In my 16 years in the staffing and recruitment industry, I've watched countless tech professionals develop their IT careers.
While their development was varied and dependent on the person’s unique skills and circumstances, there are consistent themes that I believe everyone should consider.
Here are five ways for tech pros to boost their IT careers:
1. Learn a new skill
To paraphrase an old saying, you’re either moving forward or backward -- there is no standing still. There is no place you can see more evidence of this than in the technology sector. Technology is continually evolving and your value to your employer can be increased with new skills that you bring to the job. Find a gap in your current skill set or conduct research on the latest technologies for your profession, and identify a skill that is in high demand that you do not currently possess. Take a class or become certified, and add that new skill to your repertoire.
2. Volunteer for more projects at work
Look for opportunities to throw your hat into the ring for additional projects. At first glance it might not sound appealing to take on a larger workload, but making yourself available for more projects will enable you to potentially increase your knowledge, and therefore your value to the organization. Additionally, volunteering for more projects at work may enable you to develop new relationships in your organization that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Finally, taking on these opportunities can build your reputation as a “go-to” person in the department or organization.
3. Become a mentor
One of the most rewarding professional opportunities is to mentor others who are following in your footsteps. Helping others learn from your experiences and being a sounding board to them professionally not only benefits the mentee, but you as well. You are contributing to the development of others and yourself at the same time.
4. Step outside of your comfort zone
Look for opportunities to step outside of your regular job responsibilities and take on new challenges. Maybe it’s taking the lead on a cross-divisional project, or it’s volunteering to present to a professional organization in your area of expertise. Whatever the case, pushing your usual professional boundaries will help you stretch new “muscles.”
5. Seek feedback
Solicit feedback from respected associates and superiors. Not a performance review -- there is a time and place for that -- but constructive input from peers and managers about you as a co-worker, subordinate and supervisor. Then, use that feedback to continue to refine and hone soft skills, such as your communication style, approach to teamwork, problem-solving capabilities and leadership style.
There are many other career goals to consider to build your IT career. What have you done recently to improve your IT skills?
John Reed is the Senior Executive Director of Robert Half Technology. He manages operations for more than 100 Robert Half Technology locations worldwide, and has extensive background in both IT and staffing, including 13 years in IT product sales and almost 17 years in the staffing industry.
This post has been updated with more current information.