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Career traps in IT

Martyna Grunt-Mejer
Martyna Grunt-Mejer Team Leader IT & ReX Leader

Some experienced candidates find it extremely difficult to find a new job. Despite the fact that they are educated, ambitious and enthusiastic people - they are not attractive candidates for most employers. This was often due to one wrong decision in their professional life - they fell into one of the career pitfalls observed by Antal consultants.

The IT industry is evolving rapidly and employers are looking for skills in combinations that match their future needs. A successful career doesn't just happen, and traditional career management tips won't apply in today's professional world. Everything is moving forward, so every working unit should focus on securing their own future and avoid career pitfalls - how to do it? 

#1 Local IT Skills 

For a long time, and especially after the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has been seen that all roads lead to cloud-based services. Companies create remote work environments that reduce the need for IT employees working in corporate offices. Employees whose skills focus on physical equipment or older systems may sooner than later find that their career opportunities are limited. The same applies to people who do not have specialist knowledge on hot topics such as cybersecurity, cloud, etc. Of course, it can be assumed that the demand for basic programming and operational skills will not disappear, but will not make employees stand out in the labor market either. 

If your business is not using the latest technology, find another that does. Don't be in the same position for more than two years. Your skills will become obsolete, and it will be much harder to walk away when you finally realize that next-generation technology has already missed you. 

#2 One programming language 

People who are flexible in the context of the choice of technology are sought - this is a sentence that appears more and more often in client-recruiter communication. People who are fluent in the particular programming languages they use today may feel safe, but the need to know several languages will increase in the coming years. In the past, a developer could have used one technology for a decade, the current pace of change and innovation is causing popular languages or frameworks to start losing users. Currently, all leading companies add several programming languages to job descriptions, in the desired skills. Experienced programmers can switch 100% to a new technology stack in a matter of months. 

Plan where you want to be in five years. What experiences will you need to qualify for this position? Now go back in time. How will you get this experience? Do you need to expand your knowledge? Do you have to work with different technologies? 

#3 Lack of soft skills 

Cultural fit, personality matching to the team is another thing that resonates during recruitment processes. Even though strong technical skills are essential in any IT-related position, soft skills are also important. Technology teams require a high level of collaboration. IT staff must explain technical processes in a way that is clear and understandable to customers and employers. Frequent complications or unexpected changes in the project require from the candidates flexibility and creativity in finding solutions. The boundaries between IT and business are also blurring. Being purely technical without the ability to talk to leaders about the future of a project can become a growing challenge. Each of us has many of the skills required, the key is to recognize their importance, learn how to present them on your CV, in an interview, and in collaboration with your teammates. 

There is no one particular way to develop these skills. There are some courses you can attend, but most of these skills are developed through the projects you work on. Make sure you have the opportunity to learn these skills as part of your long-term plans. 

#4 #Programmer15k 

# programmer15k - popular # in the IT industry, i.e. a person who earns 15,000 zlotys in this profession. A real dream of candidates taking their first steps in IT. Offers at this level appear in almost every specialization. It is not new that the offered spreads are a key element of any recruitment process. Rotation in IT companies and the constant need for programmers make companies raise rates, thus giving themselves a chance for quick employment, often turning a blind eye to technical deficiencies. Candidates seeing certain limits set their expectations at the upper level and fall into the trap. Increasingly, the only motivation to change jobs is remuneration. In this way, candidates make ill-considered decisions, cut themselves off from positions and companies that offer a real opportunity for development, access to the latest technologies and, above all, gaining experience, which will certainly lead to being a # programmer25k one day. 

Find out how much other people with similar experience and skills earn. This can be done by searching job websites or by asking in job forums. Conducting job interviews in other companies. This can be difficult to do while you still have a job and it doesn't always work, but it can be a good way to find out how much other companies are willing to pay you. 

#5 Burnout 

 IT workers can be particularly at risk of burnout as IT is by nature an industry under pressure. Long working hours, development sprints, and high hopes for fundraising can add to stress that, over time, can bother even the most passionate employees. While it's important to remember that severe stress and burnout are not the same, it is stress that contributes to burnout. A stressed professional can work hard to get everything done, a burned out professional can do nothing anymore - he has nothing to offer. The state of burnout is detrimental not only to professional life, but also to family life, and to the overall motivation to participate in everyday life. No job is worth it to burn out. If you are experiencing what you think is burnout, be sure to seek professional help. 

Burnout must be prevented before it occurs. In particular, you need to ensure a work-life balance. This means that you should pay attention to whether you are spending too much time at work. At home, you should participate in activities other than work. It is also important to reduce stress. This can be done with the help of relaxation activities - yoga or fitness. 

Martyna Grunt - Mejer, Team Leader Antal IT / ReX Leader

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