Does it feel like your IT career has stalled? Perhaps you feel ready to earn more money, receive a promotion or take on more responsibility in your career, but opportunities to do so are just not happening for you. There are 5 actions you can take to revive your stalled IT career and put yourself on the fast track to advancement:
1. Achieve Greater Visibility Within Your Department and Company
If you spend all your time in the data center, you’re likely missing out on opportunities to network with your colleagues. It’s important to get to know your co-workers within your own department and also within your organization as a whole. If managers at your company hardly know who you are, they’re unlikely to offer you opportunities for advancement.
Volunteer to update the documentation on whichever projects you’ve worked on most recently. Collaborate with your colleagues on important projects within your department or in other divisions of your organization. Take the initiative of creating progress reports to send to your boss, highlighting your own successes and any colleagues’ noteworthy success stories in your department. Take responsibility for your shortcomings, but focus on how you will solve problems or improve any situations that are less than ideal.
2. Understand Your Industry
At most companies, an intimate knowledge of your employer’s business and industry will be necessary for advancement beyond entry-level IT work. It’s particularly important to understand as much as possible if you want to become a CIO or IT manager.
3. Pick a New Industry
IT professionals are valued in every niche; but if you’re working in declining industry, it might be wise to transition to working in an industry that offers better prospects for advancement and growth. Top industries for IT professionals include oil and gas, healthcare, computer hardware, software, telecommunications, data processing, hosting, finance, and insurance. Any of these would be excellent industries in which to seek work if your IT career in a different industry has stalled.
4. Gain Management Skills
Supervisory experience is necessary if you want to qualify for the most impressive IT director or CIO jobs. A catch-22 exists, because it can be challenging to convince an employer to let you manage other employees if you don’t already have management experience.
There are a couple of ways around this challenge. The first possibility is to earn your Master of IT Leadership degree. This can work out well because some employers value education and are willing to give talented, promising employees a chance to prove themselves if they have the right academic credentials. The second possibility is to seek out a management trainee position. Some militaries, governments and corporate organizations offer IT management training programs or similar employee development programs which can allow you to gain experience managing others on the job.
5. Develop Your “Soft Skills”
If you aspire to a CIO position or an IT management career, it’s crucial to perfect your communication skills. There are numerous ways to accomplish this. Volunteer to host presentations or lead meetings within your department. Join the local Toastmasters group. Take a public speaking course at the nearest community college. Enroll in a technical writing course online.
If you take any or all of these actions, you’re likely to discover that your IT career will take a new direction. These are 5 of the quickest ways to advance to the next level in your IT career.