Just stop! 7 mistakes that could doom your IT career

You probably don’t see them as you saunter across the office floor, but there are virtual banana peels everywhere. If you walk too fast, if you hold your head too high, if you lose the sight of the ground – chances are you’ll slip. IT careers are undergoing a significant transformation; they’re not easy anymore. The speed of evolution of business technology is simply mind-numbing. Managing an IT career, hence, is a task that demands diligence, investment, and care.

Apart from this, you also need to watch out for some of the lesser-known mistakes that could seriously slow down your IT career growth. This guide is our attempt to help you avoid these mistakes.

Mistake #1 – Running away from negative experiences

negative experiences

“Running away” is a vague expression; think of it as putting in your resignation papers because the current situation is bad, not because you have something much better in hand. The idea of switching jobs quickly is not a taboo in the tech industry.

Often times, your salary will stagnate when you stay within an organization, and you will need a job change to get better pay.

However, the core motivation to do so must not be your inclination to run away from the realities of your current job. Some of these situations are:

  • Lack of appreciation from peers and supervisors.
  • Absence of clarity in terms of career progressions.
  • Lack of sponsored training in new technologies.

Ideally, you should be able to solve these problems by asking the right questions from the right people, because you can expect to face them again in subsequent jobs. In the very least, you must carry lessons out of these experiences by living through them, rather than simply avoiding them.

Mistake #2 — Being offline

Whether you like it or not, you need to be visible on the web, to be relevant for the most exciting tech jobs across industries and geographies. Even though the “quick social media” narrative has its merits, it’s too big a risk for a tech employee to miss out on the connections offered online.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn — all these platforms have become like open cafés for techpreneurs to connect with each other. Nurturing a strong online presence will pay rich dividends in the long term. Here are some actions you could begin with:

  • Create separate professional social media profiles.
  • Link all major social media profiles together, so that posting on one automatically updates on the others, saving you time.
  • Apart from posting your opinions and other info, also keep on sharing and reposting important content pieces relevant to your field.
  • Keep it dynamic; build a method with the goal of keeping all your professional social media profiles active and engaging.

Mistake #3 — Staying too long

If you understood our take on “quitting for the wrong reasons” (mistake #1) correctly, you’d know this was coming.

Often enough, you’ll come across developers, architects, and project managers who’ve stayed in an organization for, let’s say, a decade or more. That’s not a problem. The problem is — most of these have also worked in the same projects, using the same tools, and within the same technology ecosystem all the while.

Dormancy in your career can eat away at the roots of the tree you so desperately want to flourish. The breakneck speed of transformation in the technology space makes it mandatory that people actively start looking for new jobs after four to five years of varied experiences within their current roles.

This proactive approach not only keeps you safe from “rightsizing” or “downsizing” but also opens up hundreds of new gates for you, leading to more fulfilling (and often higher-paying) experiences.

Mistake #4 — Taking a promotion that’s essentially a career change

Career change

What! Could taking a promotion be a mistake?

Not often, but it certainly can be a mistake. Consider the case of a competent developer who is offered an entry-level management role (with an accompanying role-based salary correction), only for him or her to realize that they don’t have the basic framework germane to management, and badly misses those days of deeply engaging developments!

This happens to dozens of people, every hour, across the global tech market. Don’t be that person. The solution, when you’re offered an iffy promotion (that’s essentially a career-path change), is to negotiate for the corresponding salary hike for a more complex role within the same career path.

As for the example, our advice to all tech employees — try out a management experience at least once in your career, because it will broaden the horizons of your understanding of how tech companies work. This, of course, must be a conscious decision.

Mistake #5 – Pursuing ‘greatness’ when ‘good’ is good enough

For obvious reasons, sticking to a particular module within an applications ecosystem, or fixating on a particular development language could be lethal for anybody’s tech career. The implications run deeper.

Each technology you get committed to also comes with its latent cultural aspects — for instance, an object-oriented approach of Java in comparison to the loose coding principles of JavaScript.

Switching the cultural context also becomes a challenge for someone who’s too invested in a single tech paradigm. It’s much better to build a certain level of proficiency in a stack, and then start to learn another stack, rather than pursuing greatness within a single stack.

Mistake #6 — Ignoring soft skills

Ignoring soft skills

Superstar developers often wonder why their less competent colleagues speed through the early stages of career progression. The answer, invariably, is centered on the possession of soft skills, over, and above tech skills.

Tactful and proficient conversation is a great catalyst that will speed track the fruition of your efforts in the form of career growth. Internet, colleagues, e-courses, company sponsored classroom coaching — there are so many vistas for anybody to learn and improve soft skills, that’s it’s no excuse for anybody to lag behind!

Keep your IT career free from these mistakes

It’s sad how hard-working tech professionals tend to fall behind in their career plans because they keep on committing these mistakes. Now that you know better, stop!

Featured image: Shutterstock

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