Are you interested in taking your career as an IT professional beyond the IT help desk? Fortunately, the skills you use every day on the IT help desk are skills that can translate into other types of technical careers. After all, it’s your job to understand problems and develop solutions in order to make business work better.
Your experience on the IT help desk can be a great foundation for expanding your career into other technical areas. Here’s how to make your time as an IT help desk professional pay off over the long term.
IT professionals are problem solvers, and that can be advantageous to any career track.
Understand Your Employer
However you want your career to progress, understanding what your company is all about is essential. Reading annual and quarterly reports can help you understand the business and position yourself to deliver value at every step of your career. If your company has a social media presence, keep up with it, because it gives you a different perspective from what you see from your desk. Knowing what your employer’s goals are helps you understand your current role better, so you can perform at your best and maximize your potential for a beneficial career path.
Take the Jobs No One Wants to Do
Sometimes taking on the job no one wants can be the perfect way to raise your profile and really demonstrate your leadership. Maybe a particular IT project is floundering, making people wonder if it was worthwhile. By stepping up and turning a difficult project around, there’s really only one way to go, and that’s upward. The only thing better than starting a project and having it be successful is taking a project that’s failing, turning it around, and making it successful.
Continually Refresh Your Skills and Knowledge
While you want to be considered an expert as an IT help desk professional, you should also stay current on IT industry trends. This might be done through professional periodicals, professional associations, conferences, and courses. Think outside your immediate area of responsibility about where the industry is headed. Currently, some of the important skills areas are responsive web design, user interface programming, data science, and IT security. Being able to speak knowledgeably about topics ranging from the state of your help desk software to the industry with coworkers and managers can help get you noticed.
Work on Your “Soft Skills”
However advanced your technical skills are, you also need good “soft skills” which mostly concern communication. As an IT professional, the most important soft skills you can develop are:
• Written and verbal communication
• Being “bi-lingual” in technical and business languages
• Strong presentation skills
• Working well as a member of a team
• Focusing on important details without losing sight of the overall picture
• Positive attitude and motivation to get the job done
• Excellent time management skills
• Handling criticism professionally
These skills will benefit you even if you make a lateral move to another company, and there are plenty of online resources to help you get started at developing these skills.
Develop Your Professional Network
Joining, or even starting a professional network can keep you on your toes and help you gain valuable perspective about your career. Spending time with other IT professionals outside your company helps you make valuable contacts too. Online user communities can be valuable as well. Today there are thriving online communities on a broad range of technical topics, from data science to mobile technology. Besides offering you an opportunity to make contacts and stay current in the industry, many online networks offer discussion forums, knowledge bases, and even job boards.
Remember That It’s Ultimately Up to You
The corporate environment isn’t the same as it was for your parents’ generation. Companies often aren’t as committed to nurturing careers as they used to be. So it’s ultimately up to you to perform well at work while taking the steps necessary for career advancement. Keeping skills current, developing soft skills, taking on tough tasks, and expanding your professional network will serve you well, whether you stay in your current organization or ultimately take a position at another one.
IT help desk professionals can do their best work when they’re supported by an outstanding help desk software and IT service management tools. Samanage is a true cloud solution for both IT help desk and IT asset management that lets IT professionals get work done, without worry about inadequate or outdated tools.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is the Director of Sales in North America for Samanage. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.
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