10 Ways to Stall Out Your IT Career

Headline kinda grabs you, doesn’t it? It only goes to show, yet again, the sage advice to IT professionals is not to languish or rest on laurels, but take more control of your career and professional growth.

IT is in a transformational state. What is delivered to many organizations in a technology stack today will be commoditized and delivered in new ways in the future. In ten years, we’ll be reminiscing of the good ole days when we provided email, calendars, LMS’s and ERPs. Remember when we had those big data centres?

Change is not usually seismic but rather a steady evolution. What the future portends for campus IT organizations is not in the care and maintenance of the technology stack. That is, and will continue to be, cost prohibitive, particularly when combined with challenging financial environments.Rather, our future is working with our users and learning, supporting their campus needs. Our future is with collaborative partnerships, with other universities and with private organizations. Will you be ready?

Here is a summary of the ten ways to stall your IT career. It builds upon my last post on Having a personal career vision.

1. Not staying up-to-date with technical skills

2: Not learning soft skills

3: Confusing “today” with “tomorrow”

4: Refusing internal career shifts

5: Falling in love with the wrong tech

6: Not specializing (or not being an awesome generalist)

7: Being unwilling to manage

8: Doing it for a paycheck

9: Isolating yourself from the rest of the company

10: Not knowing the job market


See the entire article at 10 Ways to Stall Out Your IT Career

Having a personal career vision

IT professionals used to have it better. We could perform our technical wizardry and people would be in awe–and dependent–on us. But the IT business is changing. Now we need to be more adept at understanding the various organizations and business functions that we support and meet them with IT solutions for the future.

The problem with this is that we need to leave venerable and proven technologies behind. To make room for the new we need to let go of the old. And sometimes, IT pros ask the question ‘Why, if the technology works, why give it up?’ That’s a fair question. However, often times what they mean is if the technology and organization evolves away from this particular technology, will I lose my job? The answer, I suppose, is it depends. Do you have a vision for your next career step? Are you waiting for the organization to take care of you or have you taken your career by the horns and re-casting your skills and technologies to keep pace? Are you defending the use of technologies that users are leaving behind?

There is comfort and hazard in clinging to older technologies…comfort because it is known, mastered and predictable. But hazardous as it can be retired, leaving those supporting it stranded, particularly if they haven’t upgraded their skills and professional goals.

Organizations will assume a portion of the training. Clearly it is in everyone’s best interest to see professional development opportunities provided through work. But training budgets are limited. If you’re in IT, job security is gained not through entitlement but relevance. And relevance is gained through aligning the services you provide to what is needed by your organization and customers. It means following our industry, transforming how technology is delivered to our users and a willingness to break free from your comfort zone.


Focus and Gadgets

I have an addiction… to information, to connectivity, to iStuff and Androids and all those cheap apps. I was inebriated by the functions of a new smartphone, but once tablets were delivered, the game changed. Anywhere, any time. It’s instant gratification, like having an extension to your mind and memory.

We’re all addicted! Look at the signs. The devices are with us all day. We sleep with them near by. We cringe when we can’t get a signal and we panic if we lose them. We must look like a bunch of humanoid morons toting adult Tamagachis. The devices are centerpieces on our lives. Walk down any street, across any campus… the evidence is all right there.

With spare moments, we look to them. What recent email, texts, tweets and messages have we missed since last we checked? Who’s doing what on Facebook. Go ahead, just try and ignore that last vibration.

My new year resolution is to 1) be more aware of how I use the devices and 2) turn them off more often. I will strive to look up when walking down the sidewalk. And when people need me, my presence and attention, I will be there for them. f2f.

As with any addiction, the road to recovery starts with recognition of the problem.


er, excuse me.



(inspired by the article in the Globe & Mail: Resolving to End the Blackberry addiction)