Looking back, I can’t say that I thought what my dad did for a living was “cool,” or “exciting,” and I’m pretty sure I never thought I would end up doing the same thing. But, here I am, and I have honestly grown to love my job.
Imagine my surprise when I ran across this listing from Glassdoor that ranks the 25 best jobs in America. Of the 25 listed, half are positions that make our industry hum! That’s pretty remarkable for a number of reasons: Our skill sets are regarded as valuable and desirable; professionals in our industry provide a wide range of work that enriches people’s lives; and the growth potential in this sector is tremendous. I admit, it made me feel a part of a winning team, and sincerely thankful that life led me to a place I didn’t envision for myself when I was young.
Turns out, technology is pretty cool and exciting… and within today’s world, it accounts for a sizable portion of the demand for our services. As shifts continue toward a new normal involving increased wifi capability, the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart buildings, it’s easy to see how many of our jobs will be considered some of the “best” for a long time.
So, how do we continue to be successful? What skills deserve extra time and energy to raise the bar for our profession? Looking at a handful of current job postings and coaching recommendations, here are some common threads. Make note that the majority touch on human interaction, rather than individual capabilities:
1. Technical Skills: From computers, to various configurations of software and hardware, to applications and R&D, it’s up to us to stay current – and also knowledgeable enough to anticipate and prepare for future trends.
2. Interpersonal Skills: Regardless of title or job description, what we do every day is enable a solution that will make someone’s life easier. To do that, we need to listen well, speak well, and write well. Communication is the key.
3. Organizational Skills: Whether you are laying the cable, implementing the data center, or making the components – details matter! Establishing and utilizing a process that allows for every factor and variable is critical to sustainability.
4. Independence and Curiosity: I think back to my dad again, and so many other pioneers in this industry, and they were all self-starters who shared a natural curiosity for how things work, and how to make things better. These inherent personal preferences are definitely a hallmark of our field.
Use 2016 to boost your own professional growth, as well as those around you. Find classes and seminars that will enhance what you have to offer – as an individual, and as a team. Invite professionals into your workplace to expand your knowledge (much like Capital Electric does with our bi-monthly Lunch and Learns!). Go for that certification or degree you’ve been considering. Making the time to invest in yourself is also an investment in our industry, and our country’s collective future… and that’s the best possible thing for everyone.
Following are a few resources to investigate for advanced education: