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Three tips for IT professionals on setting career goals

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The only constant in the tech industry is that it’s always changing, which makes goal-setting essential to long-term success, advises recruiting experts Hays Information Technology.

"Regardless of whether you’ve just started out in your tech career or you’ve been working as an IT professional for many years, it’s never too early or late to set goals for your career progression," says Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays Information Technology.

"Crucially, IT professionals must regularly review and update their goals as their priorities, employers, technology or role changes. Keep on top of the latest developments and consider how they could impact your career. This will ensure you’ll not only keep up with the latest technologies, but your career will take full advantage of any new advancements or opportunities that might come your way."

With IT jobs available within almost every industry and sector, the sky’s the limit when it comes to opportunities for career progression, growth and development.

Hays shares the following tips to help you set your IT career goals:

1.Reflect on your career so far: Consider your skills, interests, strengths and weaknesses as well as what motivates and excite you in the workplace. Taking a moment to reflect on your career will help you understand what you want from the next stage and - crucially, what you’ll need to achieve in order to make your next career step up a reality.

2.Use the S.M.A.R.T. method:

a.Specific: For a goal to be effective it needs to be specific and clear so that you can choose the right stepping stones to achieve it.

b.Measurable: With each goal you set, it’s important that you’re able to measure the progress made. Without measurable criteria, it may be hard to know when you’ve achieved your goal.

c.Achievable: It’s great to have ambitious goals, but if realistically they are unattainable, then what’s the point? When setting your goal, ask yourself if it is achievable given the time and resource you have available. It’s also important to consider any factors that have potential to impede your goal.

d.Relevant: Does achieving this goal take you closer to the next step in your career? Don’t lose sight of the overall purpose or objective, ensure there is a real benefit attached to reaching that goal.

e.Time-bound: Every goal needs a timeline. Additionally, knowing there is a deadline can be an effective motivator.

Example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal for IT professionals:

I will earn a promotion to Senior Software Developer in my current company within 12 months by setting objectives with my Manager, documenting my progress, and regularly checking in to ensure I am meeting expectations.

3.Accept that your goals will be fluid: Sometimes goals don’t always go to plan and they end up taking longer than you planned. It’s also perfectly normal to not reach a goal from time to time. Your personal life, new technologies and the industry are unpredictable so even the best laid out career plans are at risk of being disrupted. Therefore, it’s important to recognise and accept that your goals will shift and change throughout your career.

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