Career Planning 101

career

Career planning can be a daunting task full of unknowns and uncertainties. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. The specialists at IT Accel bring you 6 essential steps for career planning that will ease your worries and help you succeed:

 

  1. Know yourself. One of the most important aspects of career planning is allowing for the inclusion or exclusion of your likes, dislikes, desires, and wishes. Take some time to think about who you truly are and what you really want. If you find yourself aiming for a career path that is not true to who you are, it may be time to change course.

 

  1. Consider your interests. Do you volunteer at the animal shelter on weekends? Maybe you like nothing better than exploring new countries and meeting new people. Be sure to examine the activities you like the most and try to incorporate these into your career plan. When a career path considers activities you enjoy, it is more likely to hold your interest as well.

 

  1. Think about previous achievements. Previous achievements highlight areas of expertise of which you may not be aware. Perhaps you were awarded or recognized for your customer service talents. That may indicate superior people skills. Or, maybe your boss keeps asking you about IT issues. Seems like you are a computer expert after all! Once you consider the talents other people have identified in you, try to incorporate them in your career planning.

 

  1. Goal setting. A vital part of plotting a course of action is goal setting. A goal helps keep you on the right track by creating milestones that you can achieve along your way to ultimate career satisfaction. Remember not to beat yourself up, though, if you don’t meet a goal. Sometimes life gets in the way of even the best of plans. As long as you don’t fall completely of course, you are doing well!

 

  1. Education and training. No matter how much you may want a certain job or career path, it will not be obtainable without the right education or training. You can’t become a physician without going to medical school or a Realtor without taking classes and passing the exam. So, take a minute to sit down and research what education and training requirements are necessary for your career path. You can even break them up into small, achievable goals if it all seems overwhelming at first.

 

  1. Speak up. Your current manager or boss may not know you really want to be project manager instead of project assistant. Maybe you are inadvertently giving the vibe that you are happy to stay exactly where you are. Talk to your boss. Tell her your ambitions. Not only will she be impressed by your directness and willingness to take on more responsibility, but she may even help you get to where you want to be. The worst anyone can say is “no.”

 

If you are currently searching for a job in the IT field or are looking to change career paths, IT Accel can help. Contact us today for more information.

How to Find the Best Career Mentor

Photo credit lumaxart

Photo credit lumaxart

A great way to get ahead and prove yourself as a driven professional is to find a career mentor. Having a guide who knows the industry and has mentoring skills is a great resource for career advancement. If you want to further your career and boost your success, consider the following ways a career mentor can help.

Clarity and Goals

Before you meet with a career mentor, consider you expectations and goals. Think about what exactly you want to learn from your mentor. Set an objective for yourself and be prepared to ask a candidate how he or she can help you meet it. It is completely acceptable to communicate assertively; both you and your potential mentor will appreciate the time and energy that can be saved with open and concise communication. By firmly establishing an objective, you can narrow your search based on the candidates’ relative qualifications.

Outside Resources

Having knowledge about your industry is important, but sometimes valuable mentors are those who have had successful careers in other industries. Diversity is an asset, and mentors from different backgrounds can contribute unique perspectives on options for boosting your career. Along with knowledge and experience, you need a mentor you can respect and trust. You may even find yourself turning to multiple mentors, both inside and outside the industry. For instance, you may find a resource that is particularly helpful with leadership and management issues, and another who is a master in public speaking.

Be Professional

It is important to develop a relationship with your mentor, but the relationship should always stay on a professional level. A mentor’s role is to help you develop the skills necessary to exceed. This means thinking independently – not relying on him or her for every task. If you have a good mentor, you will also understand that he or she is there not for friendship, but for guidance. To ensure firm boundaries, it can be useful to discuss the limits of the mentoring relationship is early as possible. This can eliminate unrealistic expectations and hurt feelings. Again, clear and focused communication is important.

Positive and Productive

A successful mentor will be engaged and have a small amount of emotional investment on your success. If yours is intrusive and controlling, you might not be able to sharpen the skills necessary for your field. Conversely, if you find that your mentor is vague, unhelpful, or unproductive, you may not have the right match, either. Trust your instincts regarding the relationship. If necessary, politely – but firmly – end the relationship. Refrain from being accusatory, hostile, or overly emotional in any way. If this person is well-established in your industry, it is critical to break the relationship off positively and respectfully to avoid damage to your career. Tell your soon-to-be ex-mentor that you appreciate the knowledge and guidance you have received, and acknowledge that there are simply different expectations in the relationship. Hopefully, your colleague will understand.

If you are changing careers and interested in working as an IT professional, contact Technology and Staffing Services today.

The Information Technology Landscape

 

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By definition, technology is constantly changing and evolving. We are always thinking of new ways to improve technology, from better smartphones to more secure networks. At times, it can be difficult to take stock of the current landscape of information technology. As certain trends continue to evolve in information technology, we can see exactly which trends and challenges IT professionals are currently facing. From the importance of big data to the ever-increasing BYOD trend, here are some of the main components of the current information technology landscape.

Big Data & Analytics

One component of the current information technology landscape that everyone is talking about is the role of big data and analytics. Because 80%-90% of data is unstructured, harnessing big data is critical in allowing businesses to make more strategic decisions and plan for the future. Many organizations are now taking advantage of new tools that allow them to streamline the analysis of big data, enabling faster results. IT professionals must be prepared to harness big data and take control of analytical tools to ensure success.

The Cloud

Cloud computing is another piece of the information technology landscape that is drastically changing the way we conduct business. The cloud has arisen as a superior method of data storage that reduces overhead costs and allows for more secure storage. Experts believe that soon, the cloud will come to replace the PC as the core component of one’s digital life. Any burgeoning IT professional must have experience and expertise in cloud computing.

BYOD

BYOD, or bring your own device, is another trend that has emerged and taken over the information technology landscape. While businesses once provided their employees with company computers, laptops, and even smart phones, the trend has now shifted to employees using their own personal devices in the workplace. Although BYOD offers many benefits, such as making employees more productive and allowing them to feel more comfortable with their technology, it also poses a significant risk for security, which IT professionals must consider.

The Internet of Things

Yet another aspect of the information technology landscape critical for IT professionals to understand is the Internet of Things. This concept refers to a future in which all physical objects are connected to the internet, allowing them to interact and transfer data without human interaction. The Internet of Things is also making drastic changes to the landscape of information technology as well as business.

Enterprise Social Collaboration

Another important component of the information technology landscape is the rise in enterprise social collaboration. Large companies are beginning to see the importance of finding effective collaboration tools that are social in nature. IT professionals must be aware of the various tools that are available to enterprises and understand both how they can integrate with existing systems, and what risks they may pose to security.

Are you an IT professional seeking a job or an employer looking to hire a skilled professional prepared to handle the current information technology landscape? Contact IT Accel today to learn more about our job placement and recruitment services.