What to do when you’re IT career has come to a standstill
Everyone on my email list is asked a question, What’s the greatest frustration in your IT career right now? (Thanks Pat Flynn for that inspiration).
The answers are quite varied but one frustration that has repeated a lot lately is about how their IT career has stagnated. Typically, it is a frustration that is couched in terms of why my current employer cannot or will never be able to offer me a better role than what I am in now. Things like,
“The IT team is only 6 people, there’s no room to grow. “
“My employer never offers me any training”
“The IT department is cutting back not growing”
“The scope of my role is very limited so I can’t learn new skills which stops me from progressing”
I get it. It’s hard. Sometimes it’s a small IT department and nobody leaves. Sometimes it’s a big IT department but they don’t promote internally or invest in training their staff to make the next move into a higher-level position.
Whatever it is though, it’s time to change your thinking. All of the above may be true but they’re factors that are outside your control. Turn the problem on it’s head and think about the factors that you control that can help move your career forward.
And here’s where I’d start. What’s a problem that the business is facing that you could help solve? It may not even be an IT problem but it might have an IT solution (at least partly!). How good would you look in the eyes of your boss and the company if you had a hand in solving a long standing or important problem the company is facing. That creates value and perhaps even creates a higher value role for you in the business.
Here’s another great question to ask yourself. What can I do right now to make my boss look good?
These are questions that help you understand your value to the company and to your direct boss.
There’s plenty of other things you can do to, including skilling up in your own time, using free resources on the internet to learn new skills and invest in yourself and training yourself on vendor certifications.
Remember this key principle though, your ability to be promoted where you are or land a better job elsewhere will come down to knowing the value you bring to the employer. If you don’t know what value you bring, how do you know how to enhance that value?