Some quick tips for getting ahead

Do you want to get ahead in this field?  In my experience in the industry, there are a lot of great ways to improve yourself and to put yourself in position to get ahead.  One of the best ways is to show that you are interested in your craft.  There are numerous ways to demonstrate this desire, and dedication; a simple yet great way to do so is by attending industry related conferences and networking events.  Pay for these events as well as certification courses out of pocket if your employer is unwilling to do so.  Paying for your own career betterment out of your own pocket shows your level of commitment to those around you that you may meet at these events as well as those that you work with.  I guarantee you people will notice this.  I would also like to mention that if you are interested in training, certification, or anything the will help you do your job better and employers aren’t willing to help pay for any of these opportunities then often times it is a sign that you have outgrown your current position or will be in the not so distant future.

Another great area to focus on is to never stop learning.  This applies not only to IT but to everything that you do in your life.  Taking the time to learn something new is a great way to help boost your career.  Interested in business?  Take a business class or at least start researching different aspects of business and find what interests you.  Then leverage that newly found knowledge in every day aspects of your life.  I am a firm believer in education overlapping and translating skills from one area to contribute to others.  If you learn a seemingly unrelated skill you never know when and where it will be applicable and it will all contribute to furthering your education and improving your knowledge.  It can be devotion to skills like Documentation, attention to detail, writing, programming, whatever it may be will help to improve and strengthen your IT skills, I promise.  Many of these skills are things that I work on improving outside of my life in IT but certainly they contribute to the success I have experienced in my career.

The final tip I’d like to mention is doing things that others either aren’t willing to do or are not aware of doing.  This is a more subtle point but I believe it is something that will separate people that want to be good at something from those that are content with where they are at in life.  For example, many individuals in IT don’t like to leave their comfort zone for many things.  Learn how to talk to people and network with others in the industry who have already discovered how to get ahead.  They will give you so many great pieces of information and can potentially help you get into new positions as well.  We all know that social skills are not a strong suit for many that are in the IT profession so learning how to talk to people is incredibly valuable.  Yes it will feel awkward and unnatural at first but the more you do it and the more you practice it (just like anything else) the better you will get at it.  And since it is so uncomfortable for many individuals they simply won’t attempt it because it is out of their comfort zone.  There are many other examples of simple ways to get ahead but just by knowing how to leverage and utilize things like networking and being social will help your career more than you might realize.

I am taking a different approach from the usual subject matter, I have just found it difficult recently to find anything technically interesting enough to write about.  I would love to cover more of these areas if there is any interest in the future, I think its an oft missed subject in the IT profession and I happen to like writing about it so hopefully I can get some positive feedback.  As always, if you have anything that you find interesting or think would be a positive contribution let me know, I’m always looking for guest posters and guest content and I welcome the fresh perspective and ideas.

Josh Reichardt

Josh is the creator of this blog, a system administrator and a contributor to other technology communities such as /r/sysadmin and Ops School. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.