What I Wish I Knew Earlier in My IT Career: Part 4
August 10, 2021
By Rachel Tsui
Do-overs and resets are difficult later on in careers. I’m not able to start all over again, but, in hindsight, these are things that I wish I had known much earlier in my careers.
My most important advice: Be open-minded and take calculated risks. Do this early and often. IT is such a broad, dynamic field. It’s worthwhile to spend time exploring several IT disciplines before committing to a specific career path in the industry. Whether it be programming, networking, or IT operations, it will only benefit your long-term career path to spend portions of your journey to find out what you like, don’t like, and love. While it can seem counter-intuitive, don’t undervalue the variety of experiences you can obtain early on in your career. Make the process enjoyable. Like most any career journey, there can and likely will be setbacks along the way, making it hard to keep motivated if you are not doing a job that you like. Do not hesitate spending time finding the right IT career path that you truly will dedicate yourself to, ensuring you end up doing what you love so that you’ll always love what you do.
Take initiative to learn and act now. IT is an ever-changing landscape of opportunities, with new innovations and tools coming up every day. Textbook learning may not translate as you think to real life business activities anymore. The IT universe is flooded with new knowledge; with that in mind, take initiative to learn constantly, immerse yourself in up-to-date information, even get certified in frontier IT activities to show your dedication and courage to seize opportunities as they unfold. Taking action and adopting early now is more fruitful than doing so later.
Have a career mentor: Find a mentor or coach who has travelled the path before you. It is good to have someone wise to provide guidance and be a sounding board and resource when you need. It will benefit your career as you discover your strengths and experience challenges. Ultimately, you’ll be surprised how much you gain from it.
With the benefit of hindsight, these three things would have provided the most benefit early on in my career. I appreciate every journey is unique – and while “all roads (can) lead to Rome,” there is no universal measurement for a successful career path. However, I do feel success is likely found at the end of trying a variety of things and to discover what you do meaningful.