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Tips to Really Thrive in IT

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10 Tech Skills that Are Heading the Way of the Dinosaur

Two points stuck out at me while reading the Computerworld post "How to prepare for the coming IT skills revolution," and they've been true for a long time in IT: You have to take charge of your own career and you have to be committed to lifetime learning.

 

They're true as well in any field, but especially so in the fast-changing world of IT. The article talks about a "skills gap," a notion brought out in a CompTIA survey released in March in which 93 percent of IT and business managers reported a gap between their staff's skills and what they need to be.

 

But the gap isn't necessarily what you'd think. The article quotes Suzanne Fairlie, president of ProSearch, a nationwide executive search company, on talking with 12 CIOs recently:

"To a person, everybody validated that there is a gap," she says. But it's not necessarily a gap in deep technical skills; it primarily involves the strategic skills that managers are increasingly demanding of everyone in their departments.

 

The list includes "business analysis skills, relationship skills, understanding the value of IT to the organization, navigating internal politics," says Fairlie. "Those are hard to come by, and yet, they're so essential."


And it's hard to find a class in that. Amid the debate over being a generalist vs. specialist or taking on a "hybrid" business/IT position, my colleague Ann All has written about companies such as Johnson & Johnson, State Street, W.W. Grainger, General Mills and Xerox that recruit professionals interested in moving from IT roles to business roles and back.

 

In that vein, the article offers these pointers to really thrive in IT these days:

  • Make career management your No. 1 skill.
  • Pursue training and certifications-on your own time and on your own dime, if necessary.
  • Aim to solve business problems, not tech problems.
  • Develop soft skills like communication.
  • Either commit to an industry and build business skills ...
  • ... or develop deep IT skills and work for an outsourcer or service provider.
  • Consider consulting.

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