Your guide to understanding technical skills and how to use them on your CV

Every job requires a suite of skills spanning soft and transferable through to hard and technical. Technical skills are necessary in many industries and vary widely across different roles and sectors. 

In this article, we present the definitive guide to technical skills, complete with definitions and technical skills examples, so that you can feel confident citing your technical knowledge on your CV. 

What are technical skills?

Technical skills are most commonly known as hard skills or job-specific skills. They are the qualities and crafts acquired by gaining experience in a specific field or industry. Technical skills are practical abilities, often relating to digital, mathematical, scientific, or mechanical tasks, such as tools and software, programming languages, and mechanical equipment. 

However, while technical skills are a typical requirement for technically-focused jobs, they are desirable in other industries too and, as a result, vary widely. For example, a Digital Marketer may need Google Analytics abilities and an Administrator may need record software experience, both of which are technical skills.

To clarify, technical skills are different to soft skills, which are more intangible and not job-specific, such as communication, leadership, and adaptability.

Why are technical skills important on your CV?

Technical skills are fundamental if an employee is to fulfil their responsibilities, as it's likely that the job will require daily use of specific tools, programs, and processes. 

Having an arsenal of technical skills often gives job hunters the edge. They are already familiar with the hardware, likely more confident in their ability to do the job, and therefore give prospective employers confidence in their candidacy too. Plus, it's one less thing for the employer to train someone in when they start. 

What technical skills do employers want?

In job descriptions, there is often a list of required and desired technical skills. 

"Required skills" are typically non-negotiable and necessary for a successful hire. For example, if you're applying for a graphic design role, you may be required to have strong knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. 

If it's an entry-level position, some companies may offer training. In contrast, others may require an experienced Graphic Designer who only needs to be updated on department processes and brand guidelines. 

On the other hand, the “desired skills” on a job advert suggest that employers would like to see some of those competencies on a CV, but they are not essential to succeed in the hiring process. 

If an employer sees a candidate's talent and strong transferable skills, they may be willing to overlook shortfalls in desired skills and upskill a new hire on the job instead. This is common for positions with high turnover or niche roles where gaining experience without prior employment is difficult.

Examples of technical skills to put on your CV

There are a huge number of technical skills. Some are industry-specific and others are common across a range of industries. Here are examples of technical skills which you may see listed in job descriptions while searching for a new role:

1. Big data analysis

Almost every industry relies on data. Companies today have multiple methods of obtaining data sets from different sources and rely heavily on staff to collect, organise, and interpret that data. Staff may rely on existing software or even build out tools to manipulate the data to meet business needs. Data skills are highly sought-after in many industries. Examples of data skills include:

  • Data analysis and visualisation

  • Statistical analysis and programming

  • Data visualisation

  • Data cleaning and preprocessing

  • Statistical modelling

  • Predictive analytics

  • Big Data technologies

  • Hadoop ecosystem (HDFS, MapReduce, HBase)

  • Spark

  • NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra)

  • Data warehousing concepts

  • Stream processing technologies

2. Coding, programming, and software development

Coding, programming, and software development technical skills are not limited to the jobs of Programmers, Coders, and Developers. The ability to code in multiple programming languages is very desirable and can be transferred into many industries. This is especially true for small companies, who might need more dedicated IT support in their business and would rely on other staff with these abilities. 

Examples of technical skills in the IT, software, coding, and programming space include:

  • Python

  • Java

  • JavaScript

  • C / C++ / C#

  • Ruby

  • HTML / CSS

  • Frontend frameworks (React.js, Vue.js, Angular)

  • Backend frameworks (Node.js, Django, Flask)

  • RESTful APIs

  • Design patterns

  • Agile methodologies

  • Version control systems (Git, SVN)

  • Testing frameworks (JUnit, pytest)

  • Continuous integration and deployment (CI / CD)

3. Productivity software applications

Some software and applications are the bread and butter of the working world, regardless of the industry. Productivity software, which is essentially designed to improve our efficiency at work, commonly includes task management apps, video conferencing, presentation software, documents, and spreadsheets. 

These applications are often fundamental to many jobs, but you don't need to list them individually on your CV. Instead, opt for phrases which outline your field of expertise. For example, “competent in Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.”

Here's a list of other productivity software and typical workplace applications that employers desire technical skills in:

  • Microsoft 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)

  • Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms)

  • Asana

  • Trello

  • Slack

  • Microsoft Teams

  • Dropbox

  • Google Drive

  • SharePoint

4. Project management

Project management is another sought-after technical skill. While it might seem like a soft skill, since its foundations are rooted in organisation and communication, it often requires complex software and specific technical knowledge regarding operations and decision-making. 

Examples of technical skills and applications in project management include: 

  • Agile (Scrum, Kanban)

  • Waterfall


  • Lean methodology

  • Gantt charts

  • Risk management

  • Resource allocation

  • Task prioritisation

  • Jira

  • Confluence

  • Microsoft Project

  • Slack

5. Graphic design

Technical graphic design skills are a hot commodity for creative workers and are increasingly important if you want to land a job in the design industry. Securing a graphic design position is more than simply having creative flair. It requires a large portion of technical know-how too. 

Here are examples of technical skills in graphic design:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)

  • Sketch

  • Figma

  • Canva

  • Typography

  • Colour theory

  • Layout design

  • Branding

  • CorelDRAW

6. Digital marketing

Jobs in the digital marketing industry are vastly diverse, as are the associated technical skills. While there are plenty of general digital marketing roles, there are also specialist positions in content marketing, social media management, paid media, and search engine optimisation. Even if you're a specialist in the digital marketing industry, candidates with an awareness of, and experience with, overlapping technical skills are highly desirable. 

Here is a list of common technical skills, software, and applications in digital marketing:

  • Keyword research

  • On-page optimisation

  • Off-page optimisation (link building)

  • SEO analytics and tracking

  • Blogging and copywriting

  • Content creation and curation

  • Content management systems (WordPress, Drupal)

  • Social media platforms (Facebook, X, TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest)

  • Social media analytics (BuzzSumo, Hootsuite)

  • Social media advertising

  • Email campaign management

  • Email automation platforms (MailChimp, Constant Contact)

  • A/B testing and optimisation

  • Google Analytics

  • Google Search Console

7. Cybersecurity

In an era of increasing digital threats and data breaches, cybersecurity expertise is crucial for safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring the integrity of systems and networks in the workplace. If you're looking for a job in cybersecurity, you must have a strong foundation in cybersecurity principles and the technical skills to protect against cyberattacks. 

Examples of technical cybersecurity skills include:

  • Cryptography

  • Firewall management

  • Incident response

  • Intrusion detection and prevention

  • Network security protocols

  • Penetration testing

  • Security information and event management (SIEM)

  • Threat intelligence analysis

  • Vulnerability assessment and management

  • Web application security

8. Database management

Database Administrators play a critical role in designing, implementing, and maintaining databases to support the information needs of organisations. Employers seek candidates with technical competencies in database technologies and best practices to ensure data integrity, availability, and performance.

Examples of technical skills in database management include:

  • Data normalisation

  • Database querying (SQL)

  • Database optimisation

  • Indexing and performance tuning

  • Relational database management systems (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle)

  • NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra)

  • Database replication

  • Backup and recovery procedures

  • Data warehousing

  • Database security best practices

9. DevOps

DevOps is all about the development and operations teams working together. While a whole host of interpersonal skills is required, so too are technical skills. DevOps Engineers are responsible for bridging the gap between development and operations teams and fostering a culture of continuous integration and delivery. 

Here are examples of technical DevOps skills:

  • Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

  • Configuration management tools (Ansible, Chef, Puppet)

  • Containerisation (Docker, Kubernetes)

  • Orchestration tools

  • Monitoring and logging systems

  • Cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform)

  • Scripting languages for automation (Bash, PowerShell)

  • Version control systems

  • Agile methodologies

10. Artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning

Artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and machine learning are exciting industries to get involved with. The Engineers are pivotal in analysing complex datasets, building predictive models and algorithms, and deploying machine learning solutions. 

In addition, organisations seeking to harness the power of data-driven insights and automation increasingly value AI and machine learning proficiency. You could go far simply by dabbling in ChatGPT.

Examples of technical skills in AI, data science, and machine learning include:

  • Exploratory data analysis (EDA)

  • Model evaluation and validation

  • Supervised learning algorithms (Linear Regression, Random Forests)

  • Unsupervised learning algorithms (K-means clustering, PCA)

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

  • ChatGPT

  • Deep learning frameworks (TensorFlow, PyTorch)

  • Data visualisation libraries (Matplotlib, Seaborn)

  • Cloud-based machine learning platforms (Google AI, Azure Machine Learning)

  • Machine learning algorithms (Linear Regression, Decision Trees, Neural Networks)

  • AI ethics and responsible AI practices

  • AI model interpretation and explainability

  • AI development environments (Jupyter Notebook, Google Colab)

  • Model versioning and management tools (MLflow, Kubeflow)

  • Automated machine learning (AutoML) tools

11. Mobile app development

Many people learn how to code by self-studying and playing around with building apps. But professionally, Mobile App Developers create user-friendly, feature-rich applications for iOS and Android platforms. Employers seek candidates proficient in mobile app development tools and frameworks to deliver seamless and innovative mobile experiences. Still, they'll be open to a novice who's also learned some basics from solo study.

Examples of technical skills in mobile app development include:

  • iOS app development (Swift, Objective-C)

  • Android app development (Java, Kotlin)

  • Cross-platform app development frameworks (React Native, Flutter)

  • Mobile UI / UX design principles

  • Push notifications and background processing

  • Mobile app testing and debugging

  • Mobile app security best practices

  • App store submission and management

  • Mobile analytics and user tracking

  • Mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)

12. Cloud computing

Cloud computing has revolutionised how businesses manage and deliver services, offering scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. SaaS companies seeking to leverage the power of cloud platforms for applications and workloads value proficiency in cloud computing.

Technical professionals skilled in cloud computing possess expertise in a range of areas, including:

  • Cloud service providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform)

  • Cloud computing models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS)

  • Cloud storage solutions (Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage)

  • Virtualisation technologies (VMware, Docker)

  • Serverless computing

  • Cloud networking (VPCs, VPNs)

  • Cloud security and compliance

  • Cloud migration strategies

  • Cloud cost management and optimisation

  • Distributed computing concepts

13. UI / UX design

Crafting intuitive and visually engaging user interfaces (UI) and seamless user experiences (UX) requires a blend of creativity, empathy, and technical expertise. Therefore, soft and technical skills are needed for these roles.

These are key technical skills in UI / UX design:

  • Wireframing and prototyping tools (Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma)

  • User research methodologies (interviews, surveys, usability testing)

  • Information architecture and navigation design

  • User personas and journey mapping

  • Interaction design principles

  • Visual design fundamentals (typography, colour theory, layout)

  • Responsive and adaptive design techniques

  • Accessibility standards and guidelines

  • Design systems and component libraries

  • Collaboration and communication tools for designers (InVision, Zeplin)

14. Data analysis and statistics

Data Analysts and Statisticians need a technical skill set. It's their job to interpret, manipulate, and draw meaningful conclusions from data to help solve problems or track business. They are in high demand across all industries, from finance and manufacturing to government and education.

Here are essential technical skills in data analysis and statistics:

  • Statistical analysis and programming

  • Data visualisation

  • Data cleaning and preprocessing

  • Statistical modelling

  • Predictive analytics

  • Time series analysis

  • Regression analysis

  • Hypothesis testing

  • Data mining techniques

  • Statistical software proficiency (R, Python with pandas)

15. Information technology (IT) support

IT support professionals are critical in ensuring companies' smooth operation of computer systems and networks. They are the backbone of technical support, from installing and configuring computer systems to troubleshooting hardware issues and providing software assistance. 

Key technical skills in IT support include:

  • Hardware troubleshooting

  • Software installation and configuration

  • Network troubleshooting

  • System administration tasks

  • Helpdesk support

  • Remote desktop support

  • IT security fundamentals

  • Knowledge of operating systems (Windows, MacOS, Linux)

  • Active Directory management

  • Mobile device management (MDM)

16. Quality assurance and testing

Quality assurance (QA) professionals verify that software meets specified requirements and functions correctly. They are crucial in identifying and rectifying defects before products are released to end users, advising on the performance of quality management systems and reporting on quality performance.

Here are essential technical skills in quality assurance and testing:

  • Technical writing

  • User manuals and guides

  • API documentation

  • Software requirements specifications (SRS)

  • Knowledge base management

  • Style guide adherence

  • Diagramming tools (Microsoft Visio, Lucidchart)

  • Documentation version control

  • Document review and editing

  • Plain language writing techniques

17. Healthcare

There are more opportunities in the healthcare industry than becoming a Doctor or Nurse. If you have an affinity for healthcare and tech, you could be indispensable in many roles. 

Essential technical skills in healthcare include:

  • ICD-10 coding

  • CPT coding

  • Electronic health records (EHR) software

  • Medical billing software

  • NHS digital tools

  • Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards

  • National Early Warning Score (NEWS)

  • Patient administration systems (PAS)

  • Integrated digital care records (IDCR)

18. Human resources

Every organisation requires HR in some way, and embracing diverse technical skills is essential for HR professionals to navigate the complexities of modern HR practices effectively. 

Here are key technical skills relevant to HR:

  • People management software

  • Human resource information systems (HRIS)

  • Applicant tracking systems

  • Performance management software

  • Employee scheduling software

  • Employment law compliance

  • Payroll processing systems

  • Diversity and inclusion analytics

  • Learning management systems (LMS)

  • Talent acquisition analytics

19. Technical writing

In the world of technical writing, adeptness with various tools and platforms is essential for creating clear, concise, and accessible documentation. 

Technical writers play a crucial role in communicating complex information effectively to diverse audiences, and their aptitude for using specialist software will only enhance the quality of any documentation.

These are essential technical skills for technical writers:

  • Technical documentation software

  • Adobe technical communication suite

  • MadCap Flare

  • Help authoring tools (HelpNDoc, RoboHelp)

  • Documentation version control systems

20. Retail and food service

In the fast-paced and dynamic retail and food service industries, knowledge of using various tools and software is indispensable for ensuring smooth operations and delivering exceptional customer experiences. From streamlining transactions to optimising inventory management, technological skills play a vital role in enhancing efficiency and compliance within the industry. 

Here are essential technical skills for professionals in retail and food service:

  • Point of Sale (POS) software proficiency

  • Inventory management systems

  • Electronic ordering systems

  • Customer relationship management software

  • Food safety and hygiene regulations compliance

  • Menu engineering and design

  • Food preparation and portion control

  • Cash handling and transaction processing

  • Loss prevention techniques

  • Staff scheduling software

  • Table management systems 

  • Order management and delivery platforms

  • Digital menu board software

  • Loyalty programme management software

  • Compliance with payment card industry data security standards (PCI DSS)

21. Architecture and engineering

If you fancy yourself as an Architect or Engineer, technical and creative skills are a must. From conceptualisation to construction, technological skills are crucial in streamlining design processes, enhancing collaboration, and achieving sustainability goals. 

Here are key technical skills for professionals in architecture and engineering:

  • AutoCAD

  • SolidWorks

  • Revit

  • SketchUp

  • Rhino

  • CAD (Computer-Aided Design) proficiency

  • BIM (Building Information Modeling) expertise

  • Structural analysis and design

  • Architectural drafting and detailing

  • Civil engineering design principles

  • Construction documentation management

  • Sustainable design practices

  • Building code and regulation compliance

  • Geotechnical engineering analysis

  • Environmental impact assessment

  • Structural integrity assessment

  • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) coordination

  • Construction cost estimation

  • 3D modelling and visualisation software proficiency

22. Shipping and transportation

Professionals in the shipping and transportation field also need a suite of technical skills to navigate intricate freight systems, optimise transportation routes, and ensure compliance with stringent international trade regulations. 

From fleet management to last-mile delivery optimisation, here are essential technical skills in shipping and transportation:

  • Freight management systems

  • Transportation management systems (TMS)

  • Warehouse management systems (WMS)

  • Fleet management software

  • Route optimisation software

  • Logistics management software 

  • Supply chain management 

  • Customs compliance and international trade regulations 

  • Freight forwarding and brokerage 

  • Last-mile delivery optimisation 

  • Transportation network design and optimisation 

  • Vehicle tracking and telematics systems 

  • Freight rate negotiation 

  • Inventory control and management 

  • Intermodal transportation (rail, sea, air)

  • Hazardous materials handling and transportation regulations 

23. Accounting and finance

From using accounting software to navigating complex tax regulations and reporting obligations, professionals in the accounting and finance industry must possess a diverse skill set to manage financial operations effectively. 

Here are key technical skills relevant to accounting and finance in the UK:

  • Proficiency in UK accounting software (Sage, QuickBooks, Xero)

  • UK GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)

  • VAT compliance and reporting

  • Corporation tax preparation and compliance 

  • Understanding of HMRC requirements and filings

  • Payroll processing, including RTI (real-time information) submissions

  • Financial statement preparation 

  • Familiarity with Companies House filings and reporting obligations

  • Pension scheme accounting and compliance (Auto-Enrolment)

  • Financial regulations and regulatory bodies (FCA, PRA)

  • Application of UK-specific tax reliefs and incentives (R&D tax credits, SEIS / EIS)

  • Making tax digital

24. Video and multimedia production

From video editing software skills to motion graphics and audio mixing expertise, those looking to get a job in video and multimedia production need a versatile skill set to bring their creative visions to life. 

Here are key technical skills relevant to video and multimedia production:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro

  • Final Cut Pro

  • DaVinci Resolve

  • Avid Media Composer

  • Motion Graphics and Animation

  • Adobe After Effects

  • Cinema 4D

  • 3D animation software

  • Autodesk Maya

  • Blender

  • Audio editing and mixing

  • Adobe Audition

  • Pro Tools

  • Sound design and Foley artistry

25. Language and translation software

In the world of language and translation software, adeptness in various specialised tools is paramount for facilitating accurate and efficient translation processes. These tools streamline translation tasks and ensure consistency in terminology and quality across diverse language projects. 

Here are key technical skills relevant to language and translation software:

  • Translation software proficiency

  • SDL Trados Studio

  • MemoQ

  • Wordfast

  • Memsource

  • Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools

  • Translation memory management

  • Glossary and terminology management

  • Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE)

  • Quality assurance checks in translation software

  • Subtitling and captioning software

  • Audio transcription tools

  • Voice recognition software

  • Language localisation tools

  • Translation project management platforms

26. Legal and compliance software

Competency in using specialist software is critical for ensuring regulatory adherence, managing legal processes, and mitigating risks effectively, which is essential in the legal sector. These software solutions serve various functions, from streamlining case management to automating document workflows and facilitating compliance monitoring. 

Below are some key technical skills pertinent to legal and compliance software:

  • Legal case management software

  • Compliance monitoring systems

  • Contract management platforms

  • eDiscovery software

  • Regulatory compliance software

  • Legal research databases

  • Document automation tools

  • Data privacy compliance software

  • Anti-money laundering (AML) software

  • Risk assessment and management platforms

  • Legal billing and invoicing software

  • Electronic signature software

  • Corporate governance solutions

  • Software for legal document review

  • Ethics and compliance training software

27. Environmental and sustainability tools

Environmental and sustainability tools enable organisations to track and analyse their environmental footprint, comply with regulations, and implement strategies for reducing environmental impact. This is even more important now as many businesses strive to hit their net zero carbon targets.

These are key technical skills relevant to environmental and sustainability tools:

  • Environmental impact assessment tools

  • Carbon footprint calculators

  • Sustainability reporting software

  • Energy management systems

  • Environmental management software

  • Lifecycle assessment tools

  • Greenhouse gas accounting software

  • Sustainability performance tracking platforms

  • Biodiversity monitoring tools

  • Water footprint calculators

  • Renewable energy feasibility analysis software

  • Waste management tracking systems

  • Environmental compliance software

  • Sustainable procurement platforms

  • Environmental risk assessment tools

28. Education and e-learning platforms

Whether you're a Teacher, Educator, Coach, or Mentor, proficiency in various digital tools is essential for creating engaging and effective online learning experiences. These tools enable professionals to design, deliver, and manage e-learning content and facilitate collaboration and assessment in virtual environments.

 Here are key technical skills relevant to education and e-learning platforms:

  • Learning management systems (Moodle or Blackboard)

  • Content authoring tools (Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate)

  • Virtual classroom software (Zoom or Microsoft Teams)

  • Online assessment platforms (Quizizz or Kahoot)

  • Video conferencing tools for remote teaching

  • Interactive whiteboard software (SMART Notebook or Promethean ActivInspire)

  • Educational podcasting platforms (Anchor or Podbean)

  • Online collaboration tools (Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365)

  • Video editing software for creating educational content

  • E-learning course design principles and best practices

  • Online course analytics and data tracking tools

  • Accessibility standards and tools for creating inclusive e-learning content

  • Mobile learning platforms and responsive design principles

Technical skills examples for a student CV

Employers seek candidates who have a blend of interpersonal and technical skills. Technical skills can be hard to identify as a student, if you haven't had a job before. However, school and extracurricular activities offer a whole host of technical skills. 

Here are examples of technical skills suitable for a student CV:

  • Social media platforms

  • Social media analytics and scheduling

  • Content creation and graphic design (Canva, CapCut)

  • Basic IT skills and online collaboration tools (Microsoft 365, Google Drive, Dropbox)

  • IT operating systems and troubleshooting

  • Digital literacy, online safety, and file management

  • Data entry

  • Foreign languages

  • Email etiquette

How to improve your technical skills

Many technical skills can be learnt on the job. However, if that resource or opportunity isn't available to you, or you're changing careers, there are steps you can take to improve your technical abilities.

Enrol in a course

The majority of technical skills can be taught in a dedicated course. A training programme is usually available, covering everything from methodologies to software and applications. 

Many certified courses have a fee, but there are plenty of free or discounted courses available too. When choosing a course, consider the level you need to train to. You may be able to take a short programme spanning a few hours, rather than a 12-week course.

Use self-study training programmes

Self-study programmes may be another path to acquiring technical skills. This may include free online resources, how-to books, or self-paced online lessons.  

Learn from a professional

You may also be able to learn technical skills from professionals in your network. If relevant, contact colleagues in your department or company and your professional network on LinkedIn to see if you can exchange services. There might be technical skills or industry insights you can share with them in return.

Alternatively, you could Google experienced Tutors and Coaches with advertised services, offering tailored in-person or online sessions to upskill your technical knowledge.

How to include technical skills in your CV

Your CV should include a Key Skills or Core Competencies section near the top of the document, putting your best and most relevant technical skills in a prime position. Between 6 and 12 is the optimum number of skills to include.

Remember, the best skills to add to your CV are the ones that relate to the job description and show the employer you're qualified for the job.

How to keep your technical skills current

Soft skills rarely change. However, technical skills can change regularly with time. Once you've learnt a technical skill, you must keep it fresh, active, and up-to-date. Use your technical abilities as frequently as you can. If you aren't using them often in your day-to-day role, perhaps you could keep them fresh by tutoring others in your team. 

Alternatively, you could join online or in-person industry groups to see how others improve their skills or continue your education to take your technical abilities to the next level.

As you develop your technical skills and learn new ones, update your CV periodically to reflect your expertise. You'll thank yourself when it's time to look for a new job.

Technical skills are fundamental to your CV as they are vital in any job. To check your CV is doing justice to your skills, submit your CV for a free review, and we'll ensure you're including examples of technical skills correctly. 

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