Dallas, Texas | 12/5/2013
By Bob Weinstein
Discovering that technology jobs are plentiful is meaningless if a person is unsure about which career path to take. We’ve all met dabblers who have tried their hands at countless tech jobs, yet never settled permanently into one they really love.
There are many reasons for job wanderlust. Often, it stems from restlessness and impatience. The result is never sticking around long enough to give a job a chance and to find the reasons why you like or hate it. Hopping from one position to another is not a good idea, because precious time could be wasted until you find a technology niche that you enjoy and that capitalizes on your talents.
“Because technology is such a huge arena, it’s impossible to sample all of the potential areas of work that exist,” said Mark A. Gilmore, president and co-founder of Wired Integrations, a San Jose, Calif.-based technology-consulting firm.
Gilmore advises techies to boil the market down to a couple of basic areas, and to ask themselves whether they like working with hardware or software. Do they prefer working alone solving problems or working on a team in a collaborative setting? Do they prefer consistency or change?
“Looking closely at these basic areas can help point you in the right direction,” Gilmore said.
If unsure about your career path, avoid randomly applying to dozens of jobs. You may land a job or an assignment, but what good is it if it leads nowhere, Gilmore asks.
Why it’s important to find a niche It’s important to find a niche because it has a positive impact on your career, said Marco Mularoni, managing director of search firm Sanford Rose Associates’ Tempe, Ariz. office.
“Having a niche will get you to your next job faster and have a positive impact on your career,” he said. “I see too many IT résumés that include every product/language that candidates have ever touched. Candidates think they will miss out on opportunities or may not come up in a search unless they list everything on their résumé.”
More important, Mularoni said, is finding out what you are really good at and passionate about. Follow cutting-edge trends, join code-specific groups, hone your skills and collaborate with others on your own time. If you lack experience, find mentors whom you can ply with questions. Ask them about hot trends and what technologies will shape the future.
Also reach out to people in your social networks, Mularoni said. “Don’t expect to get a response the first time, but a polite second try generally results in a positive response.”
New year, excellent time to retread your career If your career has been limping along, the start of a new year is the ideal time to put yourself on the right track. Think of the first two months of 2014 as a new beginning. It’s a time for contemplation, reflection and planning. What better time to find that special niche that excites you — fires your juices so that you can’t wait to get to work in the morning.