If you want to move up through the ranks in your technology career, talent and hard work are the bare necessities. But they
aren’t going to be enough to make you
stand out. Expanding your skills, actively promoting your accomplishments and using promotion strategies will help get you on the short list and into the “yes” pile.
Advance your Tech Career with these Tips
If you want to move up through the ranks
in your technology career, talent and hard
work are the bare necessities. But they
aren’t going to be enough to make you
stand out. Expanding your skills, actively
promoting your accomplishments and
using promotion strategies will help get
you on the short list and into the “yes” pile.
1. GET CERTIFIED
65% of employers take certifications into
consideration when deciding between two equally
qualified applicants. Commit to acquiring at least
one new certificate every year if possible.
Know (and learn) what’s hot2
Forrester Research put end-to-end business technologies at the top
of their list of emerging technology trends. Add the internet of things
(IoT) and current solutions like the cloud, mobile, and data analytics
and you should have enough long-term knowledge on your plate to
last you the next few years.
You are going to spend 8-10
hours a day at your job, plus
extra hours acquiring more
knowledge. Make sure the
direction you have chosen is
one that fills you up at least as
much as it drains you out.
what you do
It’s important to know how to
do one thing really well, but
don’t stop there! Experiment
with solutions outside your
comfort zone until you
develop enough general
knowledge to be useful or
provide cross-over support.
4. TRY NEW THINGS
You have a job description and 80% of your time
should be spent doing that job. Use the other 20%
to expand your reach into other projects or for
exploring solutions to current challenges within
5. FOLLOW THE 80-20 RULE
The higher you move up the ladder, the more
imperative it is that you can communicate with
others well- in print and in person. You need
to be able to communicate with your internal
team as well as present ideas outside of your
department, and even outside of your company.
No matter how talented you are, you can’t
move into a management position if haven’t
demonstrated the ability to manage people. Take
initiative and increased responsibility in projects,
be trustworthy and a supportive leader.
7. PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Your goal should be to get at the top of people’s minds when a
technology issue comes up. This means being knowledgeable and
a pleasure to work with. People at the bottom of the list may be
extremely smart, but they won’t get promoted because people. have
reservations about working with them.
Read how to improve communication
with non-IT departments
2. INTERACT OUTSIDE
Getting to know people
outside your department
is just good business. It
gives people a chance to
get to know you when you
aren’t in the middle of a tech
emergency, and it gives you
an opportunity to learn about
common issues that people
in other roles are trying to
tackle—issues you may be
able to help resolve.
The old-fashioned adage about
dressing for success and being on
time exist for a reason. You don’t
necessarily have to suit up, but
dress and act in a way that shows
you take your job seriously. Don’t
dress for your job, dress for the
job you want to have.
4. DON’T BE INVISIBLE
If you want to be considered for a promotion,
you can’t be invisible. Being a team player means
being a part of team activities outside the scope
of work—like team building activities, corporate
sponsored sporting events, social gatherings, etc.
You might find yourself in a great conversation
with the CIO.
- resolved a big issue
- creative solution
- went above and beyond
If you resolved a big issue, went above and beyond,
or devised a creative solution for an ongoing
problem, make a note of it! When the time comes
for a performance review or quarterly update,
bring this list to highlight your accomplishments.
5. DOCUMENT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Establishing a reputation within the greater
technology industry is important. Being able to
point to a well-trafficked personal blog, authored
articles on LinkedIn or successful solutions you
provided on forums will show the higher-ups
that you are a respected expert outside of work.
7. CHECK IN WITH YOUR MANAGERS
You might think you are a great employee, but there
may be room for improvement. Be open to criticism
and always look for ways to improve yourself. Ask
your department manager if there is anything in
your performance that would stand in the way of a
promotion, and if there are any pet projects you can
spend a little of your extra time on.
If you want to move up, you are going to be moving
closer to the business side. If you have enough
knowledge about your company’s business
landscape, you can implement solutions that are
sensitive to the business’ client-facing operations
(you know, the ones that make money).
Before you propose a “better”
solution or wonder aloud why
things are done backwards, kindly
ask why things are the way they
are. You may find out it was your
department manager (and the
one recommending you for your
next promotion) who built the
backwards platform to begin with.
Ask before you speak
Remove the I from team3
Are you the one on the team that jumps in to do it themselves if they
want it done correctly? If so, how do you expect the company to
replace you? You are too valuable right where you are. Make yourself
replaceable by fostering a team that can tackle the issues with your
direction, not your hands-on intervention.
Develop a relationship with a higher-up in your
department that has a vested interest in your
success and can direct you, advise you and
recommend you when the time comes.
In order to do your job well, you need to know
why your job exists and why it matters to your
organization specifically. If you are a front-end
developer, you aren’t just coding to specifications,
you make it possible for customers to sign up,
and learn about your company. Your work directly
impacts sales and marketing on the other side of
the building. Having that kind of overview means
you are more likely to propose solutions that don’t
just resolve problems, but prevent them and add
value to the business.
5. KNOW THE IMPACT OF YOUR JOB
6. WHAT PROMOTION?
You can’t be promoted if there isn’t an open
position or money in the budget. Have an open
conversation with your manager to find out how
the company is doing and whether the position
you are after will be available in the near future.
Now that you know the secrets to a
successful career in technology, remember
to use the knowledge wisely. Don’t get
dragged into office politics, stay humble
and keep solving problems with a smile.
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