Posted by: CompleteITProfessional
Welcome to the IT Career Advice blog! This is the first post of the new blog that has been set up for me here at IT Knowledge Exchange. The topic for the first post – five ways that IT professionals can improve their IT careers.
There are many things that IT professionals can do to improve their careers. An improvement could be seen as doing your job better, getting a promotion, or just increasing your knowledge about what you do at work. Let’s take a look at what I think are five of the best ways you can improve your career.
One of the best things you can do to be better at your job is to get organised. Many of us have a lot going on in our lives, both at work and in our personal lives. People give us things to do, emails come in, meetings need to be attended, notes are taken – the list goes on. It can be hard to keep track of what needs to be done.
A good way to handle all of this incoming work and possible confusion is to improve your self-organisation. It’s a lot easier to work out what to do, when to do it, and who needs it done, if you are aware of everything that you’re doing. Different systems work for different people, so I won’t suggest a definite way to do it, but I recommend writing everything down that you need to do in a single place. This can help you identify what needs to be done. Write it down in Notepad, Excel, Outlook Tasks, a notebook – anything that works for you.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site – similar to Facebook, but it’s targeted towards working professionals. People in the IT industry fall under this category. If you haven’t set up a profile on LinkedIn, I recommend it. This is because knowing people in the IT industry is very important, especially as your career progresses. You can “connect with” (similar concept to becoming friends with someone on Facebook) other people you know or have worked with to communicate with them, keep up to date with their roles and careers, and get introductions to other people.
A profile page on LinkedIn is quite similar to a résumé. It has your name, title, summary, work history, skills, and education. If you’ve got a resume, you can use that as a guide to filling in information. The good thing about LinkedIn is that companies and locations are integrated, so once you put down your current or past employers, you can find other people who worked there as well.
Get A Certification
Certifications are a big part of the IT industry. Some roles have more certifications available than others, and therefore they are more affected. For example, roles in the networking or system administration field have a large number of certifications. People starting out in those roles often look to get certifications from CompTIA or Cisco. On the other hand, roles for software developers don’t have a lot of relevant certifications – there are some from Microsoft, but they only apply to .NET.
Depending on your role, you might want to look into getting a certification. Doing this has several benefits:
- It increases your knowledge on the subject matter
- It proves to your employer that you have a certain level of understanding on a topic
- It demonstrates that you are dedicated to improving your career and can set and meet goals (studying to take the exam)
- It can help in getting a pay rise or promotion
The IT industry is constantly changing, and so are certifications. It’s helpful to get certifications as your career progresses to stay up-to-date with the trends in the industry.
Set Career Goals
One of the best ways to improve your career is to set some career goals. These goals are long-term targets for where you want your career to go. Sure, you could just keep going to work, doing your time, and hoping for a raise – but without some kind of long-term plan, how will you know if that’s what you want?
Take some time to think about what you really want to do in the IT industry. Write it down. Put a time frame on it as well. Work out what kind of role you’d like to be doing, what kind of work as well. From here, you can work backwards to find out how to get there from your current position.
This will help you decide on the next step for your career – whether you need to get promoted, gain experience, move departments, or even take a possible new role with another company.
Keep A Good Work/Life Balance
It’s important to work hard while you’re at work. It’s equally important to take some time away from work to allow yourself to focus on other things in life. This concept is known as “work/life balance”. It refers to having a healthy split between your work time and the rest of your life.
Those people who spend too much time at work, or doing work-related tasks, may find they don’t have time for anything else and find themselves feeling burnt out. This reduces their effectiveness in all areas – at work and at home.
To avoid this happening to you, try to keep a good balance between your work and the things you do outside of work. Take time to relax, eat well, get plenty of sleep, socialise with friends and family, get some hobbies. All of these will distract you from work and will ideally make you feel fresh when returning to work.
I hope you’ve found the information here useful! For more tips and advice, visit the Complete IT Professional site at www.completeitprofessional.com.