10 top ways IT pros are boosting their careers

Published
  • January 12 2017, 4:00am EST

Top steps IT professionals are taking to advance their in their jobs.

What do IT pros hope to accomplish in their careers in 2017? To find out, job site Spiceworks polled more than 1,000 of members of the Spiceworks Community for their IT career resolutions.

1. Always keep learning (54 percent of respondents plan to)

“It's often been said that with technology, the only constant is change,” notes Peter Tsai, a B2B technical marketer and IT content writer at Spiceworks in his blog. “Therefore, if you're not consistently learning, you're standing still while the world of tech passes you by. It's no wonder that the majority of IT pros we talked to said learning new things will be a priority in 2017.”

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2. Stay employed (46 percent of respondents plan to)

“They say the best things in life are free, but it's also true that money talks,” Tsai explains. “Staying gainfully employed was probably the second most popular response in our poll, because you need cash to pay for things like food, shelter, video games, and Star Wars tickets.”

3. Earn a tech certification (44 percent of respondents plan to)

“In a Spiceworks career study, 67 percent of IT pros said that tech certifications can help increase job opportunities,” Tsai explains. “Additionally, 55 percent said that having a tech certification can help you negotiate a higher salary. Also, some IT recruiters screen candidates based on certs. Therefore, many IT pros want to earn credentials that give their CVs a better chance of moving to the top of the stack.”

4. Update documentation (29 percent of respondents plan to)

“In Spiceworks, there are a few pieces of advice that get repeated often,” Tsai says. “One of them is to "document everything." Documentation is important because no one can remember everything, writing out the steps to processes reduces the chance for human error, and having written instructions helps ensure tasks can still get done if someone goes on vacation or leaves the company.”

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5. Update work resume/CV (27 percent of respondents plan to)

“Speaking of documentation, having an up-to-date record of your qualifications and accomplishments at work can help you advance your career,” Tsai notes. “Perhaps that's why more than a quarter of IT professionals we talked to plan to update their CVs this year, especially because 68 percent of IT pros said they expect the tech job market to be favorable in 2017, and 45 percent plan to look for or take a new job this year.”

6. Work on a long-term career plan (26 percent of respondents plan to)

“In life, it's important to have goals,” Tsai says. “Many people know what they need to do today or this week, but do you know where you want to be in three to five years? Having a better understanding of your long-term career objectives can help you make better short-term job decisions, determine how to prioritize your limited time, and get where you ultimately want to be in your career.”

7. Automate repetitive IT tasks (25 percent of respondents plan to)

“Automating a manual process might take a little bit of time initially, but once set up, it makes common tasks trivially easy to repeat,” Tsai explains. “In the long run, automation saves tons of time, reduces human error, and takes much of the drudgery out of IT work. If you want to learn more about IT automation, I highly recommend joining the PowerShell forum in Spiceworks, where you can learn with your peers!”

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8. Work on soft skills (23 percent of respondents plan to)

“Many hiring managers say that given similarly qualified job applicants, they'll typically hire someone that gets along with others because you can teach technical skills, but it's much harder to train someone to have a good attitude,” Tsai reveals. “Often, soft skills like communication, empathy, and the ability to work on a team give job candidates a huge leg up over the competition. Perhaps that's why so many IT pros plan to work on their people skills this year.”

9. Get hands-on with new tech (23 percent of respondents plan to)

“It's one thing to read about a new technology, but when it comes to actually being able to implement it, nothing beats hands-on experience,” Tsai confirms. “For example, many IT pros like to set up test labs at work or at home so they can evaluate new technologies or gain exposure to scenarios they might not encounter on the job.”

10. Take a tech-related training class (23 percent of respondents plan to)

“The final IT career resolution on our article ties back to ‘always keep learning,’ which was at the top of the list,” Tsai says. “While it can be easy to learn tech basics from books or online resources, often it helps to have an experienced instructor and hands-on training when things get a little more complex. Many IT pros believe that IT training can help them get a better job, pass certification tests, and gain credibility in their field.”