How to Help Less-Experienced Tech Pros SucceedBy Guest Author | Posted 2014-12-08 Print
Acting as an unofficial mentor to less-experienced IT workers helps them grow as professionals, and fosters positive team dynamics and an individual work ethic.
By Shravan Goli
For those fresh out of college or making their first career jump into technology, finding comfort and success in a new position can be challenging. Between learning the ins and outs of a new role and trying to make a good impression, these less-experienced tech professionals can get lost in the shuffle—and that doesn’t help with retention or career growth.
Acting as an unofficial mentor helps develop these tech newbies as professionals. It also fosters positive team dynamics and an individual work ethic.
Focus less-experienced tech professionals’ efforts on finding individual projects that align with some of the overall company’s short and long-term goals. For programmers, this might involve writing lines of code for an important project. For developers, it could include actively participating in brainstorming sessions for new product development initiatives. Setting personal goals helps showcase individual talent and foster a feeling of ownership and connection to the broader business.
Asking for help is something that many professionals are hesitant to do. There’s a reason sites like StackOverflow are successful, and that’s partly due to the inquisitive community and partly due to professionals who need answers from other skilled tech pros.
There’s no reason you can’t create an inquisitive environment within your own organization. With that in mind, assign “homework” that requires your colleagues to ask questions during meetings, such as having them follow up with you after a new software training session. While it may seem like homework in the beginning, over time, it will encourage open dialogue and motivate young professionals to speak up if anything is unclear.
Encourage new tech professionals to build strong relationships within your own team and with the broader enterprise. For instance, a member of the finance department might have an issue that could be resolved with a technology solution. The process for the new tech pro could be researching a solution or even developing an alternative in-house.
In another instance, the marketing department might need more insight into analytics. Simply reaching across cubicle lines opens opportunities and builds a stronger, more connected organization.
Keeping skills up to date through learning or training courses is constantly noted in Dice surveys as important to tech professionals. As a manger, encouraging professional development through education shows you’re invested in your employees.
Being too busy is never an excuse to maintain the status quo. Instead, implement quarterly "learning days" that are mandatory for your colleagues. Go bigger by holding an annual office hackathon in which teams can work on a project they haven’t had time to focus on because of daily tasks. These are both great ways to endorse professional education and cultivate creativity within your team and organization.
With any new manager/employee relationship, there’s going to be a learning curve. Setting expectations up front and stressing open communication flattens that curve for everyone.
Shravan Goli is the president of Dice, a respected career site that brings together in-demand technology professionals and tech-powered companies. An Internet and media veteran, Goli is responsible for executing the growth strategy for Dice.com, ClearanceJobs and the Slashdot Media brands. @shravangoli
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