What does it take to succeed in IT?

Manpower SA Managing Director, Lyndy van den Barselaar.
Manpower SA Managing Director, Lyndy van den Barselaar.
Manpower SA Managing Director, Lyndy van den Barselaar.

In terms of potential for excitement and career advancement, few industries hold as much promise as the IT industry.

With the millions being invested in the industry every day, the change is so rapid that those who live on the cutting edge have no idea what their job title will be in two years’ time, but they can be reasonably sure that they will have a job and that their salaries will grow with each time a new job title is defined.

The IT and tech industry is certainly capable of accommodating different personalities because of the many different vocations in the field, but there are certainly some characteristics that could make one stand out and realise the best job opportunities, aside from technical knowledge. Workforce solutions provider Manpower South Africa talent management solutions provider Profiles International South Africa take a look at the most important personality traits for those looking to enter this ever-evolving industry, according to certain assessment criteria.

“As technology continues to develop, the human race becomes increasingly dependent on it. Not only do we use smart devices to communicate with one another, but go as far as to use our smart devices as calendars, note books and photo albums, to name just a few. Additionally, most modern businesses would not be able to operate without the use of technology,” states Manpower South Africa MD, Lyndy van den Barselaar.

This is the reason why technically competent people will always be in high demand. These individuals display an aptitude for technology from a young age; not just in using the technology, but also in the nuts and bolts behind the interface.

“Technical and mechanical interest are obviously important attributes for those who want to achieve the most from a career in IT and other technology dependent fields,” says Mark Cunningham, CEO of Profiles International South Africa. “Those who provide a technical service to others need to understand that they are often solving a problem that is highly time sensitive. This means that they would be required to have the interpersonal skills to explain a problem quickly and clearly, and be able to make an instant, accurate judgment about how long it would take to fix. This translates into objective judgment skills and an accommodating personality.”

He notes that other useful personality traits for those seeking a profession in IT include high energy, manageability and independence.

Because of the high premium that clients place on technology, they often need reassurance that their assets are in good hands. This means that IT practitioners need to be highly knowledgeable about their subject, able to work well independently or within a team and need to be able to manage their role in a project successfully. This will not only assure clients that you are passionate and professional about your area of expertise, but also that you may have an advantage over your competition – a trait that will become increasingly important as competition increases.

Another vitally important trait for a techie is adaptability and a commitment to lifelong learning. Knowledge in this industry is changing at such a rapid pace that existing competency becomes out-dated at a dizzying pace. It also means that the door is constantly wide open to new entrants.

Those who will come out on top are those who work to acquire new skills and qualifications almost continually, as technology becomes more important to the success of any business and the economies of countries.

“The IT and Technical industry is one that is currently experiencing a large degree of growth, as the world moves to a more technology and information-driven way of living and working,” says van den Barselaar. “The industry is becoming one of the most important, as it intercepts with almost every other industry to some degree.”

Therefore, in future, the question will not be whether or not to go into IT, but how much IT knowledge you need to do your job, no matter what field you work in.

By Manpower SA Managing Director, Lyndy van den Barselaar