It’s amazing how the Information Technology (IT) industry and number of IT solutions companies in the country has grown over the years. In fact, a report by the Commission in Higher Education showed that IT and its branches will remain in the most in-demand courses in the Philippines until 2018. Therefore, we expect to see more hopefuls in the coming years to meet the increasing demand for IT professionals.
I meet a lot of IT neophytes almost everyday and only few stand out to me each time I do. These are the ones that are never satisfied with what they already know and are always hungry for new knowledge. I have learned by experience that with technology advancing so fast, you have to keep pace with the latest trends if you do not want to be left behind.
Staying on top of your game is not a walk in the park. It takes passion, commitment, and dedication to your work, and these are best translated to one’s effort to advance his knowledge and gain extensive experiences.
If you want to climb up the ladder and become a team leader, manager, or executive to propel your IT career amid tight competition, I recommend that you find time to do the following.
1. Pursue Further Education
Learning doesn’t necessarily stop once you’ve earned your degree and have your diploma framed and displayed at your house. Just like in any other disciplines, knowing more will allow you to grow as a person, as well as to improve your contributions to the company.
Pursuing further education is crucial, considering: the continuous developments in the IT industry (e.g. software, programs, and electronic devices), the increasing demand for professionals like you, and the economic aspect of having a career.
IT jobs specifically increasingly require more training and skills for career advancement. These skills include time management, communication, problem solving, team building, and customer service.
Don’t just rely on the training sessions that your company provides you with. If you really want to get ahead of the game, you have the option to go back to school to gain new knowledge. Additionally, reading tech news sites religiously, taking online courses or certifications, and building a network (i.e. learning from your mentors or experts) can give you fresh and relevant information to help you keep pace with the trends.
2. Know Your Priorities
If you’re about to start your IT career or have been in it only for a few years, bear in mind that even your superiors went through the same position that you’re currently in. Advancing in the field doesn’t happen overnight, and you need to take it one step at a time to get to where you want to be and reach your goals.
For short-term goals in your current job, concentrate on your existing tasks, give it your best shot, and don’t lose your willingness to learn—all of which may seem easy and superficial, but doing so will ultimately be rewarding in the long haul. Build an excellent attendance record because managers take notice of that. Be professional in everything you do by dressing properly even on casual workdays. While work can overwhelm you at times, don’t whine or complain. Show your managers that you can overcome challenges.
Regardless of how long you’ve been working in the IT industry, you have to set a career roadmap for yourself if you haven’t yet. The first step in planning out your career path is by creating a detailed personal vision statement of where you would like to be at various points in the coming years, says Joyce Maroney, director of the Workforce Institute at workforce management solutions provider Kronos. Ask yourself where you want your career to be in 2, 5, 10, and 20 years.
Find a career mentor who will guide you. This can be a superior from your existing or former companies. If they’ve been in the industry long enough, they’ll be able to give you advice based on their own experiences and you can learn what they did to get to their current work status. For example, if you want to be a manager someday, find an IT manager for a mentor.
3. Strengthen Other Skills
Although IT experts are focused on technical expertise, other skills are also vital in advancing in the field. Your communication and interpersonal skills, for instance, play a major role in your job when dealing with colleagues, clients, and efficiently accomplishing your tasks.
You can enroll in training and courses outside the IT field to expand your knowledge. Some courses you can take up include digital marketing certification courses from the Certified Digital Marketer Program where you can learn about SEO, Google Analytics, and Paid Ads among other aspects of marketing online; if you want to learn about running a business, investments, or how to be a full-time freelancer, you can register at the many events posted in Manila Workshops.
Once you’ve decided to take a bigger role, it then follows that your job description would include other tasks that aren’t contained within your expertise such as interviewing potential employees, creating project proposals, leading important meetings, and doing reports, among others.
Hence, you need to build your character as a person by focusing on your non-IT related abilities and stepping out of your comfort zone.
4. Take Control
Since this is your career, you should be the one taking charge of it, and not anyone else—not even your boss. You must set your goals, determine your desired career path, what other things you want to gain from the experience, and the people you would want to work with.
You should also be on the lookout for other opportunities if things aren’t going according to your vision, if your company decides to cut down costs and lay-off employees, or worse—when your manager decides to make personal attacks on you.
Just always be prepared to take risks and never forget to take care of yourself because, in the end, all you got is yourself.