12 Characteristics of Successful IT Professionals

My daughter just graduated college with a degree in Computer Science and landed a job with an insurance company in their IT department. What makes an IT person successful?

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5. Is a mile deep in primary expertise

If your primary expertise is business analysis, then you should be the best Business Analyst you can possibly be. If you specialize in data communications, you should know everything there is to know about Cisco routers and other data communications hardware and software in your data center. If you are a Project Manager or IT Manager, know how to lead projects and lead people. It doesnt matter what expertise you choose, IT professionals respect competence. Unless there are mitigating circumstances, such as organizational fit, your ability to perform will be noticed.

6. Has a working knowledge of related technical areas

The complexity of todays business processes multiplied by the complexity of todays technology doesnt allow you to be a one trick pony. While, of course, being proficient at your primary technology, you must also be knowledgeable in the technologies that touch it. For example, if you are a Java programmer, you should also have an understanding of database design and database stored procedures. On the less technical side, if you are a Project Manager, you should have a general knowledge of software development, software testing, and the other professional disciplines needed to make your project a success.

7. Shares technical knowledge with others

Part of being a team player is a willingness to share your knowledge with others. Helping others helps your manager grow his/her staff, enhances your professional reputation, builds loyalty toward you in those you help, and positions you for higher levels within the company. Also, teaching others actually enhances your understanding of the topic because it makes you look at things from other peoples perspective.

8. Loves to learn

One thing about technology is that it keeps changing. Hardware and software vendors continually upgrade their products. New IT megatrends miraculously appear, become the primary industry workhorse, and eventually fade away as an out-of-date legacy. You must love to learn because the tools of your profession are continually changing.

9. Is a team player

There is an old African proverb that to go fast, travel alone to travel far, journey with others. A profession spans many years and is a marathon, not a sprint. Being a team player and an ethical employee, in the long term, far outweighs the short term advances gained by unsportsmanlike conduct. It eventually catches up with you. As the expression goes, friends in your life come and go, enemies accumulate.

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