Build your skills, slowly and deliberately

Build your skills, slowly and deliberately

I graduated from college with an IT degree back in 2004 and was lucky enough to secure a 1st level support job not long after that. Over the last 11 years I have worked my way up and along the IT industry but I now how the job title of “Technical Consultant”, by no means does this mean I know everything but I have a certain wealth of self-taught and mentored learning under my belt. I’m proud of my achievements and strive daily to learn and expand my skillset, however recently I’ve seen a lot of younger guys come in and expect to be doing Senior IT roles within 6 months of graduating from college. My advice to them always it to take your time building up your skills slowly and deliberately.

Just because you’ve used a product for a week does not mean you know it, you need to get a couple of years of managing that product in a production environment under load before you can truly know a product.  You need to combine your knowledge with experience otherwise it’s useless in my eyes.  Unfortunately there is no quick way of gaining experience you need to be patience and slog it out, and no amount of training can compensate for the lack of experience.

A common mistake among the junior staff is that they are doing the same job as the senior technicians in their teams. This ultimately isn’t true, junior staff receive a lot more support than they release and if they were thrown into the deep end they would unfortunately flounder.  Be confident but don’t be over cocky.

I always say that IT is no different to any other job, if you were learning a trade such as plumbing you’d spend your first few years being an apprentice, learning the basics, soaking up knowledge from your mentor before gradually moving onto doing jobs yourself.  The same is true for IT.  Don’t try and skip the 1st level support jobs because you deem them boring, take that job, learn from it, build yourself a good foundation of knowledge and customer service.  Then progress to the next level. Take your time.

Learn from the jobs you can get, please don’t try and run before you walk you will get there.  You will get that much coveted Senior position when you are ready.  You have 30-40 years ahead of you, don’t rush it.  Build your skills, slowly and deliberately.