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6 ways to take your career in tech to the next level
Thursday, August 18th, 2022
Having a growth mindset is key to a long and satisfying career in tech. Whether you work in tech or are an IT professional in another field, the chances are you may be looking to advance into a management role.
Acquiring the skills, knowledge and experience needed for career progression at higher levels, however, can be tricky. Management roles are often reserved for candidates with managerial experience, strong networks and a wider knowledge of the sector.
Luckily, it is possible to gain practical skills in management without prior experience and grow your network online to land the job of your dreams. To stand in better stead for management positions and take your career in tech to the next level, consider our six recommendations below.
1. Attend tech-focused industry events
As well as putting you in touch with a new circle of professional peers, technology industry events are a great way to pick up new knowledge and learn about industry developments.
Whether virtually or in-person, spending time with like-minded tech professionals can help you gain a broader perspective on how your skill set compares to your peers’ and locate the leading professionals in your field. Through this, you can acquire new knowledge to implement in your own role and showcase your passion.
Exciting upcoming technology events in the UK include the Digital Transformation EXPO (DTX), London Tech Week and Cloudflare Connect among numerous others.
2. Network online
Every day is a networking day for a tech professional. An important part of building a career in tech, networking allows for stronger professional relationships and more development opportunities.
Virtual networking can also be a legitimate way to connect. LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network allowing you to connect with colleagues and employers (past and present) to multiply your chances of being seen and considered for new roles and opportunities.
You can also join technology career groups or online alumni communities via other social media platforms such as Facebook and Reddit to stay up to date with networking opportunities and follow the latest industry trends.
By following niche organisations that are relevant to your interests within your sector, you’re more likely to find relevant opportunities. A great example of this is the UK organisation Women in Tech, which runs regular events and meetups for women from diverse backgrounds with a passion for technology. As well as networking, you’ll also find these groups useful for career advice and other resources.
Enrolling on our leadership programme could also offer opportunities to become part of a broad peer group of professionals from all over the world. In our online, part-time Business in Tech MSc for example, our students network and share ideas via online discussions, interactive sessions, chat groups and more.
3. Grow leadership experience
At the top of the list of requirements for hiring managers looking to fill management positions is leadership experience. Even if you aren’t currently in a management role, there are various ways to develop and showcase this.
One way to build leadership experience is to take the lead on a project in your current workplace. By taking on added responsibility you are proving yourself as a self-starter and, at the same time, gaining the skills needed to manage people effectively.
Another more structured route to growing leadership experience is to enrol on a management and leadership course such as our Business in Tech Masters programme at Ulster which offers a flexible way to gain a professional qualification (PG Cert, PG Dip or MSc) alongside your existing commitments.
On the Business in Tech MSc, you’ll gain practical IT leadership training on project-based modules such as ‘Consultancy in Practice’ and ‘Transformation in Practice’ developing confidence and expertise in people management along the way.
4. Upskill your technical expertise
Thanks to developments in online learning, modern professionals don’t need to take long career breaks in order to upskill. Instead of quitting your job and returning to campus, you can now consider online, part-time study options that allow you to balance your existing commitments alongside your chosen course.
On programmes such as Ulster’s Business in Tech MSc, you’ll learn new skills and hone existing ones, using the qualification to bolster your CV and gain a competitive edge. By upskilling, you will also be in a stronger position to negotiate a higher salary from an existing employer or achieve a promotion.
Upskilling doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money on online courses. Your existing employer may even cover the (full or partial) cost of the programme, with some negotiation on your part. Ask your manager about your company’s learning and development budget and the potential for sponsorship to upskill on a part-time course.
5. Look for speaker opportunities
As a tech professional, it’s likely you spend a lot of time in front of a screen. To propel your career in tech forward, however, you should think about getting away from the computer and into a crowd.
Being open to speaker opportunities can enable you to stand out in a competitive industry and improve your industry prospects by making people aware of you and your expertise. By pushing yourself to speak about your passion and profession in front of an audience you are also building your communication skills among prospective employers, clients and investors.
Additionally, organising your own networking event, tradeshow or conference would allow you to prove your organisational and leadership abilities, gaining exposure and trust among fellow professionals.
6. Undertake a Business in Tech Masters
Over and above other online leadership courses designed for the tech sector, the Business in Tech MSc, delivered by Ulster University Business School (UUBS), is one of the most comprehensive ways to boost your tech career without the need for a career break.
The course can be tailored to the specific needs of yourself and/or your organisation, with flexible entry and exit points depending on your desired qualification.
The Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) in Business Analysis and Consulting can be completed in a minimum of eight months of part-time study to gain expertise in client and stakeholder management, as well as practical consulting experience.
The Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Transformation Management and Leadership delves deeper into digital transformation leadership, covering everything included in the PG Cert, plus additional modules in digital transformation, tech operations, strategy and leadership over a minimum of 16 months.
The full Masters (MSc) in Business in Tech offers the most extensive education, allowing you to hone your tech leadership skills, alongside business research and management of complex projects.
How to build a career in tech
The beauty of a career in tech is that nothing stays the same. Professionals in the industry should stay abreast of technological transformation, learning new processes and systems as they come about.
Adaptivity is a key trait of any successful tech professional, and if you remain flexible and open-minded to new developments in your industry, you’ll maximise your chances of career success.
Ulster University aims to support busy professionals in lifelong learning with a range of industry-ready programmes. The Business in Tech MSc is specifically geared towards- IT professionals and those in the tech sector looking to boost their career opportunities.