« Back Home »

What You Need to Do to Take Your IT Career out of a Rut and onto the Next Level

By: James Cummings

Whether you are just starting out your career in IT or you have a couple of years of experience under your belt, there will be a point where you might feel stuck. This might be because you want to move on to something different but are not sure how. Despite your feeling of helplessness, there are steps you can take to advance your career with a bit of planning in the right direction.

Demand for Information Technology services keeps expanding with new opportunities, but unfortunately, you might miss them if you are not adequately prepared. Like the organisation you work for, you should be clear on the goals of your career, as well as the tactics and strategies that will take you where you intend to go. Start moving up in your career with these proactive steps:

   1. Networking

You might have heard about the need for networking enough times to make you believe the issue is over flogged, but it’s really not. Networking is often talked about because it is that important, and it is effective. No matter how much of a dungeon techie you are, there should be nothing stopping you from getting acquainted with other people in IT and the business of IT. You might already have all it takes to land that dream job but it does you no good if no one else knows what you can do. Start with your inner circle and aim to build lasting, quality relationships.

   2. Find yourself a mentor

Mentoring is an often overlooked method of advancing one’s career. Not only will mentoring help you grow quickly, but you will also be saved from making costly mistakes. Ideally, your mentor should be someone in a career spot where you intend to get to sometime in the future. Obviously, they should be good at what they do and love their work, but they should also be resourceful, work well with others, and not arrogant.

This is not to say you should write someone off your list because they have a few negative traits. Instead, you should focus on the traits you would like to pick up. Remember, being a mentee is not synonymous with being a parasite; you have to be resourceful and worth your mentor’s time.

   3. Use social media

Yes, social media is not only good for keeping up with friends and family, but it can be an extremely useful tool for helping you land that next job. Although it is not the only option, LinkedIn is a highly valuable tool for putting yourself out there and connecting with like-minded individuals, especially if you actively participate in groups.

You should also pay attention to all other social media platforms where you are signed up, including Facebook and Twitter, as more and more recruiters are checking out job candidates on social media before hiring them. One study shows that 70% of employers now screen potential hires on social media and close to 70% are using online search engines like Google to look up candidates.

   4. Do more for your online presence

As mentioned above, employers are looking up job candidates using search engines. Other than your social media profiles, another search result related to you that might pop up is your blog or website. An online portfolio is indispensable, especially if you are a web designer, and combined with a regularly updated blog, you just might be giving yourself a boost strong enough to land you that next job. If you don’t have a personal site yet, start by getting an Openhost web hosting plan, and then build your site from scratch.

   5. Keep up to date with industry trends

The only way to know what is going on in the world of IT and what skills are most relevant at any given time is to actively seek out that information. One way to do it is to read IT magazines and blogs by authorities in your field. Staying current will help keep your thinking and practice fresh. To find out the kinds of skills that are high in demand, the best places to look will be job boards like this one. Social media platforms are also of great help in this regard.

   6. Take on more work

More work might come in the form of pro bono projects you do outside of work or projects no one else is interested in taking on. If you volunteer to handle projects everyone else at the office is ignoring, and you are able to make a success of them, this puts you in a good position for promotion, especially if you are able to do this consistently.