5 Tips for IT Professionals

Stock figures on lap topsProfessional development is vital in any field. In IT, where the ground is all but moving under our feet, the need is paramount. Yet while many IT techs and other professionals have great skills within their specialty, we’re not always that great at building ourselves professionally.

How should you go about upgrading yourself as an IT professional?

Love the tech – but not too much

The only way to be a great IT professional is to seriously care about what you do. That means always being ready to learn. The day-to-day willingness to pick up new ideas as they emerge is vital.

Learn to communicate

Learn to speak to people who don’t speak the tech lingo. Not everyone will understand even the basics of what’s actually going on inside the machines they depend on for their businesses and social lives, and one vital task of an IT professional is to communicate the necessity of what you do. One way to think of this is by explaining consumer or business benefits rather than technical features.

Know the business

IT is getting closer and closer all the time to the businesses it serves. As that happens, business people need to be IT savvy, but IT people need to start becoming business smart too. If you don’t, you’ll be left behind. The further your IT career advances the more business is involved, so to make it easier to communicate business benefits to non-tech personnel, start by understanding them yourself!

Join a professional association

Professional associations can provide you with a wealth of information and support. Career tips, heads-up about regulatory or certification changes and mentorship can all help you out, and you can help others out too. Ultimately, it’s win-win: mentorship can cut both ways and you can find yourself leading and teaching as well as following and learning.

Remember the end user

It’s far too easy to either forget the end user altogether or remember them only as a troublesome necessity; a chore. In reality your end user is the reason for all your hard work. Forgetting the end user is the reason why poorly designed tech products (Vista anyone?) are the way they are. Empathize with your end user and your work will be that much more successful.

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