Take Control of Your IT Career

IT would seem to be all about technology, and that means a constant stream of change: users ridding their computers of Java because of security issues, NoSQL databases starting to replace relational models in some circumstances, and more.

Not only does technology change, but so do personnel, companies, and traditional roles and positions. Along with your IT degree, make sure you have the strategy and tactics to adequately advance your own interests.

For example, if you ultimately want to become an executive, or even CIO or CTO, you should broaden your professional experience to gain exposure to many aspects of an IT organization: infrastructure, back-office development, mobile, database, and even other technologies like big data analysis or geographic information systems (GIS).

Understand not just how the mechanics of IT work, but how they connect to the rest of what a company does. When considering your career, take an encompassing view. Draw a career map of where you have been, where you would like to go, and the paths that might lead there.

Analyze your strengths and weaknesses and where you might have to build knowledge and experience. Don’t forget to consider developing technology trends and new areas that you might have to explore. Part of that includes coding and production practices. Making IT work is more than mastering a given language or set of tools, although that is necessary.

The working processes are just as important. Are you using modern development methodologies, like properly applied agile development, which can lead to faster and better results? Are you familiar with the full array of open-source tools, and even contributing to these projects to learn more and demonstrate your expertise?

If working in infrastructure, have you learned to use virtualization to efficiently manage larger blocks of IT resources single-handedly? Or are you stuck in the mire of old inefficient approaches to work? And if your current employer doesn’t provide the atmosphere and approach that can improve their operations and your career chances, have you tried to convince management to let you experiment on a proof-of-concept project?

Finally, an important part of taking control of your career is to have the technical background you need. As technology pervades every part of a corporation, consider whether advanced study could give you an edge that most of your competitors in the market might not have. You could get a Masters of information systems degree, taking courses while still maintaining your job. Or you could even pursue an online MBA degree to add the business acumen that is in such demand.

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