Tips on how to get your IT career back on track
Working in the IT industry in Ireland can be very rewarding. Your skills are in demand and the Irish tech sector is at the forefront of new, innovative technologies. However sometimes you can end up becoming stagnant or lost in your own career. Don’t worry as this is more common than you think. Here are some tips to help you get back on track with your career.
Measure Your Progress:
As you move along in your career, assess your progress periodically. It is important to be honest with yourself and highlight the bad along with the good. This is the first step to improvement, development and understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie. No one is perfect but having the self-awareness to understand where you can improve can be vital. It’s not just strengths and weakness that you should measure, different job titles require different performance measures so there can be a wide array of variables. Here are some examples of what you can keep track of: Attendance, Time Management, Employee performance goals and objectives, quality of work and productivity.
Take Over Your Professional Development:
Many organisations help facilitate their employees growth by offering things such as training or tuition reimbursement for a college degree or certification. Employers can also provide in-house technical or professional training courses and internal job openings. Take advantage of available opportunities and maintain your momentum and commit to continuous skill building and improvement. By planning your career strategy, you will be on track to achieving your long-term career goals. Think of yourself as your own brand, you have to stay up to date with the latest technologies or you will get left behind.
Work With Mentors:
Mentoring is a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. It is an effective way of helping people to progress in their careers. It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) normally working in a similar field or sharing similar experiences. It is a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. Mentors offer career advice, help you improve your current workload by offering feedback in key areas such as communications interpersonal relationships, technical abilities, change management, and leadership skills. Other benefits include helping you develop a sharper focus on what you need to grow professionally within your organisation and learning new skills and gaining knowledge that are relevant to professional and personal goals. Ask your organisation if they have a Mentorship programme in place and if they do, make sure to take advantage of it.
Know When to Move On:
Don’t stick with a company that lacks the opportunities or culture to empower your career progression. Make sure you are happy with the level of responsibility you are given and if you don’t feel it’s enough, have a conversation with your mentor or manager if you feel you have the capabilities and bandwidth to take on more responsibility. Ensure that you are happy in your current position and you feel valued there. The IT industry has a skills deficit and highly skilled candidates are in demand. You must understand that you don’t owe your organisation anything if you have reached your ceiling there and be prepared to seek other opportunities which will help develop your career.
Join Online Communities:
There are loads of communities online where you can chat to like-minded individuals from all over the world. These are great places to up-skill, network, stay up to date with the latest technologies and foster new relationships with people who you can bounce ideas off. Platforms such Stack Overflow, Coderwall and Hashnode all provide helpful communities for questions, discussions and advice for IT professionals at all levels.
Improve Your Soft Skills:
Soft skills are of the utmost importance in a modern day working environment. They can help you progress through your career and play an essential role progressing you through your career. Soft skills are a combination of interpersonal people skills, social skills, communication skills, character traits, attitudes, career attributes, social intelligence and emotional intelligence quotients among others that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills. The Collins English Dictionary defines the term "soft skills" as "desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude." To improve your soft skills you need to understand the basics, there are countless resources online to help you get a better understanding of where to start and what skills you need to improve. You get out of this as much as you put in, so it’s recommended that you make sure you don’t overlook these building blocks to success.