Career development is an important part of keeping your IT career moving forward. Even if you’re happy with where you are, it’s important to keep growing so that your skills don’t become outdated or irrelevant. That means more than just learning new skills: it means learning how to talk about them like a normal person would (which is not something all IT professionals can do). But how do you make sure that happens? Here are some tips for staying on top of your game.
Make Yourself an Expert in the Process
One of the best ways to keep moving forward in your IT career is to become an expert at a particular process. The more you know about something, the better you will be able to explain it to other people and make sure they understand. It’s also important that you can explain the problem, because if you don’t understand what the issue is then how do you know whether or not your solution works?
For example, if you work in a DevOps environment, you should be well-versed with tools like the Docker registry by JFrog, GitHub Enterprise by GitHub, and Jenkins by CloudBees. These are all tools that you can use to create the best possible DevOps environment for your organization.
It’s not always possible for everyone on a team or project to know all of these things off-hand, but getting close makes them feel more confident in their work and gives them greater freedom when making decisions about how best to proceed with any given task or project.
Learn to Talk About IT Like a Normal Person
You are an IT professional, and you need to communicate that in a way that’s relatable to the rest of the world.
You’ll have no problem talking about how your work helps people or society as a whole, but it can be hard for some people to understand how their work directly impacts business. This is especially true in IT, where many people are more interested in the nuts and bolts of how things work than they are with their broader impact on society. This makes it even more important for you to be able to explain what this means for your business and why it’s important that everyone knows about it.
Find Mentors and Sponsors
Mentors and sponsors are people who have already been where you want to be. They can help you with your career, or just give you advice and support. Having mentors is one of the most effective ways to learn from people who have already been there.
Some mentoring programs will match you up with an experienced professional in a field that interests you, or put together workshops or networking events for new employees. But sometimes all it takes is asking around at work who might be willing to get coffee with you every once in awhile—and then doing it!
Develop a Good Reputation for Being a Team Player
There are many ways to create a good reputation for yourself as someone who is a team player, and these traits are important in virtually any IT position. You can start by doing the work assigned to you without complaint and helping others when they need it. Honesty is also an important consideration, as well as showing up on time and being a good listener, communicator and teammate.
When working with your department or team, be sure to attend meetings so that you have all of the information necessary to do your job effectively. When making plans for projects or assignments with other members of your group (or even at higher levels), use open communication methods such as emailing everyone involved with details about who needs what from whom and when it needs to happen by so there aren’t any misunderstandings later down the line when deadlines are looming large over everyone’s heads.
Develop Your Leadership Skills
As a leader, you must be able to communicate effectively, delegate responsibility and take on more responsibility. You must be an assertive listener as well as a mentor. Here are some tips to help you develop leadership skills:
- Communicate clearly and directly: Use “I” statements and avoid passive-aggressive tactics (like sending vague emails or leaving cryptic notes).
- Learn how to give constructive criticism: Don’t sugarcoat your message; instead, focus on the behavior rather than the person (for instance, say “You didn’t complete this project on time” instead of “You’re so lazy”).
- Be open-minded: Be willing to consider different ways of doing things—and don’t be afraid of making mistakes!
We’re all in this together, and I hope that by sharing my experiences you feel a little more empowered to make your own IT career happen. If you follow the steps we outlined above, you’re bound to find success as an IT professional who loves what they do. I know it sounds cliché, but don’t forget: You are the only one who can determine how far your IT career goes!