, you make yourself a more competitive candidate. For example, while a welder may have a positive demeanour and excellent customer service skills, which are good examples of soft skills, their skillful handling of a torch is crucial to their technical and practical success.

Examples of technical skills

The type of technical skills that you may be required to know or learn depend on your field. However, there are several technical skills that are common across different industries.

Here are a few examples of different technical skills you may see listed on job posts:

  • Programming

  • Productivity software knowledge

  • Social media management

  • Project management

  • Big data analysis

Related: 17 Skills You Need to Work in IT


Programming is the practice of using a coding language to create applications, develop websites and produce digital content. In addition to software engineers, many jobs today require programming knowledge. If you're looking for a job as a writer, for example, you may be required to have some basic knowledge of HTML. Other highly sought-after programming languages may include the following:

  • C++

  • C#

  • Java

  • JavaScript

  • Perl

  • PHP

  • Python

In the workplace, those with programming skills usually develop applications and websites for employees and customers. In addition, proper programming is frequently a core component of a business. This is especially true for digital businesses that reach customers through virtual methods such as video conferences and phone calls. Because programming, whether for customers or employees, is important to many businesses, employers seek people with strong programming skills.

Productivity software knowledge

Many industries use productivity software. This software can help get work done faster and more efficiently. This commonly includes word processing, spreadsheet, databases and presentation software. These are the basic tools that many people use to do their jobs.

Productivity software is usually a suite of tools and resources that provides the functionality you need to perform the essential duties of your job. This includes responsibilities such as composing letters and emails, deploying databases and calculating formulas. These tools are important in many areas of work. They are widely used by most professionals, so a strong knowledge of productivity software is often essential to display on a resume or in an interview.

Related: The Best Computer Skills to Develop For Work

Social media management

Social media management is managing and maintaining a company's online presence. This includes everything from preparing the right content and understanding what hashtags and keywords to use to scheduling posts, interacting with consumers and posting content and images that reflect the brand.

In the workplace, social media management is used to attract new customers, re-engage old customers and communicate with your target market. It is often part of a marketing generalist position, like a marketing coordinator. Still, it can also be its own position. For example, social media managers focus much of their effort on ensuring that a brand's social presence is continuously effective. Because social media is important to growth, employers often look for people who possess social media management skills.

Related: What is Social Media Marketing? (With Tips and Platforms)

Project management

Project management is the unique combination of knowledge and proficiency of tools and skills that allow a company to meet project goals. Project managers specialize in mobilizing project teams, ensuring the team meets set milestones, creating timelines and navigating projects through to completion. They are often assisted by project management tools that allow for greater communication, tracking and collaboration.

Employers look for employees with project management skills to assist with completing project-related activities. They often look for these skills when hiring for a project manager or operations manager role.


  • What Are Principles of Project Management (With Skills)

  • Common Technical Interview Questions and Example Answers

Big data analysis

Big data analysis is the process of drawing conclusions, making inferences and identifying trends from volume, velocity and variety data. Big data is an essential component of many businesses that rely on it to do everything from targeting new customers to making business decisions about products, finances and more.

Data scientists, data architects, and analysts all use big data to reach conclusions and create plans for specific business outcomes. Big data analysis allows professionals to model data, turn it into visualizations and offer vital insights to business leaders. For this reason, employers look for people who have strong experience with big data to offer insight into the decision-making process.

Related: How To Become a Big Data Analyst (With Salary Expectations)

How to improve your technical skills

If you're changing industries or positions, you may need to consider improving on or acquiring new technical abilities. Here are some steps you can take to improve your technical skills:

  1. Enroll in courses for different skills: You can learn many technical skills through a dedicated training program or class. Depending on the type of skill, you may be able to learn it by taking one or more courses, either online or in person. You might also be able to take an advanced course and earn a certificate in your chosen field of study.

  2. Use a self-study training program: You can often acquire different skills through self-study programs. These could include how-to books, self-paced online lessons or free training materials available from various sources.

  3. Learn from a professional: You can often find a professional who already possesses the technical skills you want to learn. If so, that individual may be able to teach you the skills you're looking for, either for free or for compensation.

  4. Learn on the job: Some employers may be able to provide on-the-job training. If you do not have the specific technical skills an employer desires, make it known that you are eager and willing to learn whatever skills are necessary to effectively perform the job.

  5. Keep your skills current: Once you've successfully obtained a job, keep updating your technical skills. Use them as frequently as possible, and refresh those skills with continuing education. In many cases, the tools or programs you commonly use will change over time, so your current technical skills may need to be enhanced with new knowledge.

Related: Resume Technical Proficiencies Definition (With Examples)

Best practices for highlighting technical skills

When applying for jobs, you can use both your resume and cover letter to highlight your most important and relevant technical skills employers may find valuable:

Technical skills for resume

Your resume should include a skills section that highlights your most valuable technical skills that are relevant to the position. Maintain focus on the technical skills that the employer is looking for that make you a competitive candidate. For some jobs, you may want to list fewer common technical skills that the potential employer would assume every applicant already has—such as proficiency in an email platform—and focus predominantly on very specialized skills in your field.

Read More: How to Include Technology Skills on Your Resume

Technical skills for cover letter

Your cover letter should give the employer a solid and accurate introduction to who you are. It should also explain what you know about the company, its values, and how you make a good fit for the company's vision. In your cover letter, you should mention a few of your most valuable skills while keeping the cover letter focused, clear and brief.

Related: How to Write the Best Cover Letter (Template and Example)

Technical skills for the interview

When preparing for an interview, be ready to discuss your technical skills. It's common for employers to ask at least one question such as, "What skills do you possess that are most important to this role?"

When crafting your answer to questions about skills, be prepared to talk about technical skills like project management, software proficiency and more by practicing your answer in advance of the interview.

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