Hint: It takes more than just technical skills.
Succeeding in the IT world takes more than just stellar technical skills. While being in the know on the latest systems and applications is crucial, cultivating strong business skills is just as important. In fact, IT professionals interested in advancing in the corporate world would do well to develop their non-technical skills the same as they would their tech skills. As technology continues to play a critical role in business, more and more IT professionals find themselves working in traditional businesses rather than technical firms and must ensure that the technology they supply is being used to appropriately support the business.
Talk the talk.
Tech professionals aren't always known for their communication skills, and that's precisely why this is an excellent place to start. Increasingly, business leaders are looking for technical workers who are able to translate complex information into laymen's terms so that others within the business can understand it. In addition, it's often necessary for technical employees to “sell” others on a system or program, and the ability to clearly communicate the benefits of one option versus another is vital.
Non-technical knowledge is powerful.
Budgets. ROI. Analytical skills. The better versed technical professionals are in non-technical aspects of business, the better off they will be. To ensure that technology supports the business and provides optimum value, IT professionals need more than just basic business knowledge. So take the time to learn the information and skills that are valued in corporate America - it could play a major role in your professional success.
Variety is key.
If your career path takes you into a more traditional company instead of a technology firm, you'll need more than your tech expertise to move ahead. That's why it's imperative for today's undergraduate students to consider a non-technology minor or even a second major. If you have an interest in the liberal arts, go for it - background in another field will help you connect with people who work in the variety of departments found in most companies. It will also show potential employers that you are a well-rounded individual who will likely work well with people in other departments.
If your employer will allow, consider “shadowing” people in other departments so you can broaden your experience and gain valuable insight into the entire business. Your increased understanding of other departments and functions in your company will prove helpful as you provide IT and tech support. Again, the more you know, the more it benefits the department and business as a whole. Invest in your success.
Recognizing the need to increase your business knowledge is the first step for most IT professionals. Once you've done that, it may be up to you to seek out opportunities to learn. Some managers or businesses might not have programs in place that enable technical employees to brush up on their non-technical knowledge and skills, but don't let that stop you. Consider taking classes or seminars on your own, joining appropriate professional organizations, or approaching management regarding expanding the professional development opportunities to include a wider range of study. Remember, an investment in your business-related education and skills will pay off in the long-term - for your company and for you.
To learn more about how we can help you succeed in your career, contact your local Adecco Information Technology representative today.