This story was written by Keith Dawson for UBM DeusM’s community Web site Business Agility, sponsored by IBM. It is archived here for informational purposes only because the Business Agility site is no more. This material is Copyright 2012 by UBM DeusM.

Staying Employable in IT

A baker's dozen of skills and topics of which the agile IT pro will be on top.

IT workers need to stay agile in their habits of professional and personal growth, especially in times of accelerating technological change such as the one we are living through.

How many times have you heard this line? "New technologies and automation will free people from having to do boring, repetitive jobs and enable them to concentrate on higher-value, more creative endeavors." How often does this happen? Most of the time, it seems, the people whose boring, repetitive tasks are automated end up with a pink slip instead of a cushier job that offers them plenty of time to think about how things could be improved.

The blog post linked above got me to thinking about how IT workers can safeguard their livelihood in times of economic doldrums, shrinking budgets, and the challenges presented by consumerization, IaaS, PaaS, "NoOps," and so on. The standard advice is "Keep your skills up to date." But how does that translate in practice, exactly?

A good place to start is this post listing skills entry-level workers mostly don't have but should. These are topics on which new IT graduates are often less than fully informed when they walk in the door, because they are not taught in schools. Some of these skills might seem elementary if you have been out in the workplace for a while, but they represent a useful set of requirements for anyone who wants to survive, let alone thrive, in a corporate IT setting.

Beyond the basics, what else is good to know? Look around this site and take note of what we write about every day. The more you know about these current hot buttons, and their impact on organizations, the better you will be positioned in the job market.

What else matters for continued employability? Please let us know in the comments.