Recession Proof Your IT Career

The current economy has created many challenges for today’s labor market. Yet, many IT workers are not only surviving the recession, but thriving.

In a difficult economy, it’s important to consider ways to make yourself a key component of your company’s IT infrastructure. When tough decisions have to be made about who gets cut and who survives, you want to be the kind of person who is invaluable to your company and your coworkers, not someone who seems disposable.

In years past, technical expertise alone was the ticket to the top. Today’s IT sector demands a broader repertoire of skills and IT employers are beginning to see a shortage of workers with the mix of technical and business skills they need. If you’re looking to secure your job stability by boosting your value to the organization, focus on attaining these important “soft” skills:

Build Business Acumen
Masses of Baby-boomers are exiting the IT profession and taking with them their wealth of business knowledge, requiring tech employers to find entry-level IT workers with the same level of business acumen to take their place. At the same time, the role of IT in an organization has evolved from a supporting role to a key component in a businesses’ ability to remain competitive.

In this current IT marketplace, a worker’s ability to marry their knowledge of technology with a keen understanding of its connection to the greater business strategy will quickly move up the value chain. Focus on:

  • Learning how your organization distinguishes its products or services from competitors
  • Verbalizing “techie speak” to non-IT peers and executives
  • Understanding the business impact and financials of a project (i.e. Total Cost of Ownership, Return on Investment, etc.)

Become a Hybrid IT Worker
Employers are operating in a “do more with less” world. So it stands to reason they’d expect the same of their employees. IT workers who have been crossbred to take on multiple roles and responsibilities across the department and organization are highly valued. For example, having software developers who also apply usability expertise are far more effective because they understand how each solution they develop affects the user experience. Become a hybrid IT worker by:

  • Expanding your skill set by taking extra classes after work or online
  • Taking on extra projects or participating in cross-department committees
  • Working with mentors who can share their individual expertise and knowledge

Play Nice With Others
As IT departments emerge from their secluded back room to assert their role in the board room, companies are increasingly asking that their IT groups more effectively communicate with the entire organization and not just themselves. An IT workers’ capacity to work well with others can mean the difference between a lackluster career and vaulting to the top of the career ladder. Build your “client-facing” skills by:

  • Taking advantage of company-sponsored or subsidized training to build your soft skills. If your employer doesn’t provide such, be proactive and acquire those skills yourself through a professional association or other alternatives

  • Being patient with everyone you work with, no matter what level of technical know-how they may have. This will demonstrate your ability to be a team player

  • Becoming adept at collaborating and sharing information on your projects with other departments within the organization.

The current recessionary climate has many IT workers feeling their career is uncertain and out of their control. But workers can be in the driver’s seat of their career by emerging as an IT worker with skills and knowledge that employers are seeking. Employers want workers with a “just get it done” initiative that springs from ambition and a sincere desire to learn and succeed.

For more information about XSell Resources call 215-706-4500 or Contact Us.

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