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Moving Up the Ladder: Skills You Need to Improve Your IT Career

When one thinks of lucrative careers to work in right now, the information technology field will undoubtedly be one of the top choices. Seeing as how we are right in the middle of the digital age, it’s no wonder that information technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Some of the perks of working in this field include:

  • the job security it offers as there will always be a demand for workers with specific skills;
  • the cost of earning certifications for specific skills is comparably lesser than, say, working on a Ph.D., and, in some situations, it offers an excellent work-life balance; and
  • IT practitioners are also paid better than other people in different fields, with an average of $200,000 per year.
people inspecting computer screen

Perhaps you’ve been in the industry for quite some time and are now looking for ways to move up in your career. Or maybe you’re just a newbie starting but want to know what skills you should be working on so that you’ll be a top pick when the time for promotions comes around. Collated below is a mix of soft and hard skills each IT practitioner should have if they want to stay on top of their game and reach new levels in their career. Take note that “hard skills” refer to skills specific to the IT industry. In contrast, “soft skills” refer to personality traits each person should cultivate for better workplace interaction. Having a mix of these two types of skills under your belt will allow you to make the most use of career opportunities that come your way.

Level Up Your IT Skills

Working in the IT industry means you constantly have to be up-to-date on the latest updates or improvements. This means, if you have any plans of staying long-term in this field, you will have to learn constantly. Approach your career with the willingness to admit you don’t know everything and the determination to keep learning. This means, to be a competitive asset, you’ll want to brush up on your coding knowledge in HTML, C++, Python, JavaScript (to mention a few) and make sure to keep track of your certifications.

Being certified in a specific IT skill, especially data privacy and cloud security makes you all that more valuable. So get to work on that CompTIA Security+ SY0 601certification, that technical support or help desk certification, or that project management certification to better your skills. Build upon what knowledge you have right now and watch it grow over time.

Work on Relationships

Whether you like it or not, you will have to interact with people to achieve goals you alone cannot manage to do. You can decide to be satisfied with the small number of people you interact with at work. On the other hand, you can put yourself out there and develop better interpersonal relationships with your colleagues. Being a better team player will help the company be more efficient, but in the long run, it will help you make more connections with people who might open incredible opportunities for you in the future. So don’t just look out for yourself in this industry. Enjoy the journey with others like you who are passionate about all the intricate inner workings of digital technology.

Manage Better

Don’t wait until you’re assigned to lead a team at work to better your management skills. And if you already are managing a team at work, there’s always room for improvement. Figure out effective ways to organize your time better, oversee and direct projects better, and resolve issues better to streamline your workflow. Bettering yourself in these small areas of your work life will positively affect your overall performance at work. Developing these skills will also help prepare you for roles in which you will be taking on more responsibility and overseeing more projects and people.

Challenge Yourself

This might sound cliche, but there is a truth in the adage to “Get out of your comfort zone.” Only through overcoming adversity will you realize just how much you can learn and do. Take on jobs or opportunities that scare you in a good way. Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things will help challenge your organizational skills, your perseverance, and your resourcefulness (among a few other things). These are all soft skills that, once you master, will help you better tackle tricky or challenging situations in your future career path. Plus, should you ever decide on a career change, these skills will be handy to have.

Wherever you currently are in your career-whether starting, or a mid-level employee, or even someone in charge of their company-take note of these skills that are sure to help you in your everyday work life. And don’t forget to make an effort to keep growing.

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