14 ways to advance your IT career

Technology careers may have no set paths, but there are a few time-honored truisms that can help you get an edge. Here, seasoned IT pros lend their hard-earned advice on advancing.

Perhaps your tech career feels like you’re treading water, and you wonder why your peers are progressing more quickly than you are. Or maybe you’re looking to shake things up and take the next step in your career. Regardless, it’s helpful to regularly pause, reflect, take the long view to optimizing your path, and stay open to new opportunities.

Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned veteran, tech leaders say there are ways to keep moving forward that aren’t always obvious. 

As with the technology industry, change is constant for IT pros. Here accomplished leaders offer their best tips on how to advance in your IT career so you don’t get left behind.

Jump in the deep end
Find a mentor
Treat your career like a project
Keep learning
Execute as well as you plan
Get feedback from colleagues
Take the road less traveled
Be open to opportunity
Make a call, then revisit
Take a step back
Keep it simple
Keep thinking big
Bring value
Employ empathy

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7 traits of inspirational IT leaders

All CIOs are leaders, yet only a select few are truly inspirational leaders. Here’s how you can become one of them.

All successful CIOs know how to instruct, motivate, energize, and even excite their teams. Yet only a relative handful of IT leaders can truly be described as inspirational figures, capable of leading their teams to goals that collegues at other enterprises can only dream about.

CIOs who are purposefully positive and responsible, with a focus on integrity, tend to inspire others, says Ola Chowning, a partner at global technology research and advisory firm ISG. “CIOs who show, through example and vision, those values and their own firm conviction and integrity to those values, will motivate team members to emulate their behavior and aspire to be like them,” she notes. Such CIOs also acknowledge, promote, and celebrate colleagues who either inspire them or can inspire their team.

Fortunately, most inspirational IT leaders are self-made, not born. Following are seven qualities to target as you begin your journey to leadership glory.

1. They roll up their sleeves and collaborate

2. They put people first

3. They cultivate a sense of purpose

4. They master soft skills, incorporating everyone into their vision

5. They are inclusive

6. They encourage ownership

7. They are authentic

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Gartner: IT skills shortage hobbles cloud, edge, automation growth

IT executives have plans to invest in emerging technologies despite the challenge of finding IT pros with the right training.

IT executives have plans to invest in emerging technologies despite the challenge of finding IT pros with the right training.

Gartner says the current paucity of skilled IT workers is foiling the adoption of cloud, edge computing, and automation technologies.

In its “2021-2023 Emerging Technology Roadmap” based on surveying 437 global firms, Gartner found that IT executives see the talent shortage as the most significant barrier to deploying emerging technologies, including compute infrastructure and platform services, network security, digital workplace, IT automation, and storage.

IT executives surveyed cited talent availability as the main challenge for adopting IT automation (75%) and a significant amount of digital workplace technologies (41%). Lack of talent was cited far more often than other barriers, such as implementation cost (29%) or security risk (7%), according to a statement from Yinuo Geng, research vice president at Gartner. 

“The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT-talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation and continuous delivery,” Geng stated.  “As one example, of all the IT automation technologies profiled in the survey, only 20% of them have moved ahead in the adoption cycle since 2020. The issue of talent is to blame here.”

Interest in emerging tech still strong

Even with the skills challenges, IT leaders have increased the adoption of emerging technologies to drive innovation as organizations begin to recover from the pandemic,Gartner says. Across all technology domains, 58% of respondents reported either an increase or a plan to increase emerging technology investment in 2021, compared with 29% in 2020, Gartner stated. 

According to the survey,

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7 attributes every IT leader must have

Leadership has little to do with one’s title or seniority; it’s an attribute that’s earned over time through study, practice and commitment. Are you prepared to become a true leader?

Becoming a true IT leader — someone who inspires teams to consistently reach new heights — requires skills that can only be acquired over time through hard work and a commitment to succeed.

Transformational leaders are typically described as lively, passionate, engaging and energetic. Such individuals aren’t focused only on helping teams achieve their planned goals; they also work hard to help team members reach their full potential.

Becoming a respected and prized leader isn’t easy, but it’s a goal within reach of just about anyone who’s willing to commit to the task. Here are seven fundamental attributes every IT leader needs to possess — and how to acquire them.

  1. Agility
  2. Vision
  3. Empathy
  4. Steadiness
  5. Authenticity
  6. Accessibility
  7. Curiosity

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How to build a resilient IT culture

The pandemic has underscored the importance of thriving through hardship and uncertainty. IT leaders discuss how they’re adjusting their leadership practices to help foster this key IT trait for the long haul.

The word ‘resilient’ is cropping up a lot lately as a cultural cornerstone for coping with the pressures the pandemic has foisted on IT. CIOs have played a significant role in enabling organization-wide remote work strategies at speed while accelerating digital initiatives central to the business in uncertain times.

For many, the ability to shift gears, double down and navigate hardship has been a testament to an IT culture capable of withstanding and recovering quickly from difficult challenges. For others, rising to the occasion has been a crash course in resilience, offering hard-earned lessons in what it will take to thrive in IT in the months and years to come.

“The last few months have been a huge social experiment for every company around the world,’’ says Jacqui Guichelaar, CIO of Cisco, who adds that many leaders discovered their staffs can be just as productive working remotely as in the office. The upshot? Leaders must model certain behaviors in this new way of working, she says. “Traditional tactics don’t work in the new reality.”

Here, IT leaders discuss what makes an IT organization resilient, and how they are adjusting their leadership practices to ensure IT can foster this key trait for the long haul.

Put people first
Keep connected
Find common purpose
Foster career growth
Establish mutual respect
Take care of yourself as well

More Details HERE

7 attributes every IT leader must have

Leadership has little to do with one’s title or seniority; it’s an attribute that’s earned over time through study, practice and commitment. Are you prepared to become a true leader?

Becoming a true IT leader — someone who inspires teams to consistently reach new heights — requires skills that can only be acquired over time through hard work and a commitment to succeed.

Transformational leaders are typically described as lively, passionate, engaging and energetic. Such individuals aren’t focused only on helping teams achieve their planned goals; they also work hard to help team members reach their full potential.

Becoming a respected and prized leader isn’t easy, but it’s a goal within reach of just about anyone who’s willing to commit to the task. Here are seven fundamental attributes every IT leader needs to possess — and how to acquire them.

  1. Agility
  2. Vision
  3. Empathy
  4. Steadiness
  5. Authenticity
  6. Accessibility
  7. Curiosity

Get the details HERE

10 tips for modernizing legacy IT systems

IT modernization is a key component for establishing an agile, responsive enterprise. IT leaders lend advice on how to transform legacy tech into digital assets.

This year’s extraordinary events have accentuated the need for a modern technology environment agile and responsive enough to meet rapidly changing business dynamics — whether those are emerging revenue opportunities or work-from-home mandates.

And that means having a strategic plan for modernizing legacy apps.

“Getting rid of legacy is a perennial issue, but modernization is a top issue now more than ever,” says Diane Carco, president and CEO of management consulting company Swingtide and a former CIO.

CIOs see modernization as critical for delivering better quality software faster, running IT with more controls and insights, integrating more security, and more quickly meeting the needs of the business, according to The State of Modern Applications in the Enterprise, a 2020 report released by cloud solutions provider Ahead.

IT has plenty of work ahead to achieve those objectives, as 26% of organizations are only at the beginning stages of IT modernization, while 19% have made only moderate progress, according to The State of IT Modernization 2020 report from IDG and tech company Insight.

To move your modernization initiative forward, Carco and other leading technologists advise keeping the following 10 tips in mind.

1. Know what you have
2. Prioritize projects based on business value
3. Calculate total cost of ownership
4. Create a business-backed modernization roadmap
5. Take an incremental approach
6. Elimination is a viable option
7. Don’t shortchange governance
8. Be selective with microservices
9. Skip ahead
10. Take a product-based approach

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With IT salaries dropping, some hard-earned skills still pay

Employers are still willing to pay highly skilled IT staff a premium — but certification is making much less of a difference than it used to, a study shows.

Even with more IT workers looking for jobs in the wake of COVID-19 than were prior to the pandemic, highly skilled staff are able to demand higher pay. Increasingly, however, it’s on-the-job experience and not certifications that employers are valuing the most.

The average premium paid for tech certifications fell to 6.8% of base salary in the third quarter, the lowest in 7 years, according to Foote Partners’ latest IT Skills & Certifications Pay Index, while non-certified skills earned workers an average bonus of 9.6% of base salary, the same as in the previous quarter — and the highest in the past 20 years.

Those bonuses are all the more important to employees when, as Foote Partners found in a separate survey of IT jobs, not yet published, salaries dropped over the past year for 41% of job titles. Among those titles hardest hit are jobs in mobile platform computing, business systems analysis, .NET, digital product development, IT architecture, enterprise messaging, web systems, and SAP. Overall, across the 516 certifications the company tracks, the average premium for certifications declined by 1.5% during the quarter, and by 6.7% over the year to Oct. 1.

In some categories, notably cybersecurity, architecture and project management, the decline accelerated in the third quarter, although there was a slight increase in bonus pay offered for some certifications in networking, communications, app development and programming languages during the same period.

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6 hidden risks of IT automation

6 hidden risks of IT automation

Automation is increasingly seen as a key IT strategy for competitive advantage, but pitfalls await those who fail to heed precautions.

Across nearly every industry automation is fast becoming king. Whether it’s through IT automation, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) or some other means of eliminating or reducing manual processes, enterprises across the spectrum seek to speed up all manner of functions to remain competitive — and IT is right in the middle of this movement.

The potential benefits of automating processes can be compelling: faster completion of tasks with fewer errors and at lower costs, for example. It’s not surprising then, that demand for automation tools is on the rise.

A September 2020 report by research firm Gartner projects that global RPA software revenue will reach $1.89 billion in 2021, an increase of 20 percent from 2020. Despite economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the RPA market is still expected to grow at double-digit rates through 2024, the firm says.

Among the key drivers for RPA deployments is the ability to improve process quality, speed, and productivity, each of which is increasingly important as enterprises aim to meet the demands of cost reduction during the crisis, Gartner says.

The report predicts that 90 percent of large organizations worldwide will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022, “as they look to digitally empower critical business processes through resilience and scalability, while recalibrating human labor and manual effort.”

Automation can also come with risks, however, if organizations don’t take the needed precautions or if they fall into bad practices. Here are some issues and strategic misfires to look out for when deploying automation in the enterprise, so you can avoid unnecessary risk.

·        Automating processes before optimizing them
·        Allowing ‘automation complacency’ to take hold
·        Poor communication among stakeholders
·        Process automation misfit
·        Overlooking end user input
·        No consideration of interaction design

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The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2020

Between the pandemic and the subsequent economic upheaval, these are challenging times for everyone. But the networking industry has some elements in its favor. Technologies such as Wi-Fi, VPNs, SD-WAN, videoconferencing and collaboration are playing an essential role in maintaining business operations and will play an even greater role in the reopening and recovery phase.

At the same time, it has become obvious that as enterprises continue to migrate applications to the cloud, data-center networking will cease to be a high-growth industry. So what are the most powerful networking companies doing? They’re diversifying, expanding into new product areas, and moving up the stack beyond nuts-and-bolts connectivity and into areas such as hybrid-cloud management and the automation of networking processes.

This year’s list of the 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking includes traditional networking powerhouses, with an emphasis on the extent to which they’ve embraced these new approaches, along with pure-play market leaders in areas such as wireless networking and hyperconverged infrastructure. (Editor’s note: Power is a subjective quality, and this list is not a ranking based on simple, quantifiable metrics. Our list is ordered, with input from industry watchers, to reflect the companies that are making the biggest power moves and the broadest impact on the network industry.)

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