IT professionals are facing a dilemma; a career customization so to speak. Software is eating the world and digital transformation is filling our day to day. The question that inevitably comes up is whether IT professionals should continue down the certification path with specific vendors like VMware®, on-premises Microsoft®, Cisco®, and Oracle®, or should we pursue new certification paths like Amazon Web Services™, Microsoft Azure®, serverless (aka Functions as a Service), Docker®, and Kubernetes®?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, because we each possess different experiences, areas of expertise, and professional connections. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fortify your career for long-term sustainability. Below are three tips that I have curated from my professional connections and personal experiences that may help provide you guidance on your IT career path.
First, never stop learning. Read more, write more, think more, and practice more. Rinse and repeat.
Second, be a salesperson. Sell yourself! Sell the present and the potential you. If you can’t sell yourself, you’ll never discover opportunities that just might lead to your dream job.
Finally, follow the money. Job listings at sites like www.dice.com will show you where companies are investing their resources. If you want to really future-proof your job, job listings will let you know what technical skills are in demand and what the going rate is for those skills.
The onus is on us as IT professionals to continue to improve and advance our knowledge, expertise, and experience. It makes perfect business sense. As organizations embrace digital transformation, there are three questions that every organization will ask IT professionals:
- A skill problem? Aptitude.
- A hill problem? Altitude.
- A will problem? Attitude.
The first question addresses whether you can adapt and how much you can continue to evolve and put knowledge into practice. The second question addresses if you can overcome the gaps in knowledge and expertise to get the business where it needs to be. Finally, the last question addresses your determination and stick-to-it-iveness — will you quit when faced with a new challenge or are you willing to change? How you respond to these questions will determine your future within any given organization and in the industry.
At Interop® 2017, this topic was a hot issue because of the volume, velocity, and variety of technological change that is impacting IT organizations and their personnel. The challenge in finding new talent to fit within an established team dynamic is hard. The challenge to retool and retrain IT professionals already in organizations is hard. The challenge to pick the right technology and then find the right talent to match is hard.
This is the reality of hybrid IT, as demonstrated in the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017.
In the face of this career dilemma, there are foundational skillsets that remain core to helping ensure career success. These skills are outlined in what I’ve termed the DART-SOAR skills framework, which I have written about in detail on this blog previously.
What do you think of my curated tips? What would you add or subtract from the list? Also, how about those three organizational questions — are you being asked these very questions by your organization? Let me know in the comments section.