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New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes

Published on 13 October 17
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Landing a career in IT is no easy feat. Given IT's exponential development and high demand, only the best minds and talents will be able to keep up.

New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes - Image 1

However, while just getting the job is hard enough, ramping up your new career can prove even more challenging, especially during your first year. You can expect to have your skills, knowledge, and sanity put through the wringer over the next 12 months that you may often feel like you're fighting a losing battle. It won't be easy, but avoiding these 7 rookie mistakes can help you conquer your first year in IT:

Not Staying Ahead of the Industry

IT is one of the few industries that literally changes at the drop of a pin. Blink and there's something new to learn. Just keeping up with changes can prove overwhelming, so how can you even fathom staying ahead of the curve?

Truth be told, it is possible.

Take time to seek out thought leaders in your industry and follow their blogs or social media accounts. Take time to read industry news articles or publications to glean expert forecasts.

In other words, if you want to stay ahead, you must be proactive about it. Keeping abreast of industry trends isn't just good for business, it may even help you earn a much-deserved promotion in the future.

Ignoring Other Crucial Areas and Skills

If you thought IT was just about networking and data communications, think again. There will be times when you'll need to put your project management prowess to the test. You might be asked to address a group of non-IT employees on infrastructure changes. You may have team obligations to fulfill, or you might lead the charge on handling department communications.

Being multifaceted never hurt anyone. The more you can do, the more valuable you become to your employer. IT roles often have to dip into other skillsets to do the best job possible, and it never hurts to keep your non-IT-related skills sharp and ready.

Not Planning for Your Future in IT

Are you aspiring for a C-level position, or at least department head? Chances are, if this is your first IT job, you weren't hired into your dream position. That's okay, most folks aren't. What is important, however, is that you have some inkling as to where you want to end up, and then understand what you need to do to get there.

For example, if you want to become department manager in five years, what will you need to accomplish first? Who do you need to connect with? What skills and training are required? How can you best showcase your talents that will prove you're capable of such a role?

If you're fine with an entry level IT position, keep it. But you're interested in moving up the IT ladder, having a roadmap ahead of time can help you avoid detours and dead ends.

Refusing to Adapt

Do you still use the phone book to find an exterminator in your area? Do you still write down all your friends' and family's phone number in an address book? Do you still play that same tired Beach Boys cassette tape in your car? No?

Why not?

Other than the fact that those relics would be difficult to find these days, you may have realized there are better ways to accomplish those tasks.

The same mindset should accompany you on your IT journey, though the rate of adaption might seem in overdrive. Things change quickly in IT, whether it's new software or security or learning new compliance regulations.

Just because you may like doing things a certain way, or believe one method to be easier than learning another, doesn't mean it's the best way. Be open-minded to change - there's going to be lots of it.

Forgoing Ongoing Education Opportunities

There's always something new to learn, especially in fast-paced IT. However, there's a difference between someone who learns via office memos and emails and someone who seeks out new information on their own.


New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes - Image 2

The latter type is the one who will move up quickly, by the way.

You may have graduated from college, but the learning process is never over. The more you take initiative to learn about new products, processes, changes, advancements, or other helpful industry knowledge, the more your boss will be looking at you for promotion.

Failing to Observe Competitors

As an entry level IT professional, you might not believe it's your job to keep up with what your competitors are doing. That's marketing's job, right?

Actually, it's everyone's responsibility to keep the company's best interest at heart, and that includes understanding how your competitors may be getting ahead in the IT realm.

Since business success is so dependent on IT functions, competing with rival companies on the IT front can demonstrate success in other areas. Everything from website speed and functionality to possible data breaches could kill a company's reputation, and IT plays a big role in that.

If you can keep a watchful eye on your competitors and share your findings with the right people, they'll remember you for it.

Not Partnering with a Coach or Mentor

When you think coach or mentor in your new role, your supervisor might immediately come to mind. But he or she is not the only one you can look to for guidance.

New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes - Image 3

If there's someone in your department who your boss relies on or who is noticed by the "higher-ups," follow their example. Pick their brain, learn about your new company, ask for advice, or anything else you can learn from them that will help you in your new role.

If you aren't sure if such a person exists in your company, ask your supervisor if they know of someone. You can also join online IT forums to ask questions of others in your industry or share your own thoughts.

In Closing

IT is arguably one of the most stressful careers in today's job market. However, it's also one of the most in-demand fields, which means if you can prove your worth, you'll have plenty of work. Hang in there - you'll have that first year behind you in no time.

Author: Alli Hill is a freelance writer and content marketer for NoStop Ghost Writing.

Landing a career in IT is no easy feat. Given IT's exponential development and high demand, only the best minds and talents will be able to keep up.

New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes - Image 1

However, while just getting the job is hard enough, ramping up your new career can prove even more challenging, especially during your first year. You can expect to have your skills, knowledge, and sanity put through the wringer over the next 12 months that you may often feel like you're fighting a losing battle. It won't be easy, but avoiding these 7 rookie mistakes can help you conquer your first year in IT:

Not Staying Ahead of the Industry

IT is one of the few industries that literally changes at the drop of a pin. Blink and there's something new to learn. Just keeping up with changes can prove overwhelming, so how can you even fathom staying ahead of the curve?

Truth be told, it is possible.

Take time to seek out thought leaders in your industry and follow their blogs or social media accounts. Take time to read industry news articles or publications to glean expert forecasts.

In other words, if you want to stay ahead, you must be proactive about it. Keeping abreast of industry trends isn't just good for business, it may even help you earn a much-deserved promotion in the future.

Ignoring Other Crucial Areas and Skills

If you thought IT was just about networking and data communications, think again. There will be times when you'll need to put your project management prowess to the test. You might be asked to address a group of non-IT employees on infrastructure changes. You may have team obligations to fulfill, or you might lead the charge on handling department communications.

Being multifaceted never hurt anyone. The more you can do, the more valuable you become to your employer. IT roles often have to dip into other skillsets to do the best job possible, and it never hurts to keep your non-IT-related skills sharp and ready.

Not Planning for Your Future in IT

Are you aspiring for a C-level position, or at least department head? Chances are, if this is your first IT job, you weren't hired into your dream position. That's okay, most folks aren't. What is important, however, is that you have some inkling as to where you want to end up, and then understand what you need to do to get there.

For example, if you want to become department manager in five years, what will you need to accomplish first? Who do you need to connect with? What skills and training are required? How can you best showcase your talents that will prove you're capable of such a role?

If you're fine with an entry level IT position, keep it. But you're interested in moving up the IT ladder, having a roadmap ahead of time can help you avoid detours and dead ends.

Refusing to Adapt

Do you still use the phone book to find an exterminator in your area? Do you still write down all your friends' and family's phone number in an address book? Do you still play that same tired Beach Boys cassette tape in your car? No?

Why not?

Other than the fact that those relics would be difficult to find these days, you may have realized there are better ways to accomplish those tasks.

The same mindset should accompany you on your IT journey, though the rate of adaption might seem in overdrive. Things change quickly in IT, whether it's new software or security or learning new compliance regulations.

Just because you may like doing things a certain way, or believe one method to be easier than learning another, doesn't mean it's the best way. Be open-minded to change - there's going to be lots of it.

Forgoing Ongoing Education Opportunities

There's always something new to learn, especially in fast-paced IT. However, there's a difference between someone who learns via office memos and emails and someone who seeks out new information on their own.

New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes - Image 2

The latter type is the one who will move up quickly, by the way.

You may have graduated from college, but the learning process is never over. The more you take initiative to learn about new products, processes, changes, advancements, or other helpful industry knowledge, the more your boss will be looking at you for promotion.

Failing to Observe Competitors

As an entry level IT professional, you might not believe it's your job to keep up with what your competitors are doing. That's marketing's job, right?

Actually, it's everyone's responsibility to keep the company's best interest at heart, and that includes understanding how your competitors may be getting ahead in the IT realm.

Since business success is so dependent on IT functions, competing with rival companies on the IT front can demonstrate success in other areas. Everything from website speed and functionality to possible data breaches could kill a company's reputation, and IT plays a big role in that.

If you can keep a watchful eye on your competitors and share your findings with the right people, they'll remember you for it.

Not Partnering with a Coach or Mentor

When you think coach or mentor in your new role, your supervisor might immediately come to mind. But he or she is not the only one you can look to for guidance.

New to IT? Avoid These 7 Rookie Mistakes - Image 3

If there's someone in your department who your boss relies on or who is noticed by the "higher-ups," follow their example. Pick their brain, learn about your new company, ask for advice, or anything else you can learn from them that will help you in your new role.

If you aren't sure if such a person exists in your company, ask your supervisor if they know of someone. You can also join online IT forums to ask questions of others in your industry or share your own thoughts.

In Closing

IT is arguably one of the most stressful careers in today's job market. However, it's also one of the most in-demand fields, which means if you can prove your worth, you'll have plenty of work. Hang in there - you'll have that first year behind you in no time.

Author: Alli Hill is a freelance writer and content marketer for NoStop Ghost Writing.

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