A career development plan is an important part of being able to advance your career, increase your salary and become a more valuable asset to your company. You may not need a MBA, but education is important as is professional development, management development and leadership development.
IT jobs and careers in the IT industry increasingly require more training and skills. Soft skills such as time management, team building, communications skills, problem solving and customer service skills are all important IT skills you will need to advance your career.
Whether your position is a manager, IT engineer, IT analyst, or any other IT job you should take your career development very seriously. Learning where you want to go and how you will get there will help develop your career and advance your career up the ladder. Don’t leave your career plan in the hands of others, take control now!
The most important part of career development is to understand you are in control of your career.
It is not likely that someone is going to come in the door and offer you career advancement. Opportunities to advance your career do arise. When they do you need to make sure you have the skills needed to take advantage of them.
Start a Career Development Plan
To start you need to have a career development plan. Look at where you are now and where you want your career to go. Do you want to move into other areas of IT? Do you want to move into management? Advancing your career takes planning. You need to know where you want to go before you can map a path to get there.
A career development plan that takes you from point A (where you are now) to your destination. A career road map should have points along the path. These are your career development points. You cannot start at point A and jump to your destination. Plan your path from point A, to point B, to point C and so forth.
Your career development road map may change along the way. Your destination may change. Adjust your road map and your points as you advance your career. You may not even have a destination yet, or you may already by at your destination. You should still have a career development road map to improve your present position and to help position yourself to take advantage of opportunities that may arise.
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- Build an excellent attendance record. A manager wants to know they can depend on you to be on the job every day. This includes sick days, tardiness and other absences.
- Do your job well and complete your work on time. Show that you can be counted on to complete your tasks and that you can handle more responsibility.
- Boost your career with education. Show that you are seeking to improve yourself in areas that are important to the company. Choose specialized training or certifications in the area you are interested in. Problem solving skills and leadership skills are of great value in IT. The more current your skill sets and comprehensive your certifications, the more likely you will be able advance you career and move up the ladder.
- Commit yourself to the continuous improvement of your technical, professional and soft skills. Look at each day as a new opportunity to learn something and improve yourself.
- Networking – If you are unsure about what path you want to take talk to those who work in areas that interest you. Find out what they do and what skills are required. Networking also gives you exposure to managers and workers in those areas. When positions become available you will find out about them and those looking to hire will remember your interest.
- Learn about your company and the departments. A good understanding of the company, how it operates and how the various departments within it run is vital knowledge. It will show you have a broad knowledge of the company and your input will be more informed. Know the structure of the IT department. Who are the main people and what their roles? Knowing the roles of the people in charge of the various departments will give you a valuable overview of the IT department and the people who run it.
- Be professional in everything you do – Proper dress attire is important even on casual workdays. You must look the part. Conduct yourself with a positive attitude towards your job and your co-workers. Don’t whine or complain when things are tough. Instead show you have the ability to overcome challenges. This shows you can be counted on when things get tough.
- Let yourself be known as a team player and be willing to help others. Have a strong work ethic and show that you can go the extra mile when the task requires it.
YOU Are The Key
How far you advance your career and how fast you get there has more to do with your passion and work ethic than anything else. Don’t sit around waiting to be the next in line. Seniority does not mean you are going to move up. Be pro-active when it comes to your career development. Show you have the passion and drive that makes you a valuable asset to the department and to the company.