1. Answer the bullet point questions listed above as honestly as you can.
2. Look for inconsistencies between answers; for example, you dislike writing but your goal is to be a Business Analyst.
3. Look for combinations of your answers that lead toward specific IT type jobs; for example, you are a good writer, you like working with people, you dislike programming, and you enjoy both the technical and non-technical side of IT.
4. Using the combinations of answers defined in step #3, try to discover IT jobs that closely match these combinations. In the case of my example above, you may enjoy being a Business Analyst
5. Next, consider the types of jobs that are available within your geographical area (or areas where you would be willing to relocate) and match these job types to the kind of jobs you would like to do.
6. Next, if you have interest in a specific industry, such as healthcare or financial services, assess the availability of jobs within that industry both within your local geography and at those locations where you would be willing to relocate.
7. Lastly, only after this deep personal analysis and discovery can you ask yourself the last question “Are you are willing to sacrifice for what is needed to attain your professional goal?” If your answer is yes, you are ready to move forward. If your answer is no, then it may be best to reassess your professional options.
After moving through these seven steps, you’ll finally be ready to answer questions like “Should I learn Microsoft Access or Excel?”, “Should I take the programming job or the testing job?”, “Should I become a manager or continue working as an individual contributor?”. The only wrong answer to these questions is an answer made with a lack a personal insight that moves you away from your professional goals, rather than toward it.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to grow.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.