What It Takes To Work In Tech
October 16, 2007
The days of tech professionals hidden away in server rooms, or down in the basement tinkering with networks and manning help desks are long over. Today’s tech experts are part of the business cycle and work environment, with CIOs being invited into the boardroom and viewed as a strategic business leader rather than just the guy who knows how to get email back on line or designing networks.
Given that change of view, there is more scrutiny and assessment than ever over what IT brings to the business table and what it can contribute to the bottom line. Though most technology budgets are expanding slowly, the issue of business justification regarding IT expense is constantly under a microscope. For those in IT, and those hoping to work in the industry, that means not only having the right technical skills for the position but the business background and understanding of corporate strategy.
Expanding Your View
As one expert notes, techies can sometimes have a narrow worldview, and career success is tied to acknowledging the value and skills outside of your [IT] organization. Today tech professionals must also recognize the roles of marketers, sales professionals and others; otherwise, you’ll find it a tough struggle to move beyond the label of being just the ‘tech person’ on staff. As one staffing expert explains, “the higher up in an organization you are, the broader your vision has to be.”
Essentially that means as you gain tech experience and build your technical knowledge and skills you must also build and enhance your business skills. Whether it’s formal courses, or continual self-education through reading business journals and articles related to your company’s industry, business skills must be cultivated and honed.
As one expert advises a good first step is simple networking and interacting with others in your company. The networking can prove extremely beneficial to getting a good understanding of how the business operates and opens your opportunities to make IT, and your role, strategic assets to the business.
Communication Is Key
Not only will networking strengthen your relationship with your peers, it can help build respect and confidence when it comes to the IT department.
As tech professionals are now part of brainstorming and project management teams, you should be the one to volunteer for that next cross-functional team effort.
The business skills expected in today’s tech staff also include developing strong communication skills as IT professionals now interact with every aspect of the business environment.
As your part of the team in deploying new strategies, and viewed as a contributor to corporate expansion, you are expected to bring in the right tools and technologies to foster business growth. So developing good communication skills is a key element to success in your tech role.