If you’re an aspiring IT professional on the hunt for that ideal job, promotion, or looking to gain real-world skills, you must invest in yourself to become an expert. The IT industry is an exciting industry with constantly evolving opportunities. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology employment is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030 and are expected to add about 667,600 new jobs. To expose yourself to them and make your career goals a reality, professional development is crucial.
In this article, you’ll learn what IT professional development is, the developmental options for aspiring IT professionals, necessary skills to develop, and available workshops that can help you grow your career.
What is Information Technology Professional Development?
The University of California, San Francisco defines professional development as the process of identifying goals and learning new skills that aid in growth and success at work. Ideally, this would mean improving your tech skills and acquiring essential knowledge that’ll help you succeed in a particular tech role. It also increases the likelihood of getting considered for promotions or streamlining the process in changing your career.
A successful IT career requires ongoing professional development for vital reasons 1) tech is constantly evolving, you’ll get left behind in your career if you don’t proactively learn more than what you’re comfortable with and 2) people that constantly learn and display their learning are able to show managers or leadership in their organization that they can provide surprising value in their role. Promotion, anyone?
A staggering 76% of millennials believe that opportunities provided by professional development are one of the most important aspects of company culture. They make you feel confident in your abilities and the value you provide to the workplace. That said, professional development should be a consistent practice that you apply to yourself throughout your career.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some essential IT skills for professional development for aspiring IT?
Careers in IT are fun, rewarding, and lucrative if you have the essential skills to help you grow and develop.
Some common IT skills include:
Communication: As an aspiring IT person, there will be times when you’ll have to provide tech solutions to non-techies, head a project group, show leadership, or pitch ideas to people. So, communication skills such as teamwork, leadership, and collaboration are vital.
Time and Project Management: To be an effective IT professional, you have to be self-directed and self-motivated to manage projects well. You also have to be goal-oriented and have the skills to manage remote work and meet deadlines.
What are some examples of personal development workshops?
Special Education Institutions
These institutions offer programs, conferences, and courses that help you learn more about specific topics relating to IT. Fortunately, most special institutions issue certification or degree after completing a course to prove that you have knowledge of the field and can perform the process. CompTIA and Coursera are some of the websites that you can consider looking into.
Sign up as a member in both local and national associations. Being a member of a professional association or club helps you network with like-minded individuals and build your professional circle. Growing your professional network increases your opportunities to advance within your career. The Los Angeles .NET Developers Group for example, is an excellent forum for people in the Los Angeles area and the west coast.
Attend IT webinars that talk about the latest trends or issues in the IT industry. This way, you grow your knowledge and stay current and relevant. For example, if you’re looking to become a badass web developer, look for webinars or spaces that tackle those. Webinars are also internet-based, so you can attend remotely. You can head over to LinkedIn and check out virtual conferences posted by tech leaders or you can go to websites like IBM to access various videos on the topic.
What to expect in a tech career?
IT is an industry that continues to grow, so, there are always new opportunities and jobs in the field. With this vast array of potential in the tech field, you can accept a career that’s value-oriented and growth-oriented. In this field, you’ll also allow the freedom to gain more experience, innovate and develop yourself professionally and personally. Above all, expect a career that pays well.
Professional Development Plan for Aspiring IT
A professional development plan is a list of actionable steps for achieving your IT career goals. It helps you gain specific insight into how you can reach your career aspirations, such as earning a new certification or getting a new job. Drafting a development plan is especially helpful during an IT job search. It allows you to understand how you want to navigate the search and interview process.
Now, there are four basic steps to create an IT professional development plan:
This is an evaluation of your professional interests, knowledge, and skills. It helps to examine your current position in line with your IT career goals and identify your transferable and technical skills. You can do this by reading job descriptions of roles and positions that you’re interested in to identify what current skills you need to develop. When you determine the skills and interests you currently own and are proficient in, you can identify aspects of your career that you need to work on to achieve your goals.
Professional developmental goals are action-based professional results that stretches us to achieve our career vision. They are often related to learning new skills, obtaining new degrees or certifications, getting more experience in IT, moving up in your workplace to advance your tech career. It also helps you stay focused on improving your tech career and increasing your competencies and capabilities in the workplace.
The goals you set in your professional development plan should be actionable and must be structured so you can achieve them with small and simple steps. They must also be dependent on your unique aspirations in the IT field. Some basic examples of development goals for IT Professionals that you can set include:
- Improve your time management skills and productivity in the workplace.
- Get a new certification or degree in tech.
- Build your professional network by attending more tech networking events and taking on new IT projects
- Read a certain number of Tech books in a month to grow your knowledge.
- Complete a leadership training course.
- Attend tech workshop
- Choose one tech skill to improve and focus on that for a month.
Your IT professional development plan strategies or options should define how you’ll achieve your goals. Usually, professional development strategies include approaches like practical learning, learning from others, education, and reflection.
For an aspiring IT professional, the majority of your strategies should be practical. It should give you valuable hands-on experience when developing new skills. For example, if your skill goal is intended for a career change, research the relevant education or certification you need and how long you’ll need to complete it. If you need to get better with a particular skill– say web design, you could enter into hackathons or take on projects that can improve your skills.
Resources are also professional development workshops. They’re places where you can find professional growth by providing networking and opportunities that serve as a medium to enhance your career path.
In essence, your professional development must be skill, knowledge and learning oriented. It should also be directly aligned with your individual and career goals and should provide career growth opportunities. Did I miss something?
Understanding where to begin in professionally developing yourself can be tricky. If you want to simplify the process and have years worth of experience to help you out in creating a professional development plan, head over to our candidate service page in Eleven Recruiting’s website.