A lot of friends and family and people who know me at work ask me this question again and again "What really counts in an IT job, especially if you're starting you're career?". I usually respond based on whom I'm talking to, the personal context & background and the amount of time I have at hand..But then as I responded to this question for the Nth time recently, I thought why not post a response in on my blog..
So here, I am summarizing the response to this question - based on my own personal experiences in the IT industry spanning more than a decade.
(1) Your knowledge on the areas / topics of study / specialization
So if you are an Engineer by education you should "know" what you learned by virtue of your degree. After all, if the threshold qualification for the job is of an Engineer, then you should at least demonstrate that you have the basic Engineering knowledge and background to qualify for the job. Similarly, if the job demands that you know the basics of a tool / product, then you should know it!
(2) Your self-confidence
Again, your own self-confidence in your knowledge, capabilities and strengths is what will make you stand out in a group of thousand / lakhs of people
(3) Your Willingness to learn
Learning is a continuous journey, and those who show that they are willing to learn - be it new technologies, domains, processes and ways of working are the one's who end up with more opportunities, challenging work assignments and diverse projects as a part of their career portfolio
(4) Your Openness to work
Again, you should be open to take up work assigned to you - at least in the initial few years of your career. Every single assignment adds to your own understanding of the IT business, and as you grow - you will appreciate how understanding different facets is so critical in your career growth
(5) Your Oral Communication skills
Again, many time you get selected / rejected for a job position primarily based on your oral communication skills. So speak up, speak in a clear and concise fashion. And continuously hone your oral communication skills by practice. The more you practice, the better you get
(6) Your Problem solving skills
The world is full of problems, and the IT industry is no exception. So there are all kinds of problems one can encounter - technology, product, process, people, customer experience, design, architecture, user experience, customer expectation management, etc. And one's ability to truly understand and solve a problem usually makes all the difference
(7) Your Written Communication skills
Written communication is an integral part of an IT job. On an daily basis, one will need to communicate with colleagues, teams, third parties, customers, etc. via the written medium (mails, documents, presentations, etc.). And how well you can articulate and write will make all the difference in how easy / difficult it is for others to work with you
(8) Your professionalism
Be professional in your interactions with colleagues and managers. Draw the line between your personal life and professional life - It makes a lot of difference in how other perceive you!
(9) Your ability to collaborate and work in teams
In today's day and age, it is all about collaborative ways of working to achieve business objectives. So how well you can work with a diverse (and in many instances cross-cultural team) will make all the difference in the output you / your team will be able to deliver
(10) Your personal drive and self-motivation
One's own drive and motivation is what will set you apart, and is what can sometimes be the only factor in the kind of work assigned to you. So demonstrate this in word and action.
(11) Your willingness to go the extra-mile, for the objective of the project success
At the end of the day what counts is the success of the project you are working on. And sometimes this requires individuals / teams to go the extra-mile. Make sure to stretch at times when it counts. This will make all the difference
(12) Truly "understanding" the customer requirements and project goals
Make an attempt to truly understand what is the customer pain areas or problems, and how the technology is enabling solve the problem. This understanding will help you work better and more effectively and deliver in line / beyond expectations!
Good Luck and Best Wishes for a long and successful IT career
(13) Logical / Analytical reasoning skills
(14) Technology knowledge / skills / Know-How and updated knowledge
(15) Your visibility with peers and manages, i.e., Are you known for the right things in networks which can influence your career growth?
I am also linking this post to the October’s NaBloPoMo
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