How to Build a Successful Career in IT

by Lizette Roman-Johnston
May 09, 2023
How to Build Successful Career in IT

It’s no secret that tech professionals have been experiencing an overwhelming amount of layoffs in 2023. In fact, there have been more layoffs in 2023 so far than in the entirety of last year. These statistics can be discouraging to those searching for job stability and career development in fields like IT.

But despite what may feel like very discouraging news, it is still a good time to pursue a career in IT. Developing a successful career in IT, however, does require certain skills and the ability to market oneself as an asset to employers. This article breaks down the crucial steps IT professionals can take to turn their skills and interests into long-term, successful careers.

Understand the IT Job Market

While it can be easy to read headlines about tech layoffs and assume you must follow a different career path, that is not the case. “I’ve seen bad job markets for tech workers, and this is not it,” says Megan Slabinski, a tech jobs expert at Robert Half. “The greatest demand and need we’re seeing for hiring right now, in almost every industry, is for tech professionals.”

There are plenty of open roles in various subcategories of IT. Cybersecurity, for example, was the least affected by IT layoffs. As technology advances in unpredictable and sometimes overwhelming ways, consumers and corporations are prioritizing the protection of their data now more than ever.

Other in-demand roles for IT professionals include:

  • Programming and application development
  • Project management
  • Help desk/technical support
  • Security/compliance governance
  • Web development
  • Database administration
  • Business intelligence/analytics
  • Mobile application and device management
  • Networking
  • Big data

To stay up to date on the latest trends in the IT field, consider populating your social media feed with thought leaders and data reporters who specialize in IT.

Develop the Right Skills for IT Jobs

Another way to set yourself up for success as an IT professional is to build the right skills and learn how to market yourself as a desirable job candidate.

First, let’s consider what technical skills are desirable for IT employees. Here are a few:

  • Proficiency in multiple programming and scripting languages
  • Programming/software development and analysis
  • Understanding the architecture and management of operating systems, visualization software, and networking

Meanwhile, there are several soft skills that give IT professionals an advantage. For example, critical thinking is a skill that comes in handy when given a tech-related problem with minimal guidance; in such a scenario, a critical thinker would consult information from past experiences and apply this knowledge to solve the issue at hand. (Read more about desirable soft skills for IT employees here.)

IT certifications and degrees are also an option for those who want to build both their technical and soft skills. This type of education can allow professionals to add their existing skill sets or even switch to different IT parallels mid-career.

When it comes down to finding work, no amount of skills will bring you success if you don’t market them effectively. Crafting a standout resume involves more than listing what you’ve done; you need to describe how you have put your skills into practice to accomplish goals.

Build Long Lasting Professional Relationships

Nurturing genuine relationships in your professional life is always a good idea. When in an environment of trust and care, professionals have an easier time navigating challenges and finding joy and community in the workplace. 

Even technology-focused careers can be nurtured by interpersonal relationships. While a role in IT may come with a lot of independence, it still requires communication with team members, supervisors, and/or clients. Anyone you work with could play a role in taking your IT career to the next level.

Networking isn’t reserved solely for job seekers. When we form any sort of connection, we are networking, even when we don’t mean to be. Long-term success is often a product of the connections we build while developing our careers, so consider how you can nurture your current and future professional relationships.


The state of the tech job market is always changing. When layoffs happen, that doesn’t mean job opportunities are necessarily going away. But when we think of our careers in the long term and build and market our skills accordingly, we can foster our own security.

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