Top Skills and Traits for a Data Center Career: Future-Proofing the Tech Workforce

November 15, 2019 by Midlothian Economic Development


The tech industry is a fast-paced, ever changing, dynamic environment that offers a variety of successful careers for dedicated individuals. It requires people with strong minds who are equipped with a distinct set of skills to handle their responsibilities and grow in the tech industry.  

Midlothian Economic Development was on ground zero for the rise of data centers in North Texas and has been deeply involved in the tech industry for many years.

Even with all the new technological trends in data centers, it has become clear that — regardless of position — there are a distinct set of skills, certifications, and personal traits that go hand-in-hand with success in these careers. 

Below we explore the top hard and soft skills needed for a successful career in data centers and the technology industry: 

Critical Hard Skills

Possibly the most important set of hard skills for many data center careers is in-depth knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL), R, Python, and Oracle. These make up the data programming languages that are the backbone for successful data analyzation. Specifically, SQL is known as the advanced version of Excel, and major data centers like Google’s in Midlothian, utilize it daily. Increasingly, more data center positions are requiring SQL skills which is mainly due to the fact that this tech language can handle large datasets that excel cannot 

That said, Microsoft Excel is still considered a necessary — if not basic — skill for almost all data center careers. Excel is important for entering, analyzing, and maintaining sets of data, and a large portion of data center careers deal with these responsibilities directly. 

Ranking alongside these data programming skills is a thorough knowledge of the Cloud. This includes certifications and skillsets in:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Cloud Architect
  • Cloud Colocation Connectivity
  • Cloud Security
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud

While traditional data center infrastructure skills such as storage, networking hardware, cybersecurity, and software are by no means lessening in importance, there is a greater need for data centers to employ individuals with the ability to navigate the cloud.

Essential Soft skills

While all of these hard skills are undeniably important, facing the demands of this industry also require a certain set of soft skills - personal qualities or traits needed to thrive in a fast-paced environment. 

One of the top soft skills for a data center career is critical thinking. There is a reason why professors in the top North Texas tech schools stress this mindset — data scientists, analysts, engineers, technicians, and managers alike must employ critical thinking every day. At the core of a career in data centers is innovative foresight and effective problem-solving. Neither can be achieved without objective analysis and evaluation — the two pillars of critical thinking. 

Additionally, data visualization and presentation skills are also key for data center scientists, analysts, and managers. These soft skills go hand-in-hand; the first is the ability to identify and uncover patterns, correlations, and trends in data and display the findings through a graphical format in an easily understandable way, while the second is the ability to clearly and confidently present that information to the decision-makers. Many careers in the tech industry require these skills since an important part of their responsibility is to analyze and present data in a clear and compelling way.  

Here are a few additional soft skill traits that aid careers in data and technology. Successful employees are:

  • Strategic
  • Creative
  • Problem-Solving
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Innovative
  • Adaptable
  • Good Communicators

Rising Expectations

To handle the innovation and dynamics of a career in data centers, there must be tech professionals with a strong balance between these hard and soft skills. 

Data centers are raising expectations for their employees across the board and it’s important for hopeful data center workers to ensure they are taking all possible steps to be prepared for their new tech career. 


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