The new year is almost here. Are you thinking about switching roles come January? Maybe you’ll be on the hunt for a new job. You might even be angling for a promotion with your current employer or looking to move to another department.
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You’re looking to further your career in any case. Even if you’re not thinking about rolling the dice and landing a new gig any time soon, you can still take steps to continue your career development as an IT professional. Follow these tips if you truly want to stay ahead of the game.
1. Learn a New Skill
IT is almost unique among industries in the sense that it’s constantly in a state of flux. Almost no other field has such a high rate of change, nor are revolutions expected almost daily. As an IT professional, you need to stay on your toes.
In a constantly evolving field, the best thing you can do is keep learning. New opportunities arise all the time. If you’re one of the first to possess a particular skill, you can get in on the ground floor.
You might also choose to learn a skill with promise. Angular development is trending upward right now. Many employers are demanding mobile app developers. Take a look at the job market and see what jobs are in demand right now.
2. Get Certified
An IT certificate is a great way to back up your learning on paper. You can list the certificate and the courses you had to complete to receive it on your resume. Learning a new skill is great, but being able to attach a certification or new title to it gives it more weight with potential employers.
You don’t need to learn an entirely new skill either. You might finally decide to get your certificate from IT security after working a security role for years. Maybe you’re pursuing Microsoft’s Certified Database Administrator (MCDA) designation after working with SQL Server 2000 intensely on a project.
3. Find a Mentor
If you want to continue growing as an IT professional, you might benefit from a mentorship. A mentor is a more senior professional who can share with you their life experiences and advice.
Many young professionals benefit from having mentors. Most mentorships last a long time as well. This isn’t a short-term “fix” like taking a three-day course on change management. Your mentor will be able to provide insight and advice for a long time to come. No matter where your career takes it, you’ll likely find your way more readily with a mentor!
4. Improve Your Soft Skills
Are you great at email writing? How do you do in leadership situations?
When it comes to career development, most people focus on upgrading or improving their “hard” skills. These are the skills pertaining to the specific role or job they’re doing. A program developer has hard skills in programming languages. A UX/UI designer has design skills.
Soft skills are more universal. They include your communication skills, your critical thinking skills, and even your interpersonal skills. If you haven’t thought about them much, now’s the time to change that. Improving your soft skills might unlock your next career move.
5. Head to a Conference or Workshop
Networking is often key to finding your next career move. Expanding your network of contacts in the tech world is almost never a bad idea.
One great way to network is to attend a conference or workshop. Many companies send their senior IT employees to these conferences. You’ll also meet experts, and you may even be able to participate in some hands-on training.
If you’re hoping to move on to bigger and brighter things in the new year, test out one of these tips. Whether you’re looking for a new job or not, these tips will help you achieve your professional goals.