The phrase “new normal” is everywhere these days — both in our daily life and at work. This shift in the way the world operates will change the types of jobs needed and the ways businesses operate. When the economy starts to open up and businesses adapt to the new normal, the kind of jobs available and skills needed will also shift. The focus will be on digital initiatives in the post-COVID world and hence the demand for IT skills to deliver these new digital channels and initiatives will be high. It’s critical that you stay agile and are able to learn and execute on these digital projects as you prepare for the future, here are six ways to future-proof your IT career in the new world:
1. Be visible
2020 has forced nearly every enterprise to enable remote-working policies. This begs the question: how do you give others visibility into your value while working from home? In the past, working from home created visibility challenges, creating a potential barrier for some when it came to career progression. While these challenges have since leveled out with the pandemic, there are a number of ways to enable visibility even if you’re not sitting next to your boss every day.
Be proactive and volunteer for initiatives or new projects — rather than waiting for work to be assigned to you. Taking on responsibility shows leadership and willingness to progress in your career at the right levels. Enable your camera during calls, engage in video conferences, and follow through on initiatives.
2. Share your knowledge
There may be areas of your work where you consider yourself a subject matter expert. Use this expertise to enable others. Sharing knowledge widely with peers and external audiences is a great way to get recognized as a team player, subject matter expert, and thought leader. Enabling other members of your team not only benefits the organization but also shows your leadership skills. When you share your knowledge you are creating a growth culture within your team — this type of culture enables great ideas!
Writing blogs, speaking at events and webinars, and being active on social channels, also has the potential to market yourself to a future employer.
3. Keep a growth mindset
Not only is it important to share the knowledge you already have, but it’s also critical that you never stop learning. Have a growth-oriented mindset — this means consistently looking for ways to learn and expand your knowledge.
The average shelf-life of an IT skill today is three to six years. After that, it becomes time to update your skill set. Personally, I know it’s time to learn a new skill when I realize that I am an expert in my area and I am not learning new things in my day-to-day work. So if you are the one with all the answers on your team, consider challenging yourself with a new course or training.
Check out the online training and certifications that MuleSoft offers.
Another way of practicing the growth mindset is to learn the crafts of your peer disciplines. Whether it is UX, project management, product management, or quality assurance — pick something you are interested in and find ways to learn from and be of service to your counterparts. Ask for books to read and opportunities to participate in their processes. Be clear that your interest is not to do or interfere in their jobs, but only to get a foundational understanding of their methods, activities, and deliverables so that you can do your job better.
4. Be aware, be alert
Keep yourself updated on industry trends. In today’s world of hyperactivity on social media and technology conferences, we have easy access to the strategy and vision that industry leaders, and can get visibility into the next big trend. Following the trends and being aware of skills that would be required to deliver these upcoming trends in the industry helps shape that personal development plan. If you do not have a personal development plan, I highly recommend creating one and commit to keeping it updated as your aspirations become clearer.
5. Embrace change
Change is the only constant and being prepared for it could be a big differentiating factor between a successful career and stagnation. Being able to pivot and stepping into an uncomfortable situation is a key driver in learning new skills, being visible, and becoming a go-to person for new projects and initiatives. Be part of a pilot program, present out of box ideas, or be an early adopter of a new initiative and lead the way for others — these will go a long way as you adopt an attitude to change.
6. Be a people-person
There is a common misconception that the arts are not useful for getting a job. However, literature and philosophy are the basis for understanding society and the people within it. If you want to be a leader of people (or at least a good one), you need to start reading — beyond topics around science and technology.
Communication skills which include listening skills is also a key aspect of building relationships. Taking communication and presentation skills courses can help refine these skills further. In general, a baseline recipe is to lead with empathy, pragmatism, and emotional intelligence when dealing with workplace interactions. This helps you to be open to the great ideas around me and build trust in relationships.
This is not the last time the world of technology will change. On average, the way technology is evolving an average career could go through more than seven significant shifts and disruptions in a working lifetime. The only way to keep yourself relevant is to be prepared for change and adapt by constantly learning and evolving yourself. Check out free resources on Salesforce’s Trailhead and MuleSoft Training to learn these critical skills.