• Give your IT career a lift for 2022


This is the time when lot of us make our new year's resolutions. For a lot of us, that means shrinking our midriffs by hitting the gym (at least until February). For smart CIOs and IT managers, though, it's an opportunity to give your career a health check and begin building new opportunities. Here are five resolutions that could make all the difference to your professional standing in the next 12 months.

Build a strong team

No manager excels on their own, especially in an industry as fast-moving as IT. Every head of IT that shines has a good team to support them, with employees well versed in the technologies that underpin the organisation's strategic goals.

Find the best people to support you in key strategic areas such as architecture, information management, and security. Don't rush these appointments. Better still, promote effective players from within to build morale and loyalty among those that understand the business. Appoint good people, and they'll make you look good.

Take on the tough projects

Armed with a solid team, you can embrace the difficult projects that your predecessors didn't have the stomach for. These can be less-visible strategic projects like eliminating technical debt to reduce operating costs, or more obvious ones such as cloud migration. The important part here is to be the person that responds to pressing business needs, even if it means biting off a little more than you can chew. Just make sure that the business side's expectations are realistic and that it gives you the funding you need to do the job properly.

Display integrity

Sooner or later you're going to fumble something. When IT slips up and causes trouble for the business, all is not necessarily lost. It can be an opportunity to show integrity by owning the mistake and coming up with ways to make it right. This strategy can put you in good standing with the board, as long as you don't make a habit of creating messes to clean up.

Create your brand

An effective CIO creates career opportunities by becoming well known for the right reasons. This involves some self-promotion, both inside the company and out. Internally, that all-important integrity is a winner, as is being reliable and responsive to the needs of the business. Dependable people who also know how to innovate are never short of allies.

Externally, court your vendors. Be cooperative and useful in your feedback. Inspire them to action. That's a great way to impress them, which will pay dividends when another of their clients has a career opening, they're more likely to tell you about it and even recommend you.

Know where the exit is

None of these career tips make any sense unless you understand where you want to go. What's your next move after the IT manager or CIO's chair? Some might be content with moving to the same position at a bigger company with a corresponding bump in salary. Others might have an eye on the CEO's job. These aren't the only options, though.

Consider going it alone with a career outside a single employer. This could mean a strategic advisory business where you help companies fix their IT problems and plan their digital roadmaps. Others might take on portfolio careers where they work more intimately with a handful of companies.

You could also consider the vendor route. Working for a former supplier lets you bring your customer perspective to the role while having more input into product development.

Whichever career goal you choose, these tips will help you get there a little faster. Start now, and who knows where you’ll be this time next year?

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