Five New Year's Resolutions for IT Professionals

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The new year is here and it's always a time for people to look back at the past year, assess what went right, put mistakes in the past and look forward to new accomplishments. New Year's resolutions aren't just for your personal life, in fact many people use the new year as a time to set career goals for the coming year.


For IT professionals, this is even more important. When you work in an industry that is as rapidly changing as information technology, it's important to know where you want to go and just how to get there. When you have your goals set, you can focus on doing what you can to reach them over the course of the year.


Here are five resolutions for IT professionals – maybe a few of these will make it on to your list:


Learn more about your industry – Since IT is always changing – there is always something new to learn. This year, why not make a resolution to learn more about the industry or take new certification classes. Depending on where you want to go, maybe its time to work on taking the first steps toward a new job or a new promotion. Also, one of the problems that many programmers have is that while they understand the technology side of things, they aren't that comfortable with the business end. If this sounds like you, why not make a point to attend a business event or even simply follow the business side of major tech companies like Google or Microsoft. By learning more about the business of technology, you'll be better equipped to understand your company's needs.


Plan your career path – In IT, where you want to go is extremely flexible. In fact, most companies don't really have a career map for their IT professionals. That's why it's even more important that you create your own career path. What do you love about your job? What are you passionate about? What parts of your job do you dislike? Which of those are because you don't know enough and which are just things you aren't interested in? Where do you want to be in 3 years? How about 5? Find out the answers now and create your career map. Once you know what you want, you can set smaller goals to help you get there. If you aren't sure where you want to be, try listing every job you've had along with the job duties and responsibilities. This should give you an idea of what skills you'll need to work on in order to reach your goals. Steve Jobs said that if you don't control your own destiny – someone else will and I couldn't agree with him more.


Update your resume – Updating your resume at the beginning of the year is a great habit to get into. It's sort of like changing the batteries in your smoke detectors during daylight savings time. The new year is a great time to add any new responsibilities that you've had over the year. If you keep a work portfolio or a brag book, you can update those as well. By doing this every year, you'll be able to write things down while they're still fresh and avoid being overwhelmed when you next look for a job.


Make or work on your social profiles – One problem that many of us computer geeks have is that even though we are online a lot, we aren't always very social. Today, with the increased use of social media, being anti-social can really hold your career back. If you haven't really participated with social networking, this is the perfect time to get started. If you already have a strong online presence, this can be a good time to review them and make sure that all of your information is current and that you are reaching the people you want to be in contact with. Remember that you are your own brand, so make sure that your accounts reflect your brand values.


Expand your horizons – It's not just what you can do at the office that makes you a valuable employee, but it's also your experiences and points of view. This year, make a resolution to learn and grow as much as possible. If there's something you've always been curious about or have wanted to try – just do it. For example, if you've always wanted to attend a certain conference, travel to a different country or learn a new language, make a resolution to do it. If you have been wanting to learn more about a specific subject, there are so many open source lectures and courses from major colleges and universities across the country. Why not make this year one that makes a real difference in your life?


What are your resolutions this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Image source: MorgueFile


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