How to make yourself a sought after IT professional amidst this pandemic
As stated in our last blog, Coronavirus unemployment: Everything you need to know about finding a IT job during a pandemic, COVID-19 has caused the biggest unemployment spike in the history of the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate increased by .9%. This is the largest over-the-month increase since January 1975.
As a result of COVID-19, many IT professionals have been laid off. As an IT professional one of the best ways to keep yourself as a sought after individual, even after you have been laid off, is to keep your IT skills up to date.
If you have been laid off, or even working with an employer who is using old tech, your skills start to become outdated which makes it much harder for you to find a job or grow your career.
In fact, we have found that if you have been out of work for more than 3 months, employers start to not even look at your resume.
So, with this being said, how can you keep your skills updated?
Follow Innovators in the IT field
A great way to learn about new technology and trends is to follow companies who are developing and using these new technologies. Not only will this help you become more knowledgeable in your field, but you may find yourself becoming more passionate about your work as this can boost your excitement for the future.
To help you get started we have compiled a list of some great resources to become an industry expert.
Set aside time to learn something new
It is very easy to get caught up in your day-to-day work. However, you can’t grow your career by being really good at outdated technical tasks. By separating yourself from your co-workers, you can grow your individual career.
To do this, you must pursue new skills and then apply them to your day-to-day work. Even if you just carve out 20 minutes a day to learn about different softwares, developer tools, framework, or operating systems, this will significantly help you keep your IT skills updated.
You can do this by watching online tutorials, taking a class, or reading a technical book.
Some great great platforms to update your IT skills include:
Start planning to attend Tech Conferences and IT Networking Events
Conferences and events are one of the best ways to gain industry insights. Although we are unable to attend any networking events currently, this is a great time to do some research on some local and national events you can look into for the future. This is where companies release new technologies, products, and projects, as well as hearing from great speakers on where they think their industry is heading. This information is very valuable for you to become an expert on your specific industry.
These events are not only a way for you to learn more about your field, but to network with other achievers in the technical world. A great technical conference for IT professionals is the Strange Loop event, which is currently scheduled for the first week of October this year.
Grow your Network
The more people you know in your IT related field, the more relevant knowledge you can obtain. Talking with friends, coworkers, and mentors is a great way to gain insights as well as understand different viewpoints on where the industry is going.
Another tip to grow your network is to take advantage of LinkedIn. Doing a simple search of your current job title, or a title you’re aspiring to acquire, can lead to many results from the search bar. Upon finding potential connections, send an initial connecting message, expressing your interest to expand your network in your specific field. If they connect back, you could send a follow up LinkedIn message asking if they’re interested in further discussion, or pursue back and forth conversation about various projects they are working on.
Online Courses and Certifications
A great resume builder as well as a way to show your employer/future employer of your individual technical skills is to gain certifications through online courses. LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and Khan Academy are all credible resources that offer inexpensive courses to help keep your technical skills up to date.
If you’re a programmer, set aside some time to write code or work on a project that relates to your IT related field. This will help keep your technical skills sharp and a fantastic way to show a future employer of skills.
To assist with this, we recommend making a free Bitbucket account. This will allow you to take advantage of repositories so you can work on your personal projects.