The outlook for careers in information technology is highly promising, whether in development, coding or management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT employment is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024. That’s is faster than the average growth for all other occupations, and BLS attributes it, in part, to advancements in areas including the cloud, big data, the Internet of Things and mobile computing.
Business and technology are intertwined as never before, and with the emphasis in K-12 on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, larger numbers of young adults are choosing to study IT. At the same time, more career changers are choosing IT over other fields. Like medicine, IT is a varied discipline with many different options for specialization. Aspiring professionals need to not only have an aptitude for technology, but a focus area to distinguish them both early on and throughout their careers.
Hartman Executive Advisors are senior executives with advanced business and technology skills. We asked what advice they have for students and young professionals pursuing a career in information technology. Their advice focuses on ways to stand out in the field and start along a path to long-term success. We’ve broken them into three categories:
1. Boost your business skills
Focus on continually developing your oral and written communication skills, relationship and interpersonal skills, organization and personal discipline. The technology is the easy stuff, or at least the most straightforward. It’s the other pieces that differentiate great IT professionals. .
Rick Arthur, Greater Washington Practice Lead
Specialists who can speak in business terms and focus on outcomes are in high demand, and these soft skills are often far more important than the technical ones. Learn to be a facilitator and a strong communicator.
George Breeden, Nonprofit & Association Practice Lead
Consulting, whether it’s a pure consulting company or a managed service provider, will teach you more in a year than five years working in an IT department of a traditional company.
Adam Kuhn, Senior IT Advisor
2. Find your niche
Pursue the part of IT you’re most passionate about and you will do well. For business people who want to be more involved in IT, it’s key to demonstrate a maturity in understanding the role IT plays for an organization.
Scott Brooke, Executive IT Advisor
Technology comes easy to those pursuing it, but to add value and grow your career, you need to choose a business space as a focus and become knowledgeable on its various aspects.
Rob Kerr, Healthcare Practice Lead
3. Don’t forget networking and development
Seeking out a mentor is absolutely essential to those who want to pursue a career in business and technology. Look for a mentor who has IT experience in your chosen field and ask if they will help you create your own path
Stephanie Sharpe, Senior IT Advisor
IT professionals need to be networkers. Become comfortable talking about your strengths and accomplishments to show how your work benefits an organization or a process. The more specific, detailed information you can provide in these situations, the better.
Bryony SySantos, People & Change Assistant
Hartman clients benefit from the opportunity to work with seasoned, C-level IT executives who can also speak the language of business. We believe there truly are no “IT projects” in an organization, but business initiatives where technology can help to achieve a strategic goal.
Reach out today to learn more about Hartman’s unbiased approach to IT strategy and understand the steps you can take to move your organization to new levels of success.