Career Advice for IT Professionals
It depends on to whom you are asking this question. From some aspects, it is the best time to pursue an IT career, and on the other hand, some people may advise you not to run after an IT career at this moment. IT industries and the in-house IT departments of the corporate companies are going through a continuous changing phase due to rapid innovation like cloud computing and virtualization, along with the influence of social media on their business process. Such a change in IT operation impacts the IT job market as IT professionals must harness their efficiencies on these newer technologies to continue their job roles successfully.
Some IT professionals will find IT jobs as the dead-end of their career due to the availability of a comparatively less expensive IT workforce through offshoring and outsourcing. On the other hand, many IT professionals are not satisfied with their salaries or work-life balance in their careers.
Again, some IT professionals are very optimistic about their careers even though they face challenges due to globalization, outsourcing, offshoring, and continuous technological change. These IT professionals believe that IT jobs have huge opportunities shortly as almost every business has started adapting IT as an integral part of their business process. They can see the increasing demand for skilled IT professionals in almost every business across the world. These optimistic IT professionals can see the opportunities for IT professionals due to the innovation of new technologies like Cloud Computing, Virtualization, etc. Despite the impact of outsourcing and off-shoring, IT jobs seem to be getting more secured to some IT professionals.
Companies are now looking for IT professionals who are willing to put their effort into the organization for a long term basis instead of short tenure. Employers in the IT companies are now looking to retain a skilled workforce so that the IT professionals can adapt their skills and be familiar with the pattern of the business process, as well. Consumer technologies are currently flooding the business, and that is why IT professionals prefer this as the right time to step inside the IT profession.
The Odds You May Have to Face in the IT Industry
Many IT professionals have indeed lost their jobs due to the recession and the impact of off-shoring and outsourcing. This is a common scenario not only for the IT industry but also for almost every business and industry faced such reality due to the world’s current economic situation.
IT jobs are still demanding, fast-paced and also stressful, as well. Usually, IT professionals are required to work around fifty to sixty hours per week. At the same time, IT professionals have to carry a lot of responsibilities and stay updated with the recent technology trend. IT jobs are a good fit for individuals who have logical and analytical minds and are also keen to solve problems.
Job Roles in IT Career
IT professionals choose to pick their preferred job roles from a different and diversified range of options. As an IT professional, you may have the chance to work for the IT department of an Organization, Hardware manufacturing company, software Development Company, technology Service Company, Telecommunication Company and so on. Following is a list of some common IT job roles where IT professionals put their effort on:
- Software/Application Developer
- Hardware Engineer
- System Administrator
- Network Administrator
- Project Manager
- IT Security Manager
- Database Administrator
- Enterprise Architect
- IT Procurement Manager
- Vendor Manager
The IT job roles in the corporate business may not remain the same for a long time, as the paradigm of the technology and newer innovation in the IT industry is changing continually than before. Even IT companies are often reconfiguring the job roles and responsibilities of the IT professionals as they are in the process of continuous adoption of newer technology. Some IT jobs roles are now being considered obsolete, and on the other hand, new job opportunities are being created. Most of the IT companies and the IT departments of corporate business houses are now creating new job roles like Cloud Architect, Cloud Administrator, Cloud Security Consultant, etc. Some job roles like Project Managers and Business Analysts will remain the same as IT professionals. These roles are required to play critical business-oriented technical roles while working for such positions.
The IT professionals have mentioned that IT jobs will fall into two major categories. One is where the IT professionals are required to be engaged with more technical issues. The other is where the IT professionals have to focus more on business development matters. IT specialists will remain responsible for designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining the organisation’s IT infrastructure. The primary role of a business specialist is to find and figure out the most appropriate technologies an organization can use to earn more revenue from its business process. Any business needs to pick the most appropriate technology, which is a good fit for the business. Tech-savvy business specialists are there who have a clear understanding of the overall business process. Thus they can easily pick the most effective technology, which will help the business process to accelerate.
Skills Required to Become a Successful IT Professional
IT skills are continuously changing due to the rapid change and innovation in technologies across the world. The IT industry comprises many branches, including software/application development, programmer, hardware technician, hardware engineer, help desk technician, web development, database administrator, network administrator, IT security specialists, cloud architect, virtualization specialists, etc. IT professionals are now focusing more on developing cloud and/or virtualization skills, as these are considered emerging and an essential part of almost every business process.
IT professionals serving the industry as IT Managers are required to have a blend of both soft and technical skills to be successful along their career path. They are supposed to have effective communication skills to lead the teams of various projects in the industry and develop relationships with the employees of the other department of the same company or with the other companies.
Top-level IT professionals like CIOs (Chief Information Officers) are recommended to focus more on leadership and business skill than technical skills, even in the IT industry. CIOs are required to have a deep understanding of the business process of the organization. At the same time, they must also have effective business communication and leadership skills, as well. Organizations rely heavily on CIOs, as they are also responsible for developing both short term and long term strategic planning to give the business a better shape than before.
Which IT Certifications Might Help you to Add Value to Your IT Career?
IT professionals also recommend earning as many certifications as possible on the relevant IT subject matter to keep the skill sharp and updated. IT professionals need to invest their time, money and effort to earn certifications, which will add value to their careers. Both the vendor-specific and vendor-neutral certifications for IT subject matter are available, from where you can choose and pick your preferred certification and/or training.
Some such top-ranked vendor-specific IT certifications are offered by globally recognized tech giants like Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA, IBM, HP, RedHat, VMware, etc. Besides this, Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and the CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional) are also globally accepted and well-recognized certifications for IT professionals.
IT professionals need to choose the right set of certifications that goes along with their career path. The IT job market is getting highly competitive, and the right certification on the right subject matter will make a difference while the hiring managers will sort out the CV to find the right candidate. Such certifications are so effective to enhance the skill on a particular IT related subject matter that even companies sometimes offer such certification and/or training programs to their employees.
There is one insignificant drawback of such certifications. Most of these certifications are focused highly on the technical subject matter and less concerned about business-related matters. A tiny portion of hiring managers also criticizes these certifications as IT Professionals on Paper even though such certifications are highly appreciated among hiring managers worldwide.
The Salary Structure of IT Professionals
The IT industry is considered the best place to earn more than the other industries in recent days. Sometimes we experienced downward pressure and an increasing rate of unemployment. Even though, IT industry is still on top of other industries regarding the salary structure. The salary structure of IT professionals varies depending on the job role, size and geographical location of the company, etc. Followings are an average salary structure of the IT Professionals working at different job roles:
- Software/Application developer : £44,005 to £76,623
- System Analyst : £51,146 to £71,219
- Lead Application Developer : £62,920 to £86,466
- Project Manager : £57,902 to £86,080
- Business System Analyst : £48,830 to £71,991
- Applications Architects : £69,096 to £92,836
- CIOs : £100,556 to £162,510
Transferable Skills in the IT industry
Many IT professionals are looking forward to transferring their skills after losing their job for some reason. The good news is; IT professionals have multiple options to keep working on their earned and preferred skills as freelance IT professionals. Both the individuals and the companies are now posting jobs at different online freelance job portals from where IT professionals can find and start working on their own. Furthermore, IT professionals can always increase their chance of getting hired by another company, as well. The door to add more skill through training and certifications is always open for the IT professional.