IS A TECHNOLOGY CAREER RIGHT FOR YOU?
So, you’re considering a career in technology. You’re looking for something more interesting than what you’re doing now, something that may pay more and offers growth potential. You believe you can do the work, but you’re unsure whether you’d be happy doing it. Before you make a final decision, perhaps it would be helpful to know the traits of people who are happy and successful in IT jobs.
A recent study titled “Personality Traits and Career Satisfaction of Information Technology Professionals” attempts to answer that question. Using personality test results, the researchers concluded that IT professionals who consider themselves happy and successful on the job are more likely than those in other occupations to possess the following traits:
Emotional Resilience: “One possible explanation for the importance of Emotional Resilience is that high levels of stress are inherent in many IT jobs. Most individuals who work in IT face schedule pressure, demands from multiple constituencies in their employing organizations, and a typically ‘impossible workload.’”
Tough-mindedness: “Qualities like tough-mindedness (or the process of using a logical thinking style and basing decisions based on facts and not feelings) have often been seen as an important qualification for working in the IT profession. IT staff need to be tough-minded enough to stick with a grounded decision.”
Openness: “Higher levels of Openness enable individuals to adapt to change and facilitate personal discovery, new learning, and professional development. The field of IT is continually changing due to new technology and innovations in software, information systems, and arrangements for integrating IT with other organizational units and functions. In fact, it is difficult to imagine an IT employee who is closed to new ideas and resists change being effective in any IT job or deriving satisfaction from this work.”
Customer Service Orientation: “Most IT departments have service level agreements to provide timely quality service to internal customers. The importance of customer service for IT workers is at the cornerstone of their drive to expand services to additional internal customer groups (e.g. marketing and sales departments) and integrate IT with other organizational functional units.”
This fourth characteristic may seem surprising to some observers. Many in the general public tend to think of IT professionals as “geeks,” inherently anti-social loners, only concerned about zeros and ones flashing across their monitors. In reality, IT professionals are more like doctors or nurses who use their vast technical knowledge for the benefit of others.
In addition to the findings in this study, comments by those who hire and manage computer workers commonly mention several other traits that characterize successful IT professionals including:
Detail-oriented: One small mistake or omission can prevent a multi-layered system from working correctly. Successful IT professionals are ready and willing to focus on the details.
Multitaskers: People working with computers are often involved in multiple tasks simultaneously. Managing time and prioritizing tasks are essential skills to succeed in this environment.
Team players: Successful IT professionals never forget they are part of a team tasked with building, maintaining, and protecting a cohesive system.
Capable communicators: Computer professionals are often pictured as solitary gurus, unable or unwilling to communicate with others. In reality, they are often the bridge between a company’s technology and the more non-technical employees who use it. Being able to speak and write in both technical and non-technical language is increasingly important in today’s business environment.
While all of these traits are important to the success and on-the-job happiness of an IT professional, the most important trait, according to multiple sources, is a passion for using technology to solve problems. Steve Jobs, genius inventor and founder of Apple, put it this way:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
At Carolina Career College, we have a passion for technology and for our students. We want to help you do what you love. If building, maintaining, and protecting something real intrigues you, if solving complex puzzles using computers excites you, if working hand-in-hand with a talented team and learning more and more each day sounds like a great job, we can help you achieve your dream.
Think you have what it takes to excel in an IT career? Schedule a tour of our campus today.