Many students graduate with IT degrees and the expectations that they’ll have interesting careers and plenty of opportunities to advance. In reality, IT roles can be just as dull and unrewarding as any other job. But like any vocation, there’s also opportunity if you go after it. Here are some strategies you can use to advance your IT career.
1. Learn to Communicate
One of the problems in many companies is that IT is operating from a different perspective. Others may rely on your technical skills, but assume that you’re clueless in understanding how business is done. You should make the effort to understand your employer’s business. Talk to general staff about their challenges and experiences, and develop an understanding of workflows and value.
You can also remove barriers by communicating well. Think about a sales course to develop soft skills that create meaningful dialog. This helps you sell yourself and your own ideas. Both staff and management will see you in a whole new light.
2. Increase Your Importance
You want to establish a reputation as the person who’s willing to do more. If you can turn failed or struggling initiatives into successes, management will come to rely on your talents. When you’re assigned a task, find ways to add a little more, such as extra functions or shortcuts in software. Remember that your end users are your customers, and if you consistently exceed their expectations, they’ll sing your praises.
You should also do your part to help others in the company, whether it’s training, providing insights, or staying late to lend a hand. By helping others, you turn fellow employees into winners, and that’s something they’ll appreciate. Those who collaborate freely become vital to many business units.
3. Become More Qualified
Acquiring new skills will increase your value to the company and your career. Find a mentor if you can, but never stop learning. Become familiar with a range of skills and step up when those skills are required.
Consider earning certifications from Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, and other big tech companies as proof of your expertise with their products. Join organizations for IT professionals. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. If you’re just starting out, try to find an entry-level position with a company, such as Solarus, that will look favorable on your resume.
If this sounds like a lot of hard work, it is. It’s supposed to be that way. Yet, the sooner you get to the top, the better.