Tuesday, Oct 08 2013

How do I advance my IT career?

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Careers, like technology, can stagnate or become obsolete—and, also like technology, they can be augmented to boost progress. With a clear goal and careful planning, you can innovate your thinking and develop opportunities to ensure that your job becomes an exciting advancement.

Bridge the Gap between Current and Needed Skills

You bring three types of skills to your job: knowledge-based skills (education and past job experience), general transferable skills (non-specific to your expertise), and behavioral characteristics (personality traits developed through life experience). All three can be expanded and improved upon. Take stock of the different skills you offer: are you a detail-oriented TI graduate with who communicates well? List everything you bring to the table.

Now, envision your career destination. What skills do you need to get from there to here, and how can you acquire them? This will help define your career path. Whether it’s further training, better project management abilities, or stronger follow-through – or all three – your ideal workplace image can direct your self-development.

Consult with Leaders about Your Career Path

You have your dream and some thoughts on how to get there. The next step is sitting down with the appropriate people at your organization and talking about the possibilities. Whether it’s your supervisor, a human resources staff member, or the colleague who’s become a mentor, someone in leadership can offer the guidance you need to get where you want to be. Eventually moving forward may mean some side-stepping with lateral moves in your company for now – but don’t undervalue the opportunities that a related, same-tier role can provide in developing your skill set.

Those you consult can also point you toward useful activities and training. Maybe they know of a community college course, an “apprenticeship” within the organization, upcoming projects, or even volunteering that will provide relationship-building opportunities. Keep your ears and eyes open, and remember that to a certain extent, you are asking for construction criticism; however, your employer should be pleased with your motivation and interested in your development. They may even be willing to invest in that development.

Get Noticed by Getting Certified

As far as investing in development, nothing says commitment like putting the money and time into pursuing certification, if applicable. Many IT careers that show strong possibilities for career growth are tied to certifications that demonstrate your specialized knowledge. Depending on your demographic role, there are certifications for security, networking, programming, project management, and more. Determine which will provide the highest return on your training and education investment for the specific position you want to reach. Peruse descriptions of open positions for that particular title on job boards to pinpoint certification qualifications. Without being obnoxious about it, keep your supervisor and HR department updated on your acquisition for certification.

Advancing your IT profession requires being honest about your current capabilities, identifying improvements, setting goals, having important conversations, and investing in education and training. You know better than anyone else what you want from your career, and you have more control than anyone else to get where you want to be.

If you are looking for software engineer jobs near Silicon Valley, contact The Armada Group today.