College commencements have come to a close, which means a new crop of bright-eyed, enthusiastic IT workers have joined the job market. For computer science and engineering grads, there’s quite a bit of competition, opportunity, as well as confusion, as they make their way down the path towards becoming IT pros. But, this isn’t just a time for the fresh faces – existing IT administrators, programmers and even CIOs should take a step back and remind themselves of what success looks like. So, here are a few tips for grads and pros alike to build a foundation for a fruitful career:
Tip #1: Be agile and adaptive
Looking back at the technology and software landscape over the last fifty years, many new trends and innovations have emerged, evolved and faded. The next fifty years – the span of your career – will likely see an even more accelerated amount of technological developments. As you sort through the technology noise, keep these Do’s and Don’t in mind so that you can become an agile and adaptive IT professional:
• Do adopt a willingness to learn and seek out training consistently.
• Do pursue qualities of flexibility and openness in your approach to work.
• Do stay aware and involved in the industry.
• Don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new technologies and mindsets.
• Don’t become complacent in the face of the fast pace of technology.
Above all else, being able to adapt to any scenario will make you a valuable asset to any IT department. No skill is valued more highly than being able to assimilate to the evolving technology landscape
Tip # 2: Pursue training in essential areas, not just new areas
Especially at a young age, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and excitement of new technologies and skills. With new programming languages popping up on a regular basis and an onslaught of devices challenging development platforms – it’s easy to get distracted!
Languages, platforms, management styles – many of these will come and go, evolving throughout your career. If you focus solely on gaining experience in one area, you risk limiting the relevance of your own skillset to that particular area of technology.
Instead, seek out opportunities for training both within your company, as well as among industry organizations and events. Then, conduct your own informal analysis of which skills are truly in-demand. Some of these may not be the most glamorous, but you’ll notice they are the most consistent in translating to job security.
For example, consider the huge demand for COBOL programmers. Though its’ been around for over 50 years and is often considered ‘a dying language’ when compared to its newer counterparts, COBOL is still a dominant force in the business world. In fact, Gartner estimates that 60-80% of the world’s enterprises still depend on COBOL to run their business. That translates into a wealth of employment opportunities for new grads!
Tip #3: Stay aware of the industry
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s incredibly beneficial to immerse yourself in the your industry. Attend industry conferences, read relevant news every morning and network with peers every chance you get! Though small, these actions will advance your skill level quickly and keep you on top of your game. And most importantly, you’re knowledge and innovative will be a huge value to your employers.
Have any other tips for recent IT graduates? Share them below in the comment section or join the conversation with us on Twitter.