Elements of a good IT career

  • What are some elements of a good IT career? This is different than a good job, in that a job is not necessarily a permanent thing.
    In a good IT career, there are things like continuing education, new challenges, and the ability to stay employed.
    I've met many IT professionals in different stages of their career over the years, all with different perspective.
    What are the most efficacious traits it takes to maintain a good IT career?

  • To me, growth. I have a very good friend. I only have four people who aren't family I consider my best friends. The one I'm referring to is unlike the other three in many ways. The interesting thing about him is that I can be brutally and completely honest with him, more than even my own parents. He doesn't judge me based on a lot of the things my other friends do. Some of that's good, some of that's bad. Ok, now the back-story is out of the way.

    He gave me some advice back in my days of retail. I worked with him and he taught me a lot about IT but more about life and work.

    The single most crucial thing he taught me was this...

    When you **** up, admit it. When you've done something stupid and you know it, or, if you have done something stupid and don't realize it, and you're being pulled in to speak to your manager/supervisor/boss or whatever you call the person you report to, don't hide it. Don't beat around the issue. Don't get defensive and try to make excuses. Own up to it. Just face it head-on. People are let go not because of stupid actions. People are let go because of stupid attitudes. Fighting the person critiquing you shows you don't care to grow/change/fix the real issue. At that point, you've lost your value to the employer. If you accept to them and yourself what you did and understand why you are being talked to, you can move forward. People are hired to do a job. Messing up just comes with the territory. No matter the job, you will screw up. How you handle it shows a lot about you as a person. If it's a bad action but you have the right attitude, you'll be fine. A bad action with the wrong attitude and you no longer have any value.

    That is basically what he told me. I apply this in all aspects of life. While I don't always address issues as I should, when a matter is brought before me, I face it. Delaying what is going to happen does no good and often makes things much worse. My 2ยข.

  • @ajstringham I agree, growth is critical in an IT career.

  • The ability and even more so, desire to keep learning.

  • I've often said that a key skill for IT Pros is "The ability to manage change."

  • For me Elements of a good IT career- In general being honest to your boss even they are not around, Similar A.J's reply. One thing also is You have to treat your job like you are the owner of the company that you are working for. Continuous learning is necessary and being dedicated to your job. Just my idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • @Joyfano I agree. Make it personal so that in everything you do you are making the company better.

  • @ajstringham Thank you A.J. I hope that the other people will try to apply this kind of Idea.

  • @scottalanmiller

    @scottalanmiller said:

    I've often said that a key skill for IT Pros is "The ability to manage change."
    This is true. Managing of everything is necessary. you have to manage how to deal your boss, user/costumer, time and also the demand of your job.
    My opinion is based only from my experience.

  • @Katie For me, it's being able to not only find a good mentor(s) but to also try to be one at every stage of your career. It's also being comfortable with knowing that you can never know everything so don't expect to always have the answer. Once you are, you remove barriers in your career because you know where your weakest points are and can identify where you can grow. You can also never stop wanting to learn and always try to build on or obtain new skills. The moment you do, you are irrelevant, and the time gap between skills being relevant seems to constantly be shrinking.

  • I'm a big fan of over simplifying things so here it goes:

    To have a long happy successful career in IT you need the following -

    • Hunger (both for delicious food and knowledge)
    • Dependability
    • Flexibility
    • Coffee
    • Hobbies

    That's really all it takes!

  • Quality Customer Service. I'll take an IT pro that wants to make things better for his clients any day over the know-it-all asshole that thinks he is not replaceable. If you strive to provide the best service you can to your client (end users, supervisor, company - even the janitor), then you will do the things necessary to maintain that effect- study, test things, offer services with a positive attitude, and learn to say "no problem" with honest discussion about getting the results.
    Never lie, steal or manipulate. Always do the right thing. Never jump ship just for money.

  • @Hubtech Yes, copious amounts of coffee. Critical and key. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Really understanding you role within a business. Knowing that IT remains a support group, a high end one but always support. We are not the priority and our job is to do as the business needs / demands. Too often IT people think that they should be in charge and try to take over other duties.

  • @Bob-Beatty said:

    learn to say "no problem" with honest discussion about getting the results.

    I'm reminded of a new client we have in our shared hosting environment. He somehow got into the contract that he can perform snapshots on his VMs, a big no no in the environment. This went through sales drones, service managers, etc. etc. etc. until it hit support. We told them it was going to take out other customers if they were doing this, specifically if you fill up a LUN it can take out the ESX box that LUN is connected to. Even though they have dedicated storage, they have the ability to take out an entire 32 node cluster in the process. Not to mention that we had no way of monitoring the size of the LUN through our current tools and the customer before even implementing their environment was at over 60% usage.

    Management demanded that we say "no problem". Support's answer was not only no, but [moderated] no.

    Sometimes in IT, it's good to know when to say no. Knowing what is possible and impossible is critical to an IT career.

  • Networking (Human) is something I wouldn't have thought of when I started out, but it's been a blessing. The relationships you build with coworkers, former employers, vendors, etc. can really grow into a great resource.

  • Human networking, both in person and online, is definitely huge.

  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Human networking, both in person and online, is definitely huge.


  • Don't concern yourself with who or how it happened, just fix it.

  • And Change is inevitable in this area managing it separates the good from the better, and best.

  • Thanks, Scott Alan Miller!!!

  • @ChrisJ said:

    Thanks, Scott Alan Miller!!!

    You bet!

  • @ChrisJ said:

    And Change is inevitable in this area managing it separates the good from the better, and best.

    And remember, as you go through change, so does everyone else. It isn't that change isn't tough, it's about it being relatively easier for us than for most people.

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