IT’s most wanted: 16 traits of indispensable IT pros

Looking to hire (or be) the best? Here are the intangibles that make top IT performers stand out.

IT’s most wanted: 16 traits of indispensable IT pros

On a good tech team, cross training and clear documentation keep projects humming along — even when colleagues need to be away — averting disaster. That said, have you ever noticed that when certain people in your office aren’t there, work tends to stall, deadlines slip, and sprints seem less … agile?

These standout IT pros know how to make themselves invaluable. They're the coders, project leads and managers the organization can’t do without. We asked a dozen IT experts what highly effective habits these folks have — and also mined their experience for tips on how to replicate the success of rock-star team members. Where you’re looking to hire top-notch talent or up your game to indispensable status, here’s what top performers do that make them so hard to replace.

They’re curious

Robert Douglas, owner of PlanetMagpie IT Consulting, says he’s hired a number of outstanding employees for his team, and they all have the same trait: technical curiosity that extends outside the office.

“These are the IT pros who build mini data centers in their garage out of e-waste they scavenged over months of work,” Douglas says. “Why? Because it’s fun. They can think way outside of the box. They can bring a downed network back to life with discarded gear and a few cables they had lying around — and keep it running until fresh components arrive.”

They adapt

Taking fresh looks at old problems is an essential part of the digital transformations that are changing many organization’s cultures, leading to approaches like DevOps and agile and incorporating emerging technical solutions such as AI and IoT, says Christoph Goldenstern, global vice president of innovation and service excellence at Kepner-Tregoe. Likewise, team members who are willing to adopt new ways of working are highly sought after.

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