With summer months quickly approaching, most IT professionals look forward to the down time to be had. While a little “rest and relaxation” should be planned, and is well deserved for all those countless “need ASAP” requests and/or dealing with those pesky user errors, many IT Professionals take advantage of the downtime to further hone their skills. Think of it this way, with a little training, this year’s “day at the beach” could turn into next year’s weeks in the <enter dream destination here> via career advancement or being rewarded handsomely for providing a sizable cost cutting solution.
Understandably, most are not reading any written technical training gems while at the water’s edge of somewhere sunny with a choice beverage in hand. Should that be your “cup of tea”, more power to you, although taking a break always helps to prepare you for your next step. After said break, do however take advantage of the downtime at the office to further your IT knowledge. While utilizing books as a reference is ok, I have always preferred learning via hands-on to further my knowledge from within the IT realm. There is something to be said about going through the motions instead of reading about them to better prepare yourself in IT. Practice does make perfect and honing your skills will build your confidence when facing adversity. Those triumphs in IT usually lead to recognition, which in turn leads to promotion or taking the next step in your career.
One of the quickest ways to get noticed in IT these days, is by showing leadership in embracing the cloud. Some IT managers fear cloud technology in regards to the thought of moving one’s organization off premise, thus sending chills of IT downsizing down their back. Those who embrace the cloud properly however, would be able to reap the benefits of an always on infrastructure thus enabling said IT professional’s organization to grow exponentially through information creation and access. In the advent of “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD, enabling end users via the cloud would benefit an organization as a whole. Harnessing Windows Azure IaaS, as an example, would allow an organization to create virtual machines as needed regardless if the image is a standard or customized creation. With recent announcements made at TechEd around billing by the second instead of the hour, billing stopped for stopped virtual machines, more gateway device options when setting up a Windows Azure Virtual Network (Citrix, F5 and WatchGuard), and many other new features, ramping up knowledge around cloud technology could be that next step in your career.
Taking time out for one’s self is always a must, especially in IT, as stress build can easily become a blocker in taking that next step in your career. With that being said, do take advantage of the downtime experienced at your organization with the resources provided to better your position in IT. Next year’s dream vacation could be a result of this year’s preparation.