Today’s talent market is experiencing significant growth difficulties. We are seeing a structural realignment of what it means to work and what careers can look like, with employers and candidates each offering their own perspective on the subject.
While the specifics vary by industry, experience, and education level, the greatest opportunity for talent re-examination exists in areas that have suffered from long-held mistaken beliefs.
Computer science is a prime example. Reinforced by decades of standard operating procedures and rigid, generalized processes, building a career in IT has often seemed to mean resigning yourself to one of many predetermined paths. However, today’s unique market conditions are disrupting traditional assumptions in the workplace, and now is the time for IT pros to let go of their hindering beliefs and embrace new possibilities.
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Here are three outdated beliefs about IT careers that we should look beyond in order to help IT talent move forward:
Misconception 1: career advancement is a compromise between IT and business
There is a common belief that career growth in IT means trading technical responsibilities for business responsibilities – which is a hard pill for many to swallow. For example, a software developer who revels in practical deployment and innovation may fear that they end up managing more budget allocations than lines of code.
There is some truth to this trend: IT organizations tend to hire internally; for example, raising ad hoc engineers to management authority positions. And traditional structures certainly favor the business skills of senior executives. However, IT pros today have a say in what their experience may look like – and large organizations recognize that the old career paths no longer apply.
[What tech skills are most valuable now for IT job hunters? Read also: Open source IT jobs in 2021: 15 statistics.]
Increasingly, successful engineering cultures have given way to deep technical leadership that includes passionate technologists who work side-by-side with engineering teams. In fact, companies recognize that a technology-driven style of leadership is an engine of growth for the entire organization, and that senior IT engineers provide unique perspectives both in the field and in the room. meeting. This double vision, which includes both business and technology, is what makes IT such a powerful voice in the C-level conversation.
Companies that enable IT talent to advance their careers while designing and deploying cutting-edge technology drive retention and demonstrate the combined power of business and technical leadership.
Understanding the importance of empowering diverse teams to succeed collectively rather than individually is more critical than ever before for IT leaders.
Misconception 2: IT managers should be the most competent in the room
Organizations today are under pressure to innovate at high speed, leaving little room for engineering cultures built around a particular person or skill set. To operate quickly and differentiate from the competition, equipping IT talent with common and documented best practices is critical so that proven solutions can be replicated and scaled across the enterprise.
This approach challenges old notions of leadership, where knowledge is sacred and top-down, and instead promotes technical excellence, where skills are never limited to one person or a team. But it’s more important than ever for IT leaders to understand the importance of empowering diverse teams to succeed collectively rather than individually. This mindset creates a path of technical leadership for people who understand that if something can’t be replicated, then it’s not a success – it’s a flame.
Misconception 3: Success in technical fields is all about numbers and codes
By nature, many software developers and engineers wake up thinking about new technologies they can learn that day and are passionate about getting their hands on emerging capabilities. And they should be. But successful leaders show that long-term IT careers can combine technical expertise with organizational or customer mission immersion.
For example, when my colleagues partnered with the federal government to create the new Recreation.gov platform, it wasn’t enough to focus on the technical components of the modern e-commerce platform. To gather information and take a human-centered approach to the project, they had to go to parks and experience the motorhome so they could understand the day-to-day demands of a park warden. And when the pandemic struck, the team had to innovate in ways for people to experience national parks in a socially distanced way, such as designing new technical features that allow timed entries.
A mindset focused solely on technology can ignore the needs of the business. A new patch or new feature can be technically interesting, but it does not resolve fundamental issues. IT managers need to keep a dual focus and always remember that their success requires focusing on the big picture.
Advance your IT career
There has never been a better time to reinvent an IT career and to take ownership of your experience in powerful ways. As the IT ecosystem adjusts and adapts to new ways of thinking, getting rid of the most common misconceptions is the first step to growth and advancement. By moving beyond old notions of leadership, organizations can open up a new path for IT professionals to take ownership of their careers.
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