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Moving up in the IT Industry

What can my next


IT move be?
With so many jobs in the IT industry to choose from, your
options are seemingly endless. And because technology is
forever changing, you may find the area you started your
career in has now become obsolete.

It's up to you to stay in touch with what's happening now, and to


develop your skills so they will be of use for many years to come.

Here are some of the options available to you:

Programmers
Many programmers tend not to step too much out of their own
comfort zones when considering their next move, with most making
the natural transition into a Systems Analyst or Web Designer role.

An alternative route is to make the step up to Systems Architect or


Systems Engineer level. Both routes then progress to Project
Manager before making it to Director level or moving into
Consultancy.

Network Engineers
Career progression for Network Engineers is a more obvious and
direct one than for Programmers. The next step up is Network
Manager and from here it’s a direct route to more senior positions
and Director level.
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Systems Analysts
Systems Analysts will invariably take one of two routes. The first will
be to progress as a Business Analyst before becoming a Consultant
and eventually Director, whilst the second option will be to reach the
top via the Project Management route.

Web Designers
The traditional path to the top is to follow the Project Manager route
or into more specialised user experience roles. Many will opt to go
freelance whilst others continue to make their way up the career
ladder in either a Consultancy and/or Director role.

Software Engineers
Like their Programmer cousins, Software Engineers and Systems
Designers will progress as either Systems Architects or Systems
Engineers before following the Project Manager to Consultant or
Director route.

The route you take will depend upon the skills that you already have
and the new skills that you want to learn. For instance, making the
transition from Programmer to Systems Engineer will mark a
significant step not just in terms of responsibility but also in terms of
technical know-how.

If you know what route is best for you, see what training courses are
available with your employer, online or at your local college so that
you can hit the ground running ready for your next position.

Job Searches
Database Development Desktop Support
IT Consulting IT Project Management
Network Administration Network Security
Software Implementation System Architecture
Web Development Web Design

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Moving up in the IT Industry

What achievements should I


add to my CV?
The key to writing an effective and powerful CV is to make
sure that the content is directly relevant to the job that you
are applying for. You need to make sure that the
achievements you include in your application will make a
potential employer sit up and take notice.

It’s all very well believing that you are the best programmer in the
business or that your web design skills are the envy of your peers,
but if you don’t demonstrate this in your application, then your CV
may only get as far as the paper shredder.

The IT industry recognises a wide range of skills, such as proven


problem solving, analytical and technical expertise. But don’t just list
them, explain to the reader how you have applied them.

Many people fill their CV with typical requirements for a job, but the
memorable candidates will set themselves apart from the pack and
focus on what makes them special.

Try to include achievements that nobody else can claim. Have you
won any awards? Have you delivered a project on time and on
budget? Have you developed an innovative web offering that your
set your organisation apart from its competitors? Maybe your strong
analytical, financial tracking and budgetary control skills have
identified cost-cutting measures for your employer?
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Always try to include facts and figures so the person reading your
CV can relate to the achievement and see how it had an impact on
the business as a whole.

Here are a few examples that you could include on your CV:

"Created an automated data back-up system to improve data


security and recovery processes."

"Awarded ‘Best Use of New Media’ at a prestigious UK award


ceremony."

"Took charge of a £multi-million system integration which was


successfully rolled out across 15 UK locations."

"Analysed system requirements and developed a backup and


restoration resolution in a 20% increase in system efficiency."

"Pioneered the move into the social networking environment


for my employer, creating a range of widgets that achieved a
300% increase in unique visitors and a 120% increase in
sales over 3 months."

Think of as many relevant examples of instances when you have


done something beyond your current job remit - something that won
the recognition of your colleagues and had an impact on the
business.

Further Reading
- How should I list my previous jobs on my CV?
- What makes a good CV design and layout?
- How can I make my CV more effective?

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Moving up in the IT Industry

What are the important


skills to develop?
If you attempted to acquire every attainable IT skill and list
them all on your CV, chances are that your two-page CV
would quickly blossom into a document that could easily
double as a rather attractive foot stool.

With so many skills on offer, you need to recognise the ones that are
relevant for the job you are doing now and the job you want.

If you’re looking to step up the career ladder, as well as improving


your overall business skills such as project management and
budgeting, you will also need to develop the skills that will impress
prospective employers.

In no particular order, SQL, Java, C, C++, .NET, C#, Visual Basic,


SQL Server, ASP, and Oracle are currently the ten most sought after
skills in the IT industry.

Regardless of what sector you work in, the demand for some (if not
all) of these skills remains constant.

As your career progresses you will be required to learn new skills for
each role that you do. Often the best way to secure the job you want
is to acquire these skills before you apply, rather than expecting to
learn them on-the-job.
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Suppose you are looking to move up to become a Senior Web


Designer, your familiarity with programmes such as HTML, CSS,
ASP.NET, C#, and SQL will give you a good chance of being
interviewed for the job. But by doing your homework you will find that
Flash, Photoshop, Quark and InDesign are part-and-parcel of a
Senior Web Designer’s job.

By becoming familiar with the skills that will used in your next
position and by seizing the initiative to learn these new skills, your
application will stand out because you have demonstrated a desire
to learn new skills, a passion for the industry, and a determination to
hit the ground running in your new role.

Do as much research as you can by reading job descriptions and


speaking to people who already do the job you want. Stay up-to-date
with the latest developments in the industry and remember that
many of the IT skills in demand today didn't even exist 10 years ago.
If you can get involved at the early stages, you could be an expert by
the time they reach common usage.

It’s worth asking your current employer about their staff development
policy and the training they provide. If it's not sufficient for your
needs, consider enrolling on a night school course at your local
college, Open University or an online training provider.

Postgraduate and academic study is not usually required to help


advance your career, however, the BCS runs a number of ISEB
qualifications for IT professionals at various stages of their careers,
from new entrants to senior managers.

Follow us on Twitter

Stay up to date with the latest news from the IT and Technology
sector by following @ITandTechUK on Twitter.

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Moving up in the IT Industry

How can I get my boss to


notice my efforts?
Most of us are modest about our achievements at work and
often shy-away from getting praise for a job well done. But if
no-one knows how great you are at your job, you simply
won’t get ahead.

To make sure you get noticed in your workplace and get the
recognition you deserve, there are a few key things you need to do.

Firstly, make sure you're regularly contacting your boss. In addition


to regular meeting and yearly appraisals, let them know of any
notable achievements you have. There are ways of letting them
know what you are doing without looking like you’re bragging. For
instance, if you developed a new flash widget for the company
website, send a quick email when 100k people have used it.

You may also want to acknowledge the part they played in any
successful project. By praising your boss for overseeing the project,
they will be more likely to remember it. There is a fine balancing act
between telling your boss about the great work you're doing, and
making it look like you're pitching for their job.

Rather than individual pursuits, most projects you get involved with
will be a team effort. Game development is a prime example where
professionals from animation, design and sound engineering, all
come together for a common goal.
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If you have been involved in a team project, try to set yourself in a


position where you are seen as a pivotal part of the group. Be the
one to set up the meetings, update others on the project progress
and copy in your boss on all important communications to show you
have managerial qualities.

Another way to get in the good books is to take on more


responsibility. Simply asking for more responsibilities will increase
your worth to the organisation because it demonstrates your desire
to expand your skill set, your willingness to help your company to
succeed and most importantly, it puts the spotlight on you.

Think about how your IT skills can help other people in the
organisation, from simple things like training new employees on the
various systems your company uses, through to developing software
that will improve the productivity and efficiency of the business. If
you get your name out there with projects that are recognisable
across the business, you'll inevitably be in with a chance of
promotion when the time comes.

As good as internal recognition is, it can't compare with the praise


you get from outside the company. Testimonials from your clients or
suppliers are one of the most effective ways of getting your boss to
recognise your achievements.

So if you have advised a client on how to use the software they


purchased for their business and they are delighted with the results,
ask them write you a quick ‘thank you’ email acknowledging the
service that you provided. If you're a contractor, these will become a
key part of your portfolio when looking for the next role.

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Moving up in the IT Industry

Should I move internally


or externally?
IT is a fast-moving industry and the opportunities for career
advancement and specialising are always just around the
corner. Whether you stay with the same company or not will
depend on which direction you want to take your career.

Suppose you started your IT career as a Junior Software Engineer


for Google or Microsoft. You may thrive in being at the forefront of
creating the next generation in technology with a company that can
meet your careers aspirations.

In big companies there is plenty of scope to expand your options,


progress through the ranks or specialise in your chosen specialism.
The decision to develop your career within the same organisation is
sometimes a no-brainer.

IT departments generally have a lower turnover of staff than others


and this can in part be attributed to a shortage of skilled
professionals

IT employers are renowned for recognising employee loyalty and


when promotion time comes around, the first thought is to look for
someone from within the business, rather than looking externally.

How much can you earn in the IT sector?


Salary by Gender Salary by Company Size
Salary by Experience Salary by Location
Salary by Job Role
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Whatever job you do, it's important that you have the chance to work
on the projects you want to work on, and develop the skills you want
to develop. If you're spending 20% of your time on graphic design
and 80% on programming, is this the ratio you want, or would you
prefer it was the other way round?

If you feel that your current employer is not positioned to fulfil the
career aspirations you have identified for yourself, then you need to
find a company that will.

If you want a management position but opportunities are few and far
between, then you should move elsewhere or you will become stuck
in a rut. Staying for too long in the same job may also harm your
future career as your CV will suggest you didn't have the ambition to
move up the ladder.

With employers are clambering over themselves to secure the


services of suitably qualified personnel to fill their vacancies, it can
be very lucrative to keep moving jobs every few months.

Some employers will see this as a negative, so If you are to job hop,
the trick is to effectively market your penchant for short-term success
and your ability to meet an employer’s need.

Take part in a Virtual Job Interview to find out if your


answers are what IT employers want to hear.

Click here when you’re ready to begin.

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Moving up in the IT Industry

What attributes make a


good manager?
Moving into management isn’t simply a case of being the
best Systems Analyst or Software Developer, it’s about being
the ‘right type’. Think about it in football terms:

Bryan Robson was arguably one of England’s greatest ever


footballers, yet his management ability never quite lived up to
expectations having faced relegation three times with three different
clubs. in stark contrast, Sir Alex Ferguson's playing career was
largely forgettable, however, he has gone on to become the most
successful football manager in English history.

Some people are good at the practical aspects of the job and are
masters in their specific job roles, whilst others have the ability to
look at the bigger picture and recognise how to blend each
individual’s skill into an effective working team focused on achieving
the overall objectives of the organisation.

Are you a Robson or a Ferguson?

if you want to step into a management position, while it’s important


to be good at your own role, you need to be conscious of what
everyone else does and look for ways of doing the job better, slicker,
quicker and more profitably.
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In other words, you must learn to become a multi-disciplinarian who


understands how the technical team complements the design team,
whilst being aware of the workload of the guys from testing.

Good IT managers develop all-round project management skills with


a solid understanding of the various programme-types that are used.
It is your job to oversee the delivery of a project from start to finish
on time and within budget, whilst considering its aims from both a
technical and business perspective.

Managers will often find themselves balancing a few projects


concurrently and you must be able to keep your cool under pressure,
manage your time effectively, and thrive on getting things done.

Equally important are your interpersonal and communications skills


which will be employed to relay the objectives of the project to their
team, as well as up to the management team above you. Planning
and analysis play key roles here.

If you can set out your initial objectives and checkpoints to be met by
certain times, you can keep the people under you aware of what is
expected of them, and the people above you aware of how things
are going.

Further Reading
- How can I secure a pay rise?
- What can I do to ensure a promotion?
- How can I improve as a manager?

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Moving up in the IT Industry

How can I make a


long-term career plan?
In 1965, Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, predicted that
computing technology would increase in value at the same
time it would decrease in cost.

In other words, Moore’s Law argued that as the pace of computer


technology continues to double its capabilities and becomes smaller,
quicker and smarter, it inevitably becomes more affordable. How
right he was.

Moore’s Law will inevitably characterise the future of the IT industry.


The next decade promises much with developments in voice
recognition, cloud computing and mobile technology. We may even
see the end of television as we know it.

By its very nature, the IT industry is constantly on the look out for the
next innovate user experience or application that will precede all that
has gone before it. But what does this mean to your future
prospects?

There's no disputing the fact that both personal and business use of
IT will continue to grow. Consequently, skilled IT practitioners who
can combine technical and ‘soft’ business skills (communication,
team-working, business acumen, etc) will forever be in demand.
That demand can carve out a long and rewarding career path for
those who have the IT skills that are in short supply.
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It's up to you to stay in touch with the IT world, decide the areas
where you feel will be in demand in the future, and focus your efforts
on developing your skills. be careful not to throw all your eggs in one
basket.

If you're spent thousands on training courses to become an expert in


Java, what are you going to do when a new technology replaces it?

When making career goals, make sure they are SMART:

• Specific
• Measurable
• Attainable
• Realistic
• Timely

Whether you go for a managerial route, into consultancy or to start


your own business stay one step ahead of the game and become a
pioneer in the industry, boldly going where no IT professional has
gone before.

Improve Your Monster Experience


If you have a Monster Profile, you may have noticed the Career
Goals section on your personalised homepage.

This is a perfect place to put your career aspirations down in


writing, so you can look back in 6 months or 6 years to see how
far you are towards achieving your goals.

If you tell us your dream jobs, we’ll automatically update you on


job opportunities that match so you can take note of the skills
you need to develop, or apply right away.

View or create your Monster Profile now.

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Moving up in the IT Industry

Is IT the right industry


for me?
Do you envisage that your long term career will be in IT, or
do have dreams of spreading your wings and working in an
entirely different field?

Recognising whether the IT industry is right for you is a simple


question of motivation. Does your job and the sector in which you
work make you want to get out of bed in the morning to see what the
day will bring, or have things become repetitive and monotonous
leaving you feeling unchallenged because you are not learning
anything new?

It's natural for anyone to have a blip and for you to start considering
what alternatives there may be. The key to knowing whether you're
in need of a career change is the length of time this goes on. Think
about whether it's the job that's getting you down or whether it's the
work. Would you be happy doing the same job in a different location
or with a different set of colleagues?

Even if you’re in a job that you have loved for a number of years, it
doesn’t mean that you will want to do it forever.

One of the beauties about being an IT professional is that you're


armed with a skill set that is in high demand across a variety of job
functions.
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For instance, pretty much all IT roles involve using information-


based skills such as analysis, problem solving, project planning and
of course, technical ability. You will be also be familiar with the
software and systems used in other industries so will have a head
start on training.

So if you are a Programmer or a Project Manager who feels that you


have been there, done that and have the proverbial T-shirt to prove it
within the IT industry, have a look through Monster to see what other
jobs you might fancy.

Rather than searching by job title, try putting some of your key skills
into the keyword box to see what comes up.

And if you'd prefer not to step into a conventional job, you may wish
to consider ways of passing on you knowledge to the next
generation. Teaching is a career that can bring lots of job
satisfaction, not to mention the outstanding holiday allowances.

There are a few hurdles to overcome in terms of the teaching


qualifications you need to get, but if you're fed up with looking at a
computer screen all day, how would you feel about replacing it with a
room full of open minds, eager to learn from your experience?

What Next?

If you’re still looking for advice on finding the right job, creating a
great CV or tips on job interview, career-advice.monster.co.uk
contains everything you ever wanted to know, and more!

If you’re ready to apply for jobs, upload you CV to Monster and


then take a look through the latest IT and Technology roles.

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Moving up in the IT Industry

IT & Technology Glossary


Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) - a group of
interrelated web development techniques used to create
interactive web applications.

Browser - a software application which enables a user to


display and interact with text, images, videos, music, games
and other information typically located on the World Wide
Web or a local area network.

Cookie - a small pieces of text, stored on a user's computer


by a web browser containing the user's settings, shopping
cart contents, or other data used by websites.

DNS (Domain Name System) - a hierarchical naming system


for computers, services, or any resource participating in the
Internet. It translates domain names into binary identifiers
associated with networking equipment.

Ethernet - a family of frame-based computer networking


technologies for local area networks (LANs).

Firewall - part of a computer system or network that is


designed to block unauthorized access while permitting
outward communication.
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GUI (Graphical User Interface) - a type of user interface


which allows people to interact with electronic devices such
as computers, hand-held devices, household appliances and
office equipment.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) - the predominant


markup language for web pages. A means to describe the
structure of text-based information in a document.

IP (Internet Protocol) Address - a numerical identification that


is assigned to devices participating in a computer network
utilizing the Internet Protocol for communication between its
nodes.

Java - a number of computer software products and


specifications that together provide a system for developing
application software and deploying it in a cross-platform
environment.

Kernel - the central component of most computer operating


systems. Its responsibilities include managing the system's
communication between hardware and software
components.

LAN (Local Area Network) - a computer network covering a


small physical area, like a home, office, or small group of
buildings, such as a school.

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Moving up in the IT Industry

Macro - a rule or pattern that specifies how a certain input


sequence should be mapped to an output sequence
according to a defined procedure.

NTFS - the standard file system of Windows NT, including its


later versions Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server
2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and the new
Windows 7.

Operating System - an interface between hardware and user.


It is responsible for the management and coordination of
activities and the sharing of a computer's resources.

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) - a handheld computer


incorporating colour screens and audio capabilities, enabling
them to be used as mobile phones (smartphones), web
browsers, or portable media players.

QuarkXPress - a computer application for creating and


editing complex page layouts in a WYSIWYG environment.

Router - a device that determines the correct destination for


data being transmitted from one network to another.

Shareware - copyrighted commercial software that is


distributed without payment on a trial basis and is often
limited by any combination of functionality, availability or
convenience.
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Terabyte (TB)- a multiple of the unit byte for digital


information storage equal to 1,000,000,000,000 bytes, or
1,000 Gigabytes (GB).

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - a type of Uniform


Resource Identifier that specifies where an identified
resource is available and the mechanism for retrieving these
resources.

Virus - a computer program that can copy itself and infect a


computer without the permission or knowledge of the owner.

Wi-Fi - a set of internationally accepted standards which


ensures the compatibility of wireless network devices
manufactured by different companies.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) - a general-purpose


specification for creating custom markup languages. XML's
purpose is to aid information systems in sharing data

YouTube - a video sharing website that displays movie clips,


TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such
as video blogging and short original films.

ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) - a concept used in the design of


IC sockets, invented to avoid problems caused by applying
force upon insertion and extraction.

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks


Moving up in the IT Industry

They say that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but
often it is. Our series of eBooks brings together expert advice
to help you secure the job you want and build a successful
career.

For more career tools, visit career-advice.monster.co.uk.