By: Praveen Kumar
Tips for Reinventing Your IT Career in a New Direction
Let’s start with who needs to read this and why? At some point in time every professional skilled in technology gets left behind and feels the need to stay updated with emerging technologies.
The best part is one can always start afresh in this ever changing industry and ride the new wave no matter even if your existing domain is technical or non technical !
1. Why might an IT professional wish to reinvent their career?
We all know what we study in school / college does not determine our lives, graduation certificates are merely a piece of paper if one does not possess a valuable skill that an employer wants. Specifically when it comes to the IT industry, no matter how many years of experience you have – You always start as a fresher when something new comes up.
More than an upskilling game, it’s a survival strategy to reinvent yourself every 3-5 years in the IT sector.
2. What’s the best way to begin a career reinvention?
Starting small and observing what is happening around would be the first step. Reading tech blog gives you a better understanding of new innovations that hit the market. Recently almost all the blog sites have been talking about how “ChatGPT” , “generative AI” are going to cause major paradigm shifts in the industry – People losing jobs and artificially intelligent creations taking over !!
Let me stop you right there, and urge you to reason the hype and frenzy you witness online, apply your senses and see how and why? – Yes the AI will be widely adapted and it might take away a few jobs, but this has been the case with every new / latest technology gaining adoption.
You’ll have to be employable with a skill that adds value to your organization, unless you take time to groom your skills with or without new technology coming into the market you’ll be replaced with more efficient and cost effective options.
Moreover, use AI to your advantage for career enhancement. AI will kill your job only if you have not learnt how to use AI better for your productivity.
3. Which IT areas are the most promising for a career reinvention?
Technology domains that might rule the next wave can include :
- Cloud computing
- Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning
- Virtual and Augmented Reality
- Data Analytics
The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about career switch / reinvention is formal education, online courses, practice projects – I would say it’s a good move, again ask yourself where and why?
Where do I need to reskill, why is it important and how do I know for sure the time spent is fruitful towards this?
Answer yourself these and you’ll come to a better conclusion,
Take Annual Assessment :
Though companies do this to evaluate their talent pool, the employees should take this seriously to do a self evaluation every year to see where have they progressed and where they lack
Know the Market :
Be on the lookout for changes that are related to your current skillset and match your interest level, those would always give you a better insight in choosing the right path forward
Take Action :
Start small by getting to know a new technology that interests you, see where you can apply this and if there is a possible demand in the market in terms of talent gap within and outside the organization
Make a Habit Loop : Next comes discipline. Have a habit to spend 1 hour a day towards an online course. Doesn’t matter if it is a paid or unpaid course. You mainly do this to start your learning curve and if you see consistency and interest in this, Then you can opt for a professional course.
4. Are there any pitfalls to watch out for?
As fast as a technology can come into the market, it can also vanish or be replaced, for example Hadoop was considered a revolutionary technology in terms of Big Data.
People flocked into learning it, investing time and money towards it. Recently in 2021 Cloudera’s CEO announced that it was the “definite end to the Hadoop era.” While Hadoop is still in demand in a few areas, the alternatives took over the majority of the market share making it less attractive for employees to upskill.
Choosing the path to reinvent your career is also a key aspect to growth.
Talking from the shoes of a nerd, isn’t it boring to work on the same technology year after year? Technology is one of the marvelous creations of mankind and learning to wield it for the greater good is something interesting.
Don’t have fear towards new grounds, see how you can master them to your advantage. I am sure once you look at it with how impactful you can be owing to the new technology – You’ll surely love it.
The Road to Reinvention: Strategies and Success Stories
A use case of a banker who chose career transition at the peak of his career for the love of technology
I want to share an interesting case of a friend, Maneesh who had been working in the highly specialized credit operations division of an MNC bank and had given 8 years of his career to banking. However he always dreamt of working in tech and was lured by the fancy idea of developing software applications.
In 2015 he finally took the plunge and quit his established career in Banking and started on the elusive journey of a self taught programmer. Starting with easy to catch high level languages like PHP, he soon started following MEAN stack and with help of some friends and references got projects to work on Angular 4!
Things looked bleak in the beginning but with sheer determination and passion he worked on becoming a full stack developer and recently upgraded his skillset to cloud. Soon he was able to work on projects as architect and full stack developer and also started helping others as a Tech lead. This shows that the field of development is vast yet welcoming to anyone who is willing to make that effort to be always up on the learning curve.