We all know it’s important to learn and try new things if we want to develop our careers. For some people, changing jobs bring opportunity to develop and push their careers forward, with a recent 2023 report by The Conference Board showed that 48% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs and potentially looking to change.
For other people, they may find opportunities to learn and grow with their current employer. Opportunities to learn, along with internal mobility, are clearly shown to boost employee retention – this is backed up by a recent LinkedIn report. And the importance for businesses to recognise that L&D is critical to business progression is show by the fact that skill sets for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015, and by 2027 this number is expected to double.
As a technology professional, embarking on a journey to develop your tech career can be exciting and rewarding, however, with the landscape constantly changing it's crucial to have a strategic approach. The World Economic Forum released a 2023 report that said adoption of new and frontier technologies and increased digital access are expected to drive job growth, meaning positive growth in future tech jobs, so as an IT professional, you must adapt, learn and develop to changing business needs.
In this blog, I explore the top ways you can propel your technology career forward, from skill-building to networking, to the future...and beyond.
1. Continuous learning
The tech industry is known for its ever-changing nature, with new technologies and frameworks emerging regularly, so it is essential to stay relevant and competitive by committing yourself to a mentality of lifelong learning. Online platforms like Coursera, edX, and Khan Academy offer a plethora of courses on programming languages, data science, AI, and more. Additionally, don't underestimate the power of traditional education, as pursuing a Master's or a specialised tech degree can significantly enhance your skills.
2. Skill diversification
While it's important to have expertise in a particular area, a well-rounded skill set can make you more adaptable and valuable to would-be employers. Depending solely on one technology might limit your career options, for example, a front-end developer could benefit from understanding back-end development or UI/UX principles. Embracing versatility allows you to tackle a wider range of challenges and explore different roles within the tech ecosystem.
3. Personal projects and open-source contributions
Hands-on experience is invaluable. Working on personal tech projects or contributing to open-source initiatives not only showcases your skills to potential employers but also allows you to apply your knowledge in practical ways. These projects also demonstrate your commitment to the field and can serve as a portfolio to highlight your capabilities.
Building a strong professional network can open doors to numerous opportunities. It’s a great idea to attend tech meetups, conferences, workshops, and webinars to connect with like-minded individuals and industry experts. If you follow the Gravitas blog, you should now be the proud owner of a top-notch LinkedIn profile, so put it to good use. Online platforms such as LinkedIn and GitHub are excellent for expanding your network and staying up to date with the latest trends. Engage in discussions, share your insights, and participate in online communities to establish yourself as a credible presence.
We have a number of friendly in person networking events where you can meet like-minded tech professionals, potential future employers, or expand your knowledge with numerous panel discussions on tech hot topics. See our latest tech events here.
5. Soft skills matter
Tech careers aren't just about coding and algorithms; soft skills like communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership are all equally crucial. Effective communication helps convey complex ideas to non-technical stakeholders, while strong problem-solving skills enable you to tackle challenges creatively, so by developing these essential skills you can set yourself apart from the crowd as a unique and well-rounded tech professional.
6. Mentorship and coaching
Guidance from experienced professionals can provide you with invaluable insights and advice. Seeking out mentors or coaches in your desired field can help you navigate the complexities of the tech industry, helping you to make informed decisions, and accelerating your career growth.
7. Stay updated and experiment
Tech is ever evolving, and staying updated is a non-negotiable element of any successful tech professional. Subscribe to tech blogs, podcasts, social media pages, mailing lists and news sources to keep yourself informed about the latest trends, breakthroughs, industry standards and best practices. Furthermore, allocate time for experimentation, trying out new software tools, frameworks, or languages can expand your horizons and spark innovative ideas.
8. Leadership and management skills
As you progress in your tech career, opportunities to lead and manage teams may arise. Developing leadership skills is essential for managing projects, guiding junior colleagues, and fostering a positive work environment. Leadership training, workshops, and seeking out leadership roles on various projects can help you to hone these skills.
9. Professional branding
In this ever more digital age, your online presence matters, and all top candidates should be proudly advertising themselves and their work, especially prospective employers, via online digital media. Create a personal website, portfolio, or blog to showcase your achievements, projects, and thoughts on industry trends. Effective personal branding can enhance your visibility and attract opportunities.
10. Set clear goals
Finally, having a clear vision of where you want your tech career to go is of paramount importance. Set short-term and long-term goals, both technical and non-technical, and regularly reassess and adjust these goals as you gain experience and insights.
Are you ready to put your technology career development plan into action?
In conclusion, technology career development is a journey that requires dedication, continuous learning, and adaptability. By embracing the points raised in this blog, from staying updated with the latest trends to cultivating software skills and networking, you can position yourself for success in the dynamic and ever-expanding world of the tech industry.
About the author
Eve Hazlett, Principal Team Leader of the Gravitas Housing division, recruits for a variety of public sector roles across the UK. Eve has over 10 years recruitment experience working with Gravitas and has developed a strong network of both clients and candidates within her specialism. She works with candidates across housing management systems, data warehousing, database development, business intelligence, data migration and much more.
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