Aligning Your Career Goals to the Current IT Job Market
Towards the end of 2021, a survey from recruiting and training platforms TalentLMS and Workable revealed that 72 percent of IT workers were thinking of quitting their jobs in the next 12 months, with 41 percent of respondents stating their jobs had limited career progression.
No one should have to wait for their dream job, especially in uncertain times such as these. If you are looking for a new technology job, 2022 presents many opportunities for career growth. However, to ensure your job is one you enjoy for years to come, current job seekers may benefit from evaluating where a potential employer fits in their ideal career path, and potentially realigning their career goals with the current demand for IT specialists.
The Current IT Market Favors Those Looking for Change
The market for IT professionals is growing exponentially as more organizations undergo digital transformation. The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), a nonprofit research organization, reported a 15 percent increase in technology-related job vacancies from March 2021 to September 2021, with 1.2 million active job postings. Furthermore, LinkedIn data shows that in January 2022, there had been a 38 percent year-over-year increase in hiring in the software and IT services sector.
In addition, a recent Gartner report estimates that worldwide IT spending will reach a high of $4.5 trillion in 2022—an increase of 5.1 percent from 2021. This forecast suggests there will continue to be a massive number of available IT jobs in the months to come.
It is understandable, then, that nearly 80 percent of IT professionals are optimistic about their career prospects in 2022, according to CompTIA. As technology progresses, and the Great Resignation continues to drive greater demand for professionals in the IT field, now is a great time for technologists to assess their short- and long-term IT career goals. The research shows IT professionals are in high demand, and those seeking new opportunities have many options in front of them.
How Current Trends Should Inform Your IT Career Goals
For technology professionals who are curious about which direction to continue growing their career, current trends can help inform that decision.
In contrast from just a few months ago, Research from CompTIA observes that many companies’ IT operations are returning to the strategic focus embraced pre-COVID. The pandemic itself meant technical professionals worked on immediate, urgent needs to support companies’ technical infrastructure and digital needs from a more tactical perspective. Now, leaders are looking to technology initiatives that can help them stay competitive.
As a result, where many companies have traditionally depended upon technical generalists who can focus on IT support, they are now seeking specialists, particularly in infrastructure, software development, cybersecurity, and data.
Reinforcing this data, Gartner research predicts continued emergence and adoption of new enterprise technologies well into 2023, including infrastructure and platform services, network, IT automation, security, digital workplace, and storage and database systems.
The takeaway from this research is that IT professionals should continue to focus on their field of choice to position themselves for growth, taking every opportunity to gain experience that will make them more attractive to companies who need specialized, advanced skillsets.
Employers also emphasize the need for tech professionals to understand the impact of their work on a company’s strategy and objectives. Jobseekers with strong soft skills like business acumen, leadership, and communication skills, and whose strengths complement organizational goals will ultimately see the fastest career growth.
Identifying Your IT Career Goals
Besides a strict focus on whether one has the right technical and soft skills to carry out the requirements of a role, it is also critical for jobseekers to consider whether a position will provide them with room to grow professionally.
A McKinsey study from earlier in the pandemic revealed 70 percent of employees say their purpose is defined by work. In addition, two-thirds say they’ve reflected on their life purpose because of the pandemic. Harvard Business Review observes that this shift in perspective is causing professionals to be more intentional in their job search. Successful job hunting goes beyond simply matching up skills and experiences with a posted job description, and taps into an individual’s values, motivations, and long-term goals.
As you seek new opportunities in the technology field, it is important to reflect on your long-term professional goals, standards, and expectations, evaluating each company and position accordingly. Understand who you need to “be” in your career, not just what you can do.
While it’s important to find a position that checks all your boxes for the time being, it is equally as important to remain agile in your career. This involves staying curious, seizing every opportunity for learning, and being willing to adapt. These are particularly important traits as the business world continues to shift in response to pandemic and post-pandemic trends.
Find Success in Setting and Achieving Career Goals
Technology continues to evolve, and this shift in the workplace continues to open new doors for IT professionals. As tempting as it might be to join the rush of the Great Resignation, take time to pause and reflect on what you would like your life and career to look like in five, ten, or even twenty years from now. How do current market trends inform that decision? If you want a change, consider reassessing your career goals with your employer or recruiter.