Fearless Career Advancement in IT

Ester Frey at Interop 2015

I recently had the honor of leading a workshop on advancing your IT career at Interop 2015 in Las Vegas. To be completely honest, it wasn’t without some hesitation. Knowing I’d be at the front of a room leading a workshop for over three hours was a bit unnerving – but once we started talking, time flew.

We covered a number of topics within the IT job market, starting simply with some statistics around the current state of employment – with unemployment so low and salaries on the rise, there are challenges for organizations and IT managers alike.

The goal of the workshop was to discuss how we can – as job seekers, employees and managers – develop value propositions at every level of our careers. Knowing how to demonstrate your skills to a potential employer, speak to your managers about where you see your career going and be an effective manager who knows what will bring today’s top talent into your organization are more important in this job market than ever.

IT managers are struggling to find the right people in the current competitive job market, from both a technical and soft skills perspective. The nodding heads of more than 70 managers from the U.S. and Canada at the workshop let me know that this is not just a trend we talk about, but simply our reality.

Right now, recruitment and retention are of paramount importance. Organizations must re-evaluate the candidate experience. A long, drawn-out hiring process is no longer an option – the current speed of the market makes that impossible. And, as both professionals and leaders in the tech industry, we must keep up with trends in compensation and advancement.

I got to hear not only the challenges leaders are facing, but also what steps they are taking to remedy these issues. The unique recruitment, retention, innovation and career-path techniques organizations are using to make their teams work, grow and succeed were all incredibly inspiring. Some particularly interesting methods included:

  • Job rotation: One company allows employees to try out different roles within the organization for a limited amount of time.
  • “Skip-level” meetings: A company had employees at all levels have check-ins with the manager beyond their direct manager, allowing for an unfiltered view of teams.
  • Innovation days: Many companies host special events that foster innovation within the company in order to improve their business and share creative ideas.

It was truly an honor to participate in and attend such a great event. And to top off the excitement of my first day, I got to speak to Clark Buckner with the team at the Technology Advice Podcast. Check out the interview here or below and let me know what you think!