Career Advice – Planning Your IT Career and Next Job
Technology disrupts the landscape every few years. Nothing new there. If we all know this is happening, doesn’t it make sense as an information technology worker to put together a technological road map of what you want to do?
Whether you are a software developer, SCRUM master, network engineer or cybersecurity specialist it makes sense to take some time, think about the technological landscape and think about what you want to do in the next five years, ten years and so on.
I am a seasoned software developer. I started programming in the 80’s. I started with COBOL and wound up as a .NET specialist. There were many twists and turns along the way. Here is some advice I wish I heard:
Your technology skill set is a heavy factor in your pay. Knowing some programming languages are in more demand than others. The competition for that skill will pay. It does not take much to figure out what the in-demand skills are. Pick something and dig into it.
Do not forget the soft skills. Having the heavy knowledge in a technical area is great. If you cannot communicate that effectively to your team or management, it can go to waste. Be that person everyone WANTS to keep instead of that person they HAVE to keep.
Invest in yourself – Read. Study Experiment. Take responsibility your technical education. What you are working on today may be extinct in 5 years. Do not wait for you management or company to train you. Do it yourself. Be that go-to person when people have a question on new technology.
Take a break – While some of the advice is about working hard, one needs to know when to shut it down. When you do shut it down, do that and pay attention to the people and things outside of work.
Question your company – Does your employer have a technical road map? Are they interested in the next generation of technology or are they just trying to keep the wheels on? Loyalty to your employer is a good thing, but loyalty to the employees is equally important. Keeping your tech skills stagnant for 8 years does not do the IT worker any favors. Sometimes you need to change jobs to keep your skills up-to-date.
Put yourself in management’s shoes – Actually put yourself in everyone’s shoes. While you have an obligation to your own technical skills, understand that management has goals they are trying to accomplish. So are the software users, the QA folks, the BAs and everyone else. They do not solely exist to give you a technical sandbox to play it. Find the compromises to meet their needs and your own.
Learn the difference between buzz and what works – There are many buzzwords and hype floating around many technical topics. Of all the NoSQL databases and tools available, how many will be around in 10 years. PowerBuilder was once a highly sought-after development language and platform. Choose wisely and do not put all your technological eggs in one server basket.
To help you some more, we have put together some of our more popular articles about Information Technology Job and career planning. Take some time to read through the list:
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