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4 Ways To Avoid Looking Like an IT Noob

Mar 6, 2017

Being the most credentialed or experienced IT professional in the room doesn't mean much if you're lacking these four critical qualities.

Professional awareness and personal development matter. The industry of information technology changes on what seems to be a quantum level. To keep pace with the changes, consider incorporating a few of the suggestions below into your routine. Additional insights are courtesy of Greg Larsen, a WGU alumnus, IT whiz, and military veteran.

Be plain.

How many times have you joined the conversation, only to be looked at as if you’re speaking Latin? That’s because to many outsiders, IT jargon is truly a foreign language. Speaking in simpler terms will win you more advocates and help everyone understand exactly what you’re trying to say, what you’ve done, or what you plan to do.

“It’s important not to forget about the human piece. Others don’t necessarily understand your background, or the complex language of tech. To clearly communicate [your] experience, be clear, compelling, and concise. You should state what you did, with what technology, in what language, and end with what success that provided.” - Greg Larsen

Balance yourself out.

Identify areas of growth and enrichment that will round out your resume. This can relate to both hard IT skills and soft skills that pertain to team interactions, customer service, and business communication skills. These are essential parts of success for absolutely everyone, so don’t push them to the bottom of the development list.

“I would suggest personality coaching to any IT professional who wants to better balance their confidence and humility. Soft skills go a long way in your job.” - Greg Larsen

Don’t stop learning.

Seek ongoing education to improve specific skills for your role. Many professional IT organizations and associations offer relevant courses in-line with certifications or learning paths. Schedule these throughout the year and present them to your team as part of your development plan.

Plan ahead.

Establish realistic growth opportunities that are continuous, not just a one-off training. It is important to participate in various professional education and networking opportunities throughout the lifecycle of your career. Making a habit of seeking out growth will keep you engaged, informed, and up-to-date.

“Even when you’re happy in your work, stay out there…continue learning the new technology. Commit time to open-source projects. That extracurricular helps to round out your resume, and shows an innovative mindset if you do find yourself looking to move. Six months exploring new technology may put you ahead of the competition, even if it was experimental.” - Greg Larsen

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