Looking to advance your tech career in 2019? This is the perfect time to make some resolutions. The key is to start small, because setting overly ambitious goals is a recipe for failure; the more specific your goals, the higher your chances of success. At the same time, you must choose goals that will have a material impact on your career.
In case you need some inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of the career resolutions that every tech pro should make for 2019.
Develop and Enhance Your Soft Skills (One at a Time)
When Google analyzed its hiring, firing, and promotion data to determine the eight most important qualities of its top-performing employees, STEM expertise came in dead last. Thanks to extensive research, the most valuable skills Google now looks for in job candidates include:
- Being a good coach.
- Communicating and listening well.
- Possessing insights into others (social awareness).
- Empathy and support toward colleagues.
- Critical thinking.
- Problem solving.
- Connecting complex ideas.
Acquiring any (or all) of those soft skills could boost your job effectiveness and market appeal. However, the acquisition isn’t a rapid process; because soft skills are mostly learned from observing others and forming new behaviors, it’s better to deconstruct each skill into small, manageable pieces and focus your time and energy on mastering one piece (and skill) at a time.
Add Cybersecurity Skills to Your Toolbox
Whether you are responsible for preventing network intrusion, developing software or mobile apps, or managing and maintaining multiple databases, adding cybersecurity skills such as intrusion detection, encryption or security protocols to your list of competencies in early 2019 can boost your career prospects (and pay) for years to come.
According to Spiceworks’ 2019 State of IT Careers report, cybersecurity know-how is the top skill IT departments will seek out in 2019, so tech pros looking to get ahead would be wise to learn more about protecting computer networks, advised Peter Tsai, a senior technology analyst for the company.
Learning more about artificial intelligence (A.I.) will also prove valuable. “Our research indicates that, behind security, artificial intelligence expertise will be highly coveted by large enterprises (5,000+ employees) next year, making learning more about AI a good resolution for IT professionals to make in 2019,” Tsai added.
Become a DevOps Pro
If you haven’t already done so, vowing to embrace the DevOps movement and approach could jumpstart your career, especially if you work for a mid-size company. According to Spiceworks, midsize companies (of 500 to 999 employees) are more likely to seek candidates with DevOps skills in 2019, while smaller companies are more likely to prioritize hiring tech pros with end user hardware and infrastructure expertise.
Grow Your Career by Helping Others
You probably know that expanding your professional network can open doors and create connections that accelerate your career. But vowing to help others advance is actually a more effective way to jumpstart your success. That’s because reciprocity is the foundation that fosters professional growth and relationship-building. Resolving to help others in your network will establish you as a leader and deliver ample returns in 2019 and beyond.
Challenge Yourself to Do One New Thing
Deep down, every tech pro knows what skill they need to master in order to advance their career, noted Jason Alba, Pluralsight author and CEO of JibberJobber.
“When I speak with tech pros at conferences, they always know what skill or process they need to work on to get ahead,” he said. “However, they either procrastinate or claim that they are too busy and stressed out to spend their downtime learning.”
So whether you need to invest time in learning DevOps, blockchain programming or blogging about application security techniques to elevate your career—just do it. Make achieving that all-important, career-changing resolution your top priority for the coming year.