How do you ever know what you need to do, if you don’t have a record of it somewhere? It might be a good idea at the start to go by a few emails you get or what your boss asks you to do. But the best IT employees use their own organisational system or set of lists to keep track of what they need to do.
The type of lists you use will depend on your preference and your job, but a simple To Do list should be enough to start. Many email programs contain a list system (such as Tasks in Microsoft Outlook) that you can use. Even a notepad or an Excel file can work.
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Social networking is a big thing these days. You may be on Facebook, or Twitter. Another great social networking site for professionals is LinkedIn. Essentially, it’s like Facebook but for professionals. You set up your profile, add your education and work experience, and connect with people.
You can keep up to date with your current and former co-workers
It’s like an online resume – potential employers can find you based on your experience
You can find jobs via LinkedIn as well
Other people can offer you recommendations – publicly writing how good you are at your job. Which you are! Or, you will hopefully be if you’ve been reading the articles on my site!
Many industries and sub-industries in the IT world have associations or interest groups that people can join. They can be groups based on specific technologies based on specific sub-industries (Business Analysis), or workers of a certain area.
Joining these groups will not only connect you with like-minded individuals, but you’ll have access to a lot of information, from both the organisation and the people inside it. This will be a great benefit to your career.
Personally, I’ve joined a few newsletters/groups that I’m interested in, such as Oracle developers and Project Management groups. There are a lot out there – have a look around!
Arguably the best tip on how to improve your IT career is to obtain more qualifications. These should be in the industry that you’re aiming to improve in, but general qualifications can help. Project managers, security and networking professionals, and even specific technology developers all have a range of qualifications they can obtain.
They usually involve studying the course material, enrolling in an exam, paying a fee, and then (hopefully) passing the exam. Depending on the courses, the fees may vary. But, in the long term, you should make that money back, both in benefits to your employer and future pay rises. People with extra qualifications usually get paid more – both from their current employer, and if they decide to change employers.