By Paul Bartlett - October 9th, 2017
Are you pursuing a career in IT? Have you considered what it takes to be successful in the industry? Is it good technical skills? Of course — but there’s more than just great technical ability involved in becoming a successful IT professional. Below are five essential steps toward becoming an IT professional:
- Identify Your Specialization.In order to be successful in IT, start by identifying which aspect of the industry will be your focus. These 10 categories of IT are in high demand, and listed from highest salaries down:
- Programming and application development
- Project management
- Help desk/technical support
- Security/compliance governance
- Web development
- Database administration
- Business intelligence/analytics
- Mobile application and device management
- Big data
Based on this list, the most in-demand field is programming and application development. This is a highly specialized field — if you do not have adequate experience, you’ll need to enter an undergraduate program and earn a degree designed to prepare you for the industry. This degree will aid you in qualifying for a variety of the specified categories above, and will expose you to various fields.
- Develop Excellent Communication Skills.One of the top qualities hiring managers in IT are looking for these days is people skills — also known as “soft skills.” These indicate an ability to work effectively with others. Well-developed soft skills include communicating with others through listening and clarifying, and carefully choosing your words. It is also important learn to empathize with others, develop conflict-resolution strategies, and learn patience and tolerance.
- Have Good Research Skills.Research is a key element of working in the IT industry. Good research skills are vital to your success. Specifically, you will want to develop the ability to plan effectively and learn how to handle data properly. You will also want to keep up with the latest industry trends and threats that could potentially damage your infrastructure. As a Computer Network Analyst, I am constantly researching various ways of fixing network connectivity, or investigating how a problem arose to prevent it from occurring in the future.
- Create a Well-Organized Resume.A well-written resume is the gateway to a flourishing career in IT. A properly written resume will highlight your experience and qualifications, and be long and concise — the more detail, the better. Don’t over-exaggerate your abilities. If you create unsuitable expectations, it can put you on the spot as early as an interview. However, do include skills that you are familiar with, and definitely add all the skills you’ve mastered. Some guidelines to follow for a well-written resume are listed here. I highly recommend you follow them.
- Never Stop Learning.One thing you will quickly discover as you begin your career in IT is that you will never know everything. There is so much to learn, and everyday something new develops. Staying on top of industry trends and studying the latest technology is vital to your success as an IT professional. You’ll never know when your boss or another leader in your organization is going to ask you about a new developing technology — you need to be at least as familiar with it as they are.
IT is a thriving industry with numerous opportunities for success. If you focus on a specific field, develop your soft skills, grow in your research capabilities, create a well-written essay, and never stop learning your craft, nothing can stop you from succeeding.
Paul Bartlett is a CSU-Global student completing a B.S. in IT. He will graduate in Jan. 2018. He is a technology specialist with a particular interest in network systems support. He is currently a Network Support Analyst for the Flagler County Clerk of Court & Comptroller’s Office. Prior to earning his associate of science degree in network systems technology, he served in the U.S. Marines.