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8 tips for getting your IT career back on track

Rich Hein | June 20, 2014
At one time or another, we've all felt were burned out, unwanted or on our way out the door. What if you're not ready to go? How can IT workers get their career back on track with their current employer?

Request More Frequent Feedback
"The reality is that many technology professionals truly don't know how the leadership team views their performance, strengths, abilities, promotability and so on," Van Vreede says.

If you work in an environment where you only get feedback once a year, or not at all, then talk to your supervisor. "State the importance of receiving honest feedback and how critical it is to growth, both in your career and for your company," Nathanson says. "If you emphasize the importance of wanting to learn and grow in your conversation, the result will be positive."

You should also ask coworkers you trust to give you feedback. Ask them how others feel about the way you interact and behave.

Blow Your Own Horn
No one likes over-the-top self-promotion, but it's important that the right people know about your successes and what value you provide. After all, people may not fully understand your role. "Act as your own champion internally," Nathanson says, without being aggressive or self-aggrandizing. "Ensure that the right people know what you're working on and the successes you're enjoying. A little well-played 'self-PR' can go a long way."

Participate in Company Events
Many people in IT lean toward the introverted side and find social interaction difficult, but making appearances at company events matters if you're dedicated to building your professional relationships. "Show passion for the company and its mission," Nathanson says.

Volunteer For Difficult or Unwanted Tasks
Volunteering shows that you're a team player who can tackle a difficult assignment outside of your comfort zone. "Being willing to work outside of your given responsibilities shows that you are passionate about your job, the company and the industry itself," Ellermeyer says. "In today's digital age, it's become increasingly important for IT professionals to be ready and willing to wear multiple hats, as technology can and often does replace human manpower."

The only caveat: Don't over-extend yourself by volunteering for something that will have a negative impact on your core responsibilities.

Increase Your Depth of Industry Knowledge
This process can take many forms — a CIO attending industry trade shows to stay on top of new technologies, for example, or a lead developer participating in open source initiatives to stay sharp and fuel their passion. For others still, it means going back to school to get a BA. This "learned knowledge," Ellermeyer says, gives professionals the confidence to offer the type of insight that pushes businesses forward as a result of their leadership.

Join a Professional Group
Ellermeyer advises clients to join at least one professional organization, such as the Data Processing Management Association or the Association of Information Technology Professionals. These organizations can help you better network within your industry as well as help you learn about industry trends.


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