So you’ve been in IT for some time now and you’re looking for the next step in your tech career. This can be confusing and frustrating point in your career. Here’s how I did it and I’ve used the same formula to help a handful of other as.
#1. Identify your career track (tech or management)
The first task in this process is to ask yourself where you’d like to be. Do you want to focus on the technical aspect of technology or would you rather focus on the management side of tech. There’s no right or wrong answer as this all depends on you – your strengths, your career goals, your passion, etc. This is a very important decision so make sure to think about it carefully and consider all aspects of you (home life, work life, pay, qualifications, etc) inorder to get a better picture of the next steps.
#2. Take on the big projects
Regardless if you see yourself as a tech manager or as a tech lead, it’s important to “earn your stripes” by taking on projects where your individual contributions will have significant impact on the success of the company/project. Most people that have been in tech for a while aren’t looking to expose themselves to such pressure, however it is a MUST that you put yourself in the hot seat if you have aspirations of supercharging your career to the next level. Taking on the “big projects” has three key benefits:
- You learn how to do something new (in some cases you mess up and learn what not to do)
- You acquire new skills, experience, content, achievements to put on your resume
- You get to showcase your capabilities in a prime-time
#3. Beef up your EQ (Emotional Quotient)
Although we work in tech, we’re not robots. We interact with people in order to get the job done. People play a huge part in your individual success and upward career mobility. Gone are the days of the tyrannical coworker who uses force + manipulation to push his/her agenda. The corporate world has finally embraced emotional intelligence – the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Influencing, collaborating, leading, and managing conflict in the corporate world now requires a higher level of emotional awareness. This is an essential soft skill necessary at any level of your career.