If you try and measure technology, and try to grasp its significance over its current demand then you would feel that we are always living in the past and the future is actually something from the present. Have you ever felt that the processing power of our devices whither off within a couple of months time over the updates of just the operating system, or there is always that feel of rapidly usage of the hard disk space?
You know why we get this feel? Because of the speed!
The speed of evolution in technology is not by the innovations, it is sewed in to itself like gene codes, it will grow, then discard itself and then re-grow and then discards itself again!, like a whirlpool! Some people refer to this phenomenon as “Rapid” and other think of this as a never ending cycle of inventions and devices, well, as technology geeks, we always want to ride it!
Take for example the innovation of wearable gadgets, once they were not a consumer brand, everyone was hyping about it, now it’s what? Nothing but just another fancy device – wanna have it?
This is how technology will keep evolving; some of us become so obsessed with the sense of it that we tend to lose the reality and the rapid change that occurs. We will keep adapting and getting what comes our way. For example, think for a moment that you are standing at the bank of a mountain river and watching those white water rapids – now, try and feel the speed of the rushing water, the loudness, the energy, and then the utmost ever changing cycles of tons of water moving with the same exact patterns. Then all of a sudden, you see a canoe coming along with a single rider, tackling those rapids with proficiency and movement, using the oars and the body weight to remain in control, to dodge the objects both above and beneath the surface – and then you say to yourself, “Oh there is more to it then what meets the eye!”
Why I am explaining this?
Because technology is like the river of rapids, you can see it as an observer and get overwhelmed with whatever it is presenting along the way, maybe as a consumer you may use some, learn or even study about – but in reality only those people would understand and work their way who actually ride along this huge river of ever-changing rapids. In common words we call them the IT professionals
As a trainer, I have always started my awareness to quality and testing sessions with the provision of the right identity to the IT professionals;
“Who are you?” is the title I give, and within this I tend to explain about the career growth in this field. If you consider the academia, then right from the very beginning we are trained as “Programmers” – a lot of people are now questioning this approach that why academia tend to focus on development and programming in comparison to other skills which can be acquired by an IT professional; such as “Configuration Management”, “Sales and Marketing”, “Customer Support Services”, “Business Analysis”, “Software Testing”, “Networking” and “Project Management”. In comparison to other qualifications, IT professionals have to study as Software Engineers” and then get certifications for any of the field to prove their specialties, whereas this can be catered for at the academia level where in the final year the students can take up the specialization courses. This is resulting in a gap between the industry and the academia and is creating a lot of vibes around the professional forums.
Coming back to the professional essence, and creating a good identity; here are some points which an IT student, a Fresh Graduate, or even an Experienced professional can adapt and build up their reputation amongst the industry and other professionals alike:
Register and then make a sale of yourself!
You need to register yourself to one or more of the available social and professional networks; Why? Simple, whatever you do, you will post an update about that there. Whatever you experience being a “Human” and a “Professional” you will tell the world there. Wherever you feel that people need to know something you will initiate a discussion, take part in one, and make your impact. Otherwise, be ready for a bunch of paper CV’s in your hand, with a bunch of envelops, a pen, and a courier service to mail your CVs on the jobs posted on a newspaper!
Don’t be a John Doe!
In United States, when they found bodies with no identities on the person, the morgues name them as “John Doe” for male and “Jane Doe” for females. Well, we don’t want to end up like that would we? So keep up to your identity with a clear line of what you are capable of and expert in right from the very beginning of your career;
“I am a Software Engineer”
“I am a Networks Engineer”
“I am a Software Tester”
“I am a Customer Support Specialist”
“I am a Solution Architect”
As James Bach said: “When you make a name for yourself, your name will trumps out any certifications you might also have”
You need to speak out of what you experience, and what you are capable of, and the best way to do that is “Blogging”. Blogging is writing something without the restrictions of the boundaries, publication rules, or thinking patterns. Just register yourself, create your own page, have it set up for the visitors with links and other interesting addins, and Valla!
You don’t need to rush things, just do 1 blog per month, but do it consistently. Then reduce that to 15 days and then eventually per week. Make sure to write clear and to the point and be original. Plagiarizing is very irritating to the readers with access to google J
Make sure to paste links wherever you are registered as a user (on social and professional networks)
Often I have heard from professionals that they were following that very interesting discussion about software engineering but did not post their comments because they were too hesitant to state about their opinion – or was afraid that some other professional will encounter it! Well, get it off your shoulders and just do it, because if you have a genuine experience of something then no one in this world would say that you are wrong – but always be positive, praise others, and keep open for suggestions.
Adapt a theme for your career – show what background you have and then grow yourself on the same thematic colors. For example, Software Engineer, Hired as a Software Test Engineer, becomes a Test Architect, then a test Lead and eventually a Quality Assurance and Test Manger.
This would look good, but then it is not a perfect world we live in, so the case and the contexts shall keep changing like the technology. Just remember, whatever you do in your career make sure not to diverge “too much” off the course. A good IT professional should be or at least knows a lot about coding and development (no matter what), then builds her career around that framework.
I cannot say everything here but what I have shared above is what professionals are made of, beside their technical expertise. In this era of globalization, having an identity as professional is utmost need. As one of my friends always writes this line with every comment he makes on the LinkedIn discussion “Enjoy Knowledge Sharing”; makes me feel the very way how professionals should have that hunger and urge to share and gain knowledge and experience wherever they can!
I hope these few lines would guide the students and professionals in forming up their careers to something more enhanced and can gain more light on their faces in the future.
Arslan Ali has more than 14 years of Experience related to IT, Industry and Training Institutions with exclusive experience of 5 years in teaching various disciplines and projects in IT Institution. He has worked in various roles in capacity of Software Engineering, Software Tester, Trainer and Quality Assurance Roles.
Arslan is currently an active member of TestersTestified and Outtabox as a training consultant. You can follow him on twitter @arslan0644