ICT geeks have attained messiah status in organizations and, resultantly, have grown to be key strategic players in organizations. Before you know it, you are the heart and pulse, the life and soul of the party.
This relationship works best when starting out and baselines are still extremely healthy, but with the organization growing and landscapes changing, one certain thing to happen is that you can easily fall from grace to grass.
In this article the writer discusses some common pitfalls ICT professionals encounter in their careers and how these change lives from achievements, success and quick wins to ones of perpetual frustrations and downright boredoms.
1. Being everything to everyone
No one knows everything no matter who you are, be able to decline tasks and admit it is not your area of strength if you feel you need to research more. What you do know do it as Lionel Messi easily gets through defenders and scores goals; do it to the best of your ability. Even if it is forced down your throat, let it be known you had indicated you needed more research. Being the superman makes you lose respect and credibility when you fail to deliver.
I have a friend who is a very good electrician who did a brilliant electrical job. It happened there was also a plumbing job which needed to be done and my good friend, engrossed by the possible quick win, decided to take up the job even though he had little plumbing skills. On completion there was water gushing out from everywhere, to cut a long story short, this job was poorly done so much it reversed the excellent electrical work. The point here is; whether you are a CIO or a shop floor techie, you are not a miracle worker so sell yourself best as what you know best, and not what people say or think you are.
2. Be passionate about your profession
We only have one life on this earth and we might as well live it to the best of our abilities. There are so many frustrations, office politics, economic downturns and other drawbacks, but the passion should be enough to see us through. Love what you do.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
Nomatter how terrific you are doing your job, some organisations will need to let you go at some point. But no organisation can take away the great work you have done, and that alone will spur you to greater heights. In some cases what might look like humiliating situations might in actual effect be your step to the next higher level.
3. Sharpen Your Saw, Read
Training and skills development are key indicators of individual ICT success. A highly trained person is optimized, effective and delivers key applications and technologies. If your organization does not have developmental plans in place, do them yourself. Set targets for yourself. Certify. It is an unforgivable offence (and one that will haunt you) for an ICT professional to have the same skill set year in year out. You are only inviting being outdated and with it your irrelevancy.
4. Benchmark your processes
This has become the field buzzword in Information Technology Service Level Management. In simpler terms, believe in and adopt Best Practices in all your operations. Use the right tools for the job and implement the right way. There is no worse thing than joining an organization and before you can get down to the real issues, you spend time figuring out what is what.
Operate transparent processes where you get user feedback and mechanisms to ensure IT Service delivery levels are top notch. Depending on your industry, you need to be compliant to different corporate governance bodies, strive to always attain a good ranking.
There are many areas to discuss but for now I will concentrate on these fundamentals. To be a technical person of note is to actually walk the talk. Nearly everyone has some idea of how to install Windows, nearly everyone can fix a paper jam, the real difference between an original techie and a “pretender” is on how much further you are prepared to push yourself. Take up the challenge, take your career to the next level or you will be swimming in a pool of mediocrity.
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