8 Best Software Skills for a Tech Resume

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Charlotte Cornbrooks spent five years working in student affairs. During that time, she supervised, coached, and mentored student leaders. Now Charlotte writes about tech bootcamps, education, and culture. Charlotte earned her MA in higher education ...
Published on Aug 24, 2022
Updated Apr 18, 2023
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  • Resumes are the critical first step to landing your dream job and require a lot of careful attention.
  • Software skills are a crucial element to any strong tech resume.
  • Discover which software skills to include on your tech resume to make the most impact.

A study in 2018 found that recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds looking at a resume. With that in mind, it's vital that your resume makes an impression and shares the right information right off the bat.

Clarity and specifics are key resume components across industries. In the tech industry, entry-level resumes should only be one page, which means space is valuable. You need to know what information to include and what to eliminate. We'll give you a brief overview of how to build a tech resume and which software skills deserve that valuable space on your resume.

What Are Software Skills?

Software skills is a term that can often be misapplied, so let's take a minute to clarify the definition. Computer skills are a broad umbrella for everything related to using a computer. That term is divided into two subcategories: software and hardware skills.

Software skills are skills with computer programs ranging from Microsoft Office Suite to JavaScript, Python, Adobe, and more. Hardware skills refer to your skills with the physical components of computer operations, such as a hard drive, backups, and network operations.

The type of software skills you'll need depends on your desired job or career path. Many coding bootcamps teach HTML and JavaScript, the basic codes for web developers or software engineers.

Of course, you don't need to attend a coding bootcamp to learn these skills. There are free or inexpensive courses you can take to learn a specific program like Python.

If you aren't sure what software skills you need for your desired job, browse current job descriptions. They will often list specific programming skills required. In addition, this article lists some fundamental software skills you want to master.

What Is a Tech Resume?

Tech resumes are not a record of your employment; they are a one-page snapshot of your tech skills and completed tech projects. A good entry-level tech resume is only one page and is easy to read. If you have several years of experience, you may require more space, but keeping it as brief as possible is key.

Formatting may vary, but it's important that your tech resume is clear and readable. It should include your relevant contact information at the top. You'll also want to include your education, such as degrees, certificates, or internships.

The bulk of the page should be dedicated to specific tech experiences. You should list your specific skills by category in a column on the left or right (categories include: software, operating systems, etc.). Under each category, you should include the programs you have proficiency or mastery in.

The body of the resume will focus on specific projects you've worked on and/or completed. This is where quality and brevity are essential. Recruiters recommend using bullet points, not paragraphs.

Software Bootcamps for You

8 Best Software Skills for a Resume

As mentioned earlier, there are specific software skills required for different tech jobs. This list outlines some of the more fundamental software skills which should be featured on a strong tech resume.

1. Coding Skills

Coding languages are the foundation of almost everything that we interact with on computers and mobile apps. Coding consists of a series of numbers and/or letters that create instructions for machines (computers) to follow. A great deal of code is required to perform functions on our computers. Computers read code quickly for a seamless experience on the user front.

Programmers are tasked with creating these comprehensive “instruction manuals” for computers. They communicate with the computers through one or several coding languages. Having experience with these languages can be a huge step-up when applying for a job, as most tech jobs require some knowledge of coding.

Coding languages you might list on your resume include:

  • JavaScript
  • Python

2. Databases

Databases are the unsung heroes of the tech community. Businesses and individuals store their data electronically. There are a number of styles of data storage or database management, including centralized databases, cloud databases, blockchain databases, and database design. Having experience in any of these fields is bound to be a notable skill, as database knowledge is highly valued.

Examples of database management systems include:

  • MySQL
  • Oracle RDBMS
  • Toad

3. Spreadsheets

Maximizing spreadsheet software is an extremely useful skill, even outside of the tech industry. Spreadsheets can almost always organize and manipulate data more accurately and effectively than other means.

Employers often focus on Excel skills, citing “working knowledge of Excel” as a job requirement. However, you will need to demonstrate specific skills in order to set your resume apart.

In addition to listing the spreadsheet programs that you know, you should demonstrate the specific skills you used in the project section of your resume. For example, “Created visually appealing dashboards in Excel using pivot tables and VLookUP” would be a good start.

  • Microsoft Excel
  • OnlyOffice
  • LibreOffice

4. Word Processing

Word processing, such as writing in an electronic document, is a standard expectation for most office jobs — so much so that it may not be specifically listed in job descriptions.

Unless you have advanced word processing skills, you probably shouldn't devote much space to this on a resume. Basic processing skills would include creating, writing, and formatting a document. Advanced skills would include mail merges, creating reference tables, or running a macro.

  • Microsoft Word
  • Google Drive

5. Presentation Software

If you're looking to move into a management position or work for a startup, you will need presentation skills. In addition to public speaking experience, quality presentation materials are an important asset to your success. Anyone can type up some slides and click through them, but a high-quality presentation is noteworthy.

Advanced presentation skills will set your presentations apart from competitors. These skills include syncing music to the presentation, incorporating video files, installing action buttons, and more.

  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Adobe Persuasion

6. Design and Video Skills

Many small businesses want to take advantage of advertising online and via social media. Yet, quality content and design is not cheap. If you have skills in graphic design and video creation, you might be an outstanding candidate for many tech jobs.

A combination of tech skills and design knowledge is highly desirable. For example, working knowledge of JavaScript, CSS, & HTML combined with working knowledge of design principles and software makes you an ideal candidate.

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • iMovie

7. Social Media

Before a social media post goes up, social media managers optimize the content based on marketing goals, time the content to target audiences, and leverage SEO keywords to draw in new audiences. After a post, social media managers are responsible for analyzing the success of a post and reporting to other team members.

If you are hoping to land a job in content management, some advanced social media skills may include data analytics and search engine optimization (SEO).

The following programs are commonly used for social media management:

  • Hootsuite
  • WordPress

8. Project Management

Project management software is used to determine how many teams, especially remote teams, manage their clients and workflow. It helps project managers keep their teams and their projects on track. As we discussed earlier, a large portion of your tech resume should highlight projects you worked on. The best way to demonstrate your project management skills is to cite the way you leveraged project management software in your projects.

For example, you could write, “Utilized Asana to assign tasks, update team members, and maintain up-to-date financial records.”

  • GanttPRO
  • Zoho Projects

Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Skills

What are some IT skills for a resume?

Information technology (IT) skills can include a wide variety of things. What works for a data scientist's resume might not be applicable for a cybersecurity resume. It's very useful to get input on your resume from people in your desired field before you submit your final draft.

There are general categories you should include on your resume for an IT job, such as operating systems, programming languages, database/server, and other software/tools.

Is Microsoft Office a technical skill?

It depends. The best guideline is that if the Microsoft Office suite is listed in the job description and you have the skills, you should include it. Otherwise, it might be best to leave it off.

Being able to type a Word document or create a PowerPoint is considered standard competency in entry-level professional jobs across industries. At worst, it could look like filler on your resume. At best, hiring managers might assume you can do more advanced Office Suite skills like mail merges and complex Excel functions.

How can I put Excel skills on a resume?

Once again, it depends on the extent of your skills. If you want to include Excel skills on your resume, you should possess more advanced skills. If that's the case, you can create an Excel section of your resume or incorporate specific Excel skills into project descriptions on your resume.

Advanced Excel skills include creating Pivot tables or generating graphs from data in an Excel sheet.

Feature Image: Nitchakul Sangpetch / EyeEm / Getty Images