In the world of technology, nothing is worse than standing still. Almost everyone wants to advance their IT career to some degree, whether you’re interested in being a CIO or simply moving up a few pegs within your company. But growing your technology career isn’t quite as simple as showing up to work every day and doing what you’re told. If you want to truly advance and build the kind of career that you think you deserve, you’ll need to follow a few tips.
Here are 10 tips to help you grow and advance your technology career:
No one is going to pluck you out of your current position and grow your career for you. If you want your technology career to flourish, then you need to take the reins. Consider your goals for the future and the concrete actions you can take to help get you there. Do you need to pick up new skills? Are you looking to advance within your company or go elsewhere? It’s up to you to advocate for yourself and take the steps to move you forward rather than standing still.
Learn How To Adapt
Technology does not stand still. Every year sees new developments in areas from IoT to 5G networks that change the landscape. If you want to remain competitive, you’ve got to be able to keep up with the latest technological developments and be willing to adapt. This willingness to shed old ways of thinking and embrace the new is vital to having longevity in your tech career.
Know Your Business
The best way to work your way up the ladder is to have a working knowledge of what’s going on at your company and within your industry. Become an avid reader of your company’s reports and subscribe to industry news outlets to make sure you’re up to date on the latest tech news. By having well-rounded knowledge of your industry, you’ll prove to your current and potential employers your interest and dedication to the field.
Learn How To Network
Networking is key if you want to make contacts that will pay off in the long run. You can easily meet like-minded people in your industry at industry conferences, building relationships that can help advance your career. Even work activities such as team-building exercises can be beneficial in showing your supervisor that you’re a capable leader.
Never Stop Learning
Because technology is always evolving, it may be useful to go back to school to enhance your tech education. Consider taking courses in areas and fields relevant to the kind of tech job you’re interested in. You can also sign up for individual courses or training sessions to supplement your education and give you a better understanding of your area of tech. These courses may even provide you with a certificate that you can use to pad your resume and impress potential employers.
Find A Mentor
A mentor is an invaluable tool when it comes to advancing your tech career. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to give their time and energy guiding someone who’s newer in their career. By seeking out people who have the kinds of careers in the tech industry that you want to have, you can learn what they did to get there. They can provide you with valuable insight into how to navigate the politics within a company or what common pitfalls to avoid.
Hone Your Soft Skills
Technical skills are obviously an important requirement if you hope to have a chance at growing your career beyond an entry-level position. But don’t underestimate the power of soft skills, which are what will spring you into a leadership role. Interpersonal skills such as time management and creative thinking are the kind of soft skills that will show your supervisors you’re capable of taking on more commitment. Even communication skills can be incredibly helpful in allowing you to explain complicated ideas with ease.
Go Above And Beyond
No one ever got ahead by trying to shirk their responsibilities. But it’s not enough these days to simply show up and do the bare minimum. You need to go above and beyond in order to stand out from your fellow employees. When you’re tasked with a project, make sure you’re doing your best work possible. If there is a way to do your job better than what’s required (without doing loads of extra work for free), then you’ll prove your worth to your supervisor as well as your clients.
Take On New Challenges
Don’t shy away from the work that scares you. By actively embracing challenges and projects that your coworkers don’t want to do, you might find that you learn new skills by overcoming those challenges. You’ll also show your supervisor that you’re not afraid of a challenge and that you’re willing to learn something new.
Your main gig may not always provide you with the kinds of learning experience you need to build your resume and hone your skills. By working freelance on the side, you can build your portfolio and your skill set at the same time. This gives you greater control over the type of work you take and can also lead to new contacts that can help you advance your career. Be sure to check with your employer before you begin working freelance to ensure that you’re not violating any clauses in your contract that prohibit outside work or working for competitors.
The more proactive you are in trying to grow your career, the faster you’ll get to where you want to go. You may find that the path to moving up doesn’t lie within your company, but requires you to leverage contacts and shift positions on your way up the corporate ladder. As long as you’re willing to put in the effort, ask questions, and never shy away from a challenge, your career will be sure to flourish.
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