Stand on the edge of IT innovation without falling off

June 15, 20184 minute read

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The tech world changes fast. So fast, in fact, that 50 percent of high-tech jobs existing today won’t exist in another 10 years, according to Fast Company.

Technology trends driven by corporate mergers and acquisitions, business model evolution, and global economy shifts conspire to challenge what IT pros think they can expect in their career paths. Within this climate of IT innovation driving change, technology professionals, including everyone from interns to managers, need to embrace personal transformation as a way of life—or potentially face professional irrelevance.

Keep pace with new cultural shifts and challenges

Technology touches all facets of how businesses operate and compete, and the velocity of IT innovation and change is expanding beyond just the geeks in the data center. From administration to marketing, sales, and finance, every contributor must pay attention to technology trends and IT innovation on some level.

As if the pace of technology refresh isn’t daunting enough, IT evolution has facilitated a cultural shift in the makeup of the workforce, as well. When managers look across their organizations today, they’re seeing one of the most diverse workforces in modern history: Generation Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers are working side by side, along with robot coworkers who complement the human workforce.

A further level of complexity that will impact IT innovation is the need to create a cohesive, winning team consisting of contractors, consultants, and remote employees in addition to office-based employees. Thoughtful construction and rollout of IT-driven change management best practices will prove critical to taking your organization to the next level of performance with minimal disruption to the business.

Grow your IT skills that complement technology trends

With so much competition between daily life, complex work environments, and online social activities, it can be difficult to find the time to keep up with the latest and greatest in IT innovation. But evolving tools and technologies are being engineered and rapidly introduced into the work mainstream, and it’s important for IT pros to pay attention to what’s newly available for their organizations.

All one has to do is to Google “IT training” to become immediately overwhelmed with the number of companies that claim they can help you accelerate your career. As with everything you read on the web, don’t be fooled by marketing. Your best sources for training recommendations are trusted colleagues, online reviews, and non-aligned professional ranking systems.

If your company doesn’t subsidize continuing education, budget may also play into how you design your professional development plan. Ask yourself what is motivating your decision to pursue further training or certifications. Are you looking for a promotion or hoping to get a raise? Do an honest assessment of your current knowledge and skill set to determine what you need to invest in terms of time and money.

There are other avenues you can take besides spending time in a formal classroom or taking online training courses. For example, you can focus your personal vision by aligning with a respected mentor. In Kaytie Zimmerman’s blog post, “Modern Mentoring Is the Key to Retaining Millennials,” she discusses traditional mentorship roles, group mentoring, co-mentoring, and even the concept of “reverse mentoring”—an approach where older executives are coached by younger coworkers on topics, such as emerging technologies, social media, and new (read: millennial) consumer trends.

As a savvy IT professional, you can also keep up with skills and tools relevant to your continued success with a minimal investment of time. By attending conferences and workshops, checking out online webinars, and regularly participating in user’s groups or online communities, like Spiceworks, you can expand your knowledge while you grow your professional network. And one of the best ways to keep up with what is happening in the IT industry is to read, read, read—everything from white papers to blogs and timely articles.

Reduce the burden with evolving tools and technologies

Technical and business staff alike are reaping the rewards of new tools and technologies that simplify their work lives, too, leaving more opportunities for creative problem solving and personal development. One such area of innovation is the printing hardware scene.

According to IDC MarketScape: U.S. Smart Multifunction Peripheral 2018 Vendor Assessment, “Major hardcopy vendors that provide ‘smart’ multifunction peripherals (MFPs) to the US marketplace” have engineered complete managed print services environments that incorporate not only hardware but also software and robust solutions portfolios that complement the services, security applications, and managed print and IT flow. By optimizing your print environment, you can free up your time—and your IT staff’s time—to focus on learning new skills or more strategic initiatives. This is only one example of an opportunity you can identify by keeping pace with innovation and tech trends, coming with benefits for both the business itself and your own career development.

Are you kept you up at night thinking about how to keep engaged, refreshed, razor-sharp, and gainfully employed? Take heart: Education and reinvention, alongside the adoption of evolving technical trends, will help you avoid the stagnation that can lead to extinction. The industry is fast-tracking new ways to augment an IT professional’s arsenal of tools while providing continuous learning opportunities. The IT innovations that result should take your career—and your business—to the next level of performance.

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