By Tim Jewell, Founder and CEO at DataDepositBox
October 23, 2017

Data Deposit Box Cloud Backup Expert Tips: How to Take Your IT Career to the Next Level

IT is definitely one of the hottest industries today. We see the rise of revolutionary technologies such as Big Data, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, etc. with which the demand for IT experts, in both hardware and software has skyrocketed. However, with this increasing popularity, the competition in this domain has also picked up pace. So, how can you stand out among other individuals vying for the same jobs? Let’s find out.

Since IT industry is extremely dynamic and growing at an exponential rate today, one of the most important things that you must do is stay current. You must be aware what’s going on in the industry. What are the trending programming languages? Which software companies are shaking up the industry? These are some of the questions you must have the answers to. However, mere knowledge won’t cut it – you must keep your IT skills up-to-date as well.

Here are some of the ways you can give an impetus to your IT career and reach new heights:

Get Certified
Whether certifications are really useful in taking your career to the next level is debatable. However, it is unlikely that clearing a few good certifications would do any harm. Some organizations place some value on certification, and use them as a way to promote advancement and salary increases; while others do not give any value to certification. It is true that some IT people will study only to pass the test. However, in general, those people who have passed tests tend to keep their IT skills current.

Certifications can make your resume a lot better and give you an edge over others. Besides, when there are almost 2,000 different kinds of IT certifications, you are bound to find something that may work for you and interest you. Although they might cost a lot of money and time, some of the best certification options that you might want to consider include: PMP, CISSP, VCP and MCSE.

If you are unsure which certifications are best for you, then follow these steps:

  • Do some research. Find out which programs are in demand, and will stay in demand for at least a few years. If possible, attend a few seminars that’s relevant to the trends and advancements in the IT industry.
  • Consider the programs that compliment your existing skillset, instead of starting from a scratch.
  • Make sure you consult with a few knowledgeable people in the IT industry before making the final decision.

Start Something of Your Own
Nothing does wonders for your resume than the mention of a first-hand experience with a software project. It is one thing to master a programming language in theory, and a totally different thing to use it for making a software of your own. By learning a new software language and using it for creating your own product, not only you get to understand it much better, but also get a chance to put your creativity to work. An employer is much more likely to prefer someone with actual experience with a skill they are looking for, rather than someone who has good theoretical knowledge.

One way to get some hands-on experience is by volunteering. So, if you find that someone wants a new website built in node-js, or an iOS app for their business, approach them and convince them to give the project to you. Even if they are paying a modest sum for the service, accept it. The experience is way more valuable than any amount of money.

Attend Seminars, Conferences and Webinars
Seminars and conferences can help you keep up with technology. Search for local and national seminars and conferences and try your best to attend them on a regular basis. You can also sign up for free online webinars to learn more about new technologies. Remember that seminars, conferences and webinars can be educational.

Research about the kind of conferences you plan to attend ahead of time. For example, the Intel Developer Forum might be more useful for a developer than CES. Look for conferences that provide breakout sessions and / or hands-on training. In addition to learning and sharpening your IT skills, conferences are a great place to network that might lead into new professional opportunities.

Some of the most widely attended conferences include: Cisco Live, Interop, Microsoft Cloud Roadshow, Spiceworld, and CES.

Sharing is Caring
Sharing is caring. The best way to fully learn a subject is by volunteering to become an in-house trainer for your team. This way, you will be killing two birds with one stone. You will need to study the subject in order to teach. You will basically go through the subject matter at least twice. The first, when you prepare your material and the second time when you teach and train. Your team members and manager will also appreciate your efforts in sharing and training. In the process, this will make you more valuable to your company, as you are willing to share your knowledge with your colleagues.

Remember that most valued employees are not always those who held the most impressive titles or had amassed the greatest number of skills. Rather, the most valuable employees are those who could train and mentor newer employees.

Visit your Customers
In most organizations, IT people’s customers are believed to be company employees only. This might be partially true if your organization is not in the IT business. If you work for an IT organization like Data Deposit Box, however, it is the customers who use the products, your company makes, that keep the lights on. So, you don’t have to be in sales to visit a customer.

It might be difficult for an IT professional to justify a visit to the customers’ site. As an IT professional, you might think that customer visit is the job of the sales person or an account manager. However, you might want to accompany the account manager and/or the sales person who has a good relationship with customers, on one of their visits to the customer’s site. While visiting the customer as an IT professional, you might want to start out by explaining that you’d like to learn a little more about how they use your products. Yes, you’re not there to sell or provide technical assistance. You’re only there to listen patiently and learn how they use your products.

Customers might be willing to give you useful feedback during your visit. They might be using the solution in way you never thought. Thinking the real person, who owns the technology is in front of them, customers may share frustrations about your product that you can share with your team. Visiting customers can not only be educational, but also help build relationships. Whether the feedback is negative or positive, visiting customers is a really a good way to improve on your IT skills. Customer site visit is exciting and that you never know what you’re going to hear back. If all you gain from the visit is a little bit of empathy, then it was well worth your while.

IT is also about learning and growing. New technologies are always round the corner, which is why you will need to avoid to become content with your existing skillset. Stay current with technologies. If you want to reach new heights and advance your career faster, then make sure you learn new technologies. You can also take courses in sales, marketing, communications, business development, accounting, economics and more to widen your reach and knowledge. Take on projects that no one wants. Try your best to bond with skilled IT professional, who is always willing to share their knowledge and embrace them as mentors. Network with IT professionals whether in conferences or after hours evening meetup events.

Data Deposit Box (DDB) is an award-winning cloud data backup and recovery solution, specifically designed for small, mid-sized to enterprise organizations. DDB is differentiated by its numerous value-added and industry leading features – agentless technology, on-site portable local storage, multiple off-site data centres, and virtual environments support.

About the Author: Tim Jewell is the Founder and CEO of Data Deposit Box, a publicly traded (OTC: DBB), Toronto-based cloud backup service provider.



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