We’re coming close to the end of the year, and while you may not quite be prepared for the holidays just yet, taking inventory of how far you’ve come in 2012 and where you want to go in 2013 can only be a good thing. To help you on your way, we’ll take a look at recent IT industry articles that provide some good advice to enhance your career opportunities as an IT professional, along with forecasts of what salary potential may await in the coming year.
This month CIO.com wrote on the “12 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Pros” in which they outlined practical advice they admitted, you may have heard before, but nonetheless still holds true.
Case in point: maintaining your technology proficiency. This may be a given, considering how often technology changes on a monthly or even weekly basis, but it’s easy to get into a routine and lose sight of better, more efficient methodologies and platforms to improve the overall efficiency of your organization and bottom line.
The advice also comes with a warning:
“Becoming ‘indispensable’ can be a double-edged sword. Get too indispensable, and you might find yourself unable to move beyond your niche.”
You definitely want to avoid being boxed in. One way to overcome that is to stay connected with fellow employees within other departments at your company to see how your skills and expertise can be utilized to solve problems or contribute to a give project, without of course, compromising your existing tasks and responsiblities at hand.
Yes, it can be a balancing act. So let’s take deeper look at these 12 Habits:
- Get Down To Business – know how your company operates and view business processes not just from an IT perspective, but as you would in other departments and as a client, a vendor and so on.
- Keep Your Eye on the Bottom Line – this is worth repeating. While technology and the staff to keep IT running adds to this bottom line, your expertise and insight can be invaluable in utilizing all the tools in the box to make your company’s business run smarter.
- Keep Your Head in the Cloud – moving business operations to the cloud is one thing. Maintaining operations, vendor relations, and managing services is another.
- Broaden Your Tech Horizons – specializing in your area of expertise is definitely a must. Having knowledge beyond your immediate scope also allows more flexibility to move into other areas of IT and to move up the ladder. Earning a bachelor’s or graduate certificate can be another plus for your career and can be taken online to fit your schedule.
- Teach Your Co-Workers to Speak Geek – a casual, brown-bag session enables you to bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the company, putting people more on ease by equipping them with the best way to communicate their issues, which can make your job easier.
- Ditch the Slakers, Find a Mentor – by steering clear of the less then effective types at your company, you can then cultivate relationships with those co-workers who have more seniority and experience for the ultimate in on-the-job training and learning…while making connections to enhance your opportunities for advancement.
- Do It With Data – you’ve heard the term “big data.” Yes, it’s here to stay. The better you can wrangle it all for each department, the more valuable you’ll be. The title “data artisan” is expected to be one of the hottest jobs in the future.
- Take On Jobs No One Else Wants – make lemonade out of lemons. Seek out a problem project, find a solution and turn it around. They may just call you a hero.
- Don’t Be A Jerk – this may sound harsh, but it’s true. Those ‘soft skills’ really do matter and it’s worth it to make an effort. Patience goes a long way in presenting ideas and project plans to non-technical personnel, while listening enables you to learn about the needs and concerns of those you work with and work for. Whether you’re introvert or an extravert, being a good communicator within your team and organization, along with outside contractors, vendors and industry colleagues is essential.
- Go Public – relating to some of the rules above, working across departments to solve problems and cultivate those inter-personnel relationships adds to your creditability and reputation. If you’re in a client-facing position, all the better. Then you have an opportunity to be invaluable to both your company and their customer.
- Don’t Literally Become Indispensable - if this happens you have no room to take on other projects or move up in the company. Or take a vacation. The key to avoid this is to delegate and train others.
- Know When to Fire Yourself – when you’ve gone as far as you can go, the next step may be to branch out on your own. This can provide not only a more flexible schedule but increased income opportunities and variety of work experiences.
In the area of salary forecasts, the future looks bright for IT professionals in 2013. According to Robert Half, who recently surveyed CIOs for their Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, ”Technology is so essential to the basic operations of just about every business that employers with open position must compete with companies of all types, across all industries, for promising professionals.”
To compete, companies are offering “a tempting array of benefits – such as generous salaries, innovative perks and numerous professional development opportunities – to convince top IT talent to join their organizations.”
A sampling of 2013 salary predictions include:
- Administration (CIO, CTO, CSO, IT Manager): $94,000 – $234,750
- Applications Development (CRM Developer, Systems Analyst, Mobile App Developer, ERP, Technical Writer): $51,250 – $140,500
- Database Administration (Architect, Analyst, Administrator): $64,250 – $145,750
- Internet & E-Commerce (Developer, Designer, Administrator): $65,250 – $127,250
- Networking/Telecommunications (Architect, Engineer, Administrator): 54,000 – $146,500
- Security (Analyst, Systems Manager, Engineer): $89,500 – $149,750
- Software Development (Developer, Engineer): $74,500 – $130,750
- Technical Services, Support, Help Desk (Systems Administrator, Systems Engineer, Support Analyst, Help Desk Tier 1-3): $30,000 – $112,000
Regis CPS School of Computer & Information Sciences offers a variety of bachelor’s and graduate degrees and certificates, from E-Security to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Information Assurance, Database Administration with Oracle and more: http://cps.regis.edu/SCIS.php