4 Key Tenants For Establishing A Successful Career In Information Technology

by HSG on Jan 29, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

There are a lot of articles you will find on the internet that talk about the tenants of having a successful professional career. From soft-skills to job relevant skills, there is an unending list of the do’s and don’ts for establishing a great career. However, a successful career in information technology commands some specific efforts and focus. As a result, it is critical to focus on these 4 key tenants that can help you establish a promising and successful career in Information Technology.

·         Be Multi-lingual– This is the analogy of Steve Job’s famous quote ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ as it applies to Information Technology. Gone are the days when you could train yourself on a specific programming language say Java or C++ and code your way to a successful career. The best programmers of today and tomorrow are pushing the limits and becoming experts in one of more languages. Knowing more than one programming language instantly makes you more employable since you can add value to multiple projects that require different languages. If you need proof, IT professionals knowing more than one language can attract a salary premium of £10,000 . Additionally, there is no telling how dynamic technology is and by being open to constantly learning new languages you will position yourself to get technology jobs that did not exist a few years ago

·         Go Beyond the ‘How’, Focus On ‘Why’: A common theme with most information technology professionals is their ability to figure out the HOW or, in other words, applying their technical know-how in achieving the solution to a problem. This is especially true when you are working for a service based IT organization where your key job is to develop a solution for the client’s business problem. Yes, you are and will get paid to be good at the ‘How’ but to advance a career in IT; it will help you immensely to also start focussing on the ‘Why’. This stems from a famous quote by Einsten “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it”. In essence, spend time in understanding ‘Why’ are your trying to solve the problem before you get down with figuring out the ‘How’ part. The reasons for developing this mindset are two-fold. One, you will instantly distinguish yourself from thousands of other IT peers who are content with the ‘How’ part. Two, there is a good chance that you want to get ahead in your career not only as a programmer but as a system architect or a business solution consultant. This is where the habit of asking the right questions pertaining to why a certain IT solution is requires will help you build the right solution.

·         Focus on the impact and results (Financial impact):This may not apply to IT professionals who are early in their careers but is paramount for senior IT professionals. For the most part, IT departments are required to make sure that the systems and the solutions function as desired and help the business run efficiently. In other words, the key metric for success for most IT professionals is being extremely good at technology, languages and Quality Assurance. However, the times are changing! No longer is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) in charge of making IT decisions. With organizations closely guarding the ROI of their investment in technology, CIOs are increasingly required to be cognizant of the financial benefits of technology so that they can justify the spending on IT. No wonder than that CFOs are increasingly pressurizing CIOs to get their act together

·         Communication & Leadership: Communication and leadership skills are not specific to IT careers but here is why they are critical for IT professionals. IT departments, for the most part, have been considered back-office functions who have very little to do with the consumer facing world and great technical skills often suffice to have professionals in these departments do their job well. As a result, organizations often tend to overlook investing training IT professionals in soft skills such as communication and leadership skills. So, the onus is on you to ensure that you do what it takes to learn effective communication and leadership skills. As you advance into your IT career, there is a good chance that you will be required to lead large teams and take tough decisions. Investing in building your communication and leadership skills early in your career will then come in handy.

Careers in IT are truly rewarding and aligning yourself with these 4 tenants can definitely ensure that you are setting yourself up for quick advancement in your career. What other tenants that you think are crucial for establishing a successful career in Information Technology?

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