5 tips to enhance your IT career

7th October 2019

 

Below, CTO of partner iContract, Dr. Brendan Gowing, shares his top tips to enhance your IT career.

 


 

I’ve worked with a number of different types of companies over the years, from start-ups to big corporations and even the UK government. In these roles, I’m typically in a position which allows me to lead technical teams and act as a hiring manager. It’s given me some really interesting insights into how teams work (or don’t!) and also how tech people in particular approach the interviewing / recruitment process. I’ve got a ton of ideas I could share, but for this post, I want to present just some general pointers about your career which may help you when you are looking for your next role.

Of course there are big trends at the moment that are going to just get bigger like A.I. and I would never say don’t invest time in finding out more about this, but equally, it won’t harm your career prospects in tech if you try to grow and develop in different ways. So hopefully these tips will hold you in good stead for the future as we see the digital economy grow.

 

1. Be a T-shaped expert

Contractors are expected to come onboard as an expert in their field. They should have excellent, deep knowledge of their chosen area of expertise. However, they are also expected to be more than that and be able to discuss their reasoning behind why they have chosen to focus on the specific area that they work in. They are also typically expected to work in teams and should carry enough knowledge outside of their areas of expertise to be able to communicate effectively with others in a T-shaped knowledge fashion.

 

2. Be opinionated

Everything has its pros and cons. Know them. Be able to intelligently, but without obsession, discuss the benefits or detriments of each approach or technology. Demonstrate knowledge of where the risks are and be able to pass on future risks to the rest of the team to ensure awareness. Most IT managers will appreciate an opinion and people who will speak up. Try not to make it a debate though.

 

3. Be Always Learning (BAL)

Don’t expect a lot of opportunities to learn on the job. You are typically being brought in as an expert and are expected to already know how to do the job. Be vigilant with maintaining your skills and knowledge. Very few technologies last forever. Some areas in IT are moving so rapidly that it takes significant effort to keep up with trends or new libraries – consider JavaScript frameworks and tools as an example. Keeping on top of these movements and trends is important as a demonstration of expertise. It will also help you to shift your career forward to the next trend when the time comes.

 

4. Be business aware

Technology has to be effective. IT is only one aspect of a business. Be aware of what each businesses needs are, whether it’s a quick turn around on a new feature or building something that will need to be maintained for a decade. Your decisions will be impacted by the environment you find yourself in.

 

5. Be a brand

You think your name identifies you? Nope. It’s a brand. It identifies a service provider that supplies key skills. Build your brand. Get out there and start letting others know your talent. Get on GitHub, Stack Overflow, Meetup.com; join communities; work on open source projects; do side projects. But make sure it’s all delivered. If you are a developer and all your GitHub projects are basic, generated skeleton frameworks with an added feature that you wanted to test – then it looks weak. Better to contribute to existing projects and properly sell your brand’s skills.
 


 

Thanks to Dr. Brendan Gowing of iContract for sharing these tips [originally shared on the iContract blog]. If you are looking for your next contract, do have a look at joining iContract – you can find and manage your contracts from their platform, as well as extend your network.
 

All content is accurate at the time of publication

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