The information technology (IT) industry has created many jobs in various sectors. Whether you’re a developer, system admin or a helpdesk assistant, your dream is always to advance your career or nab the top position in your workplace.

If you’re looking to advance a career in IT, you will definitely love this post. In a few words, we cover a couple of ways you can use to take your IT career to the next level.

Whether you want to advance your career for personal growth, research or the bigger paycheck, it doesn’t matter; there’s a gem for you in this post.

Read on to learn how you can prevent your IT career from stalling out without the fluff or jargon that’s characteristic of technical blog posts and handbooks.

5 Top Ways of Advancing Your IT Career

While there are many ways of advancing a career in information technology, we shine light on the top five strategies that bring about the greatest change.

These ways might not work for everyone seeing as we’re uniquely different, but our aim is to – hopefully – highlight areas that you might need to improve.

That being said, let’s start since there is a lot to learn.

Love What You Do

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius, as seen on a motivational article on the Work IT Daily website.

Majority of people begin a career in IT with a bang, but soon after lose the zeal for various reasons. It could be that you ran into some challenges and gave up working on your career.

Your lack of enthusiasm is not an isolated case; it happens to the best of us on the regular. Many things that negatively affect our careers can happen both in our personal and professional lives.

At times, all you need to reignite your career and move forward is reminding yourself why you are in it to begin with. The secret to get out of the rut is to go back to the drawing board, reevaluate your goals and chart a new master plan.

Remind yourself of the things you love about your desired field. Why, for instance, would you wake up in the morning for work? Reminisce of the good old days, and remember when you were truly happy in your chosen field.

Why? If you don’t love what you do, you will hardly have the motivation to advance. You must keep on moving forward, but if you lack the drive, it will be an exercise in futility. You must reignite the passion you had for your IT career, and good things will follow.

Stay Current

So you made out of IT school with shiny accolades and the works. You know your way around your field because your grades say so. You join the workforce and hack at a career in IT for five years, and then it dawns on you that you’re stuck.

You’ve let time pass you by, and with it the latest happenings in the IT industry. Your peers were smarter and kept tabs on the latest trends and techniques. They have the latest gear and the biggest budgets, but you can’t make any progress.

You slept on yourself, and we both know it.

Let that sink in.

Now, I have a question for you. How will you advance your career with knowledge and skills from the Stone Age? Information technology is a fast-paced environment, and you must keep up with the news to stay relevant.

Read company periodicals, latest blog posts and generally stay in the loop of what is currently happening. Don’t get comfy in your IT office and forget the world outside the walls. Stay current or go home.

If you don’t know where to start, here are 7 tools to help you track trends in your industry.

Learn

Along with staying smart and on top of things, you must become a lifelong learner if you want to advance your IT career. And if you didn’t know, learning is essential to succeed in any other area of life, not just your career.

Henry Ford was once quoted saying, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty…” and we completely agree. Are you looking to advance your IT career? Learn as if you will live forever.

According to Maryville University, it’s important, now more than ever, to learn a broad spectrum of skills that can help you succeed in a range of IT careers. On top of that, you must learn the business context for those skills, so you can make informed decisions or launch your own business.

But what are you learning exactly? To advance in IT, you need to brush up on your communication skills and other soft skills. Additionally, take a sales/marketing course, so you can learn how to be your own best advocate. If you run a team, learn how to be a better leader, and so on.

Is there a new technology in your field? Take time to learn the ins and outs to stay ahead of the curve. For instance, automation presents a threat to a range of IT staffers, so it’s best to be proactive and learn about options or how your career will survive now and in the future.

Network

It is common knowledge that no one man can stand alone. Practically, you can make it on your own, but it will take you a great deal of effort. There is an African quote that says, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone but if you want to walk far, walk together.”

It’s true you have the education and skills to build a nice IT career. You took the time to learn as much as you could and now you feel like you are ready to take on the world. Great desire this is, but trying to do it alone will drive you insane.

You need to network with likeminded people and – preferably – create a mastermind team. Networking starts as soon as you launch your career, not when you cannot land a job. Best is to begin networking while still in school. And just like you wouldn’t let a great personal relationship fizzle out, keep your professional relationships blooming.

Why go through all the trouble?

Networking helps you to market yourself or spread the brand message. If you put effort in your networking activities, opportunities will stream in from every side you look. Someone in your circles might have a career-changing opportunity for you, but you won’t know if you don’t network.

Network via casual encounters, attend conferences and participate in speaking engagements but keep in mind that quality trumps quantity. To learn more about networking, you can read the How to Network Like You Really Mean It article by Inc.com.

Find Mentors

While networking, you will meet a lot of creative people in the IT industry. Many of these people are incredibly generous and willing to share knowledge, skills and tricks that can help you to grow your career.

If you work in an office, your CIO or manager could be your mentor. We recommend choosing a mentor who has been where you’re, but is currently where you want to be. A mentor will show you the path to follow and the pitfalls to avoid along the way so you can advance your career.

You can have multiple mentors; people who motivate you to keep moving forward even when all hope is lost. The more information you get, the clearer your action plan becomes. You will also have the courage to forge forward since – as they say – knowledge is power.

Remember to seek out feedback from your mentor at any opportunity.

Final Words

Advancing a career in IT is no easy work. There is no manual or a set path to follow. As such, you must take full charge if you dream of growing your career. It’s solely your responsibility to grow in whichever way you desire; our post is simply a tiny list of the things you can do to grow your IT career.

Do you have more tips how to advance your IT career? Please share with us in the comment section.