The moment you graduated from college, your skills were well on their way to becoming obsolete. Sounds depressing, but that's a fact of life for an IT professional. Technology changes daily, seemingly at the speed of light. It's up to you to keep up if you want to remain relevant and marketable in your field. Here are a few tips that may help:
Be a people person
The IT field is rife will professionals who are highly knowledgeable, but unable to communicate what they know to people who don't speak IT. Increasingly, employers are adding communication skills and other soft skills to their list of “must haves”. Become a more well-rounded candidate, and you'll have your pick of opportunities.
Make keeping up a priority
Between your career and your outside obligations, remaining relevant in the IT field can seem like just one more thing to fit into an already overbooked day. But taking some time to focus on your professional development is essential to your career. Schedule some time into each week to keep up on industry news and advancements.
Keep on learning
Commit to continuing education as part of your career strategy. Work towards new certifications each year, learn new programming languages and technologies, or return to school to obtain advanced degrees. Your employer will likely encourage this initiative and offer reimbursement or allow you to expense at least part of the cost. If not, consider it an investment in your own future.
Stay in touch with others in your field. Join groups, either online or by networking in person. Attend conferences and speeches by industry leaders so that you are always abreast of new developments. It's easy to work in a vacuum, but by making that regular commitment to engage, you increase your knowledge and marketability.
In a field where staying cutting-edge is essential to the industry and your career, it's important to make the time to improve your interpersonal and technical skills, that way you will always be ready for the next big opportunity that comes your way.