Top 4 Skills For IT Career Growth
For this post, I would like to quickly focus on the top 4 skills for excelling in your IT career. Now, I know that the first things that come to mind may be technical in nature, but the real secret to unbridled career success is your ability to develop and cultivate skills which require no special training, education, or access to resources. The beauty of these skills is that we can all obtain them - provided we have the sincere desire to do so.
An inquisitive nature
Natural curiosity coupled with the work ethic to seek answers to your questions is critical for succeeding when working with technology. IT by its very nature deals with complex, ambiguous, and frequently changing subject matter. A keen interest in why/how things work and how to improve them will go a long way.
An intrinsic sense of accountability
While working in IT, things will go wrong. Whether you are working in tech support troubleshooting hardware issues or as a developer debugging code, you will spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with situations where things are not working as they should. For that reason, it is imperative that you cultivate an innate sense of confidence to take on any and all issues as well as an internal sense of responsibility to see those issues to resolution. The IT field is full of low-performers who are willing to pass the buck or throw others under the bus… You want to be the person who accepts all challenges and works with the team to drive the solution.
The willingness to learn from others and share information
No matter how intelligent you may be, no one has all of the answers (although they may tell you otherwise). In fact, therein lies the beauty of working in IT: the field is constantly changing as new technologies emerge. Therefore, the ability and desire to learn from others in your field is critical, as is your willingness to contribute by sharing information. As you may know, withholding information (also known as siloing) for the purpose of job security is a huge problem facing the IT field. The fact of the matter is that the only way for an IT team to be successful is to establish trust, communication, and honesty between team members. By sharing the load, we can gain new skills, actively contribute, and collectively accomplish our goals.
A sincere passion for helping others
Speaking broadly, the vast majority of tech-related jobs are aimed at solving a problem or helping others. Again, whether you are working on an IT help desk or architecting a mobile app, the end goal is improving an area of someone’s life. For that reason, I consider the desire to simply help people a prerequisite for working in the technology field. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this… however that can be a positive for you and your career development. You can set yourself apart from the majority of technology practitioners simply by going the extra mile for your customers/stakeholders, whether they be internal, external, or abstract. Focus on the overall positive impact your work will have on the day-to-day lives of those you are serving (no matter how small) and you will be successful. There is also something to be said about developing a strong sense of empathy… The ability to put yourself in the shoes of others is a huge part of troubleshooting, requirements gathering, UX design, application development, and basically every other technology related role.
I’ll be exploring similar topics in future posts, including tips for finding a job in IT. Let me know your questions in the comments and I’ll be sure to address them!