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Taking it to the top in IT

Jessica Jasch | Dec 22, 2015

What does it take to reach the top in the IT industry? Is it willpower? Intelligence? Education? Work ethic? We take a look at what experts at the top of their field had in common, and their advice on how everyone from contractors to executives can improve their career.

In a recent series of surveys by Hays, over 200 people at a CIO level in their industry answered questions about their background, education and careers.

The "CIO DNA"

One of the most consistent similarities between those asked was the level of experience they had. Nearly half of all participants had over 20 years of experience in IT, and 40 per cent had only ever worked in IT.

While staying in the profession, many certainly did not stay in one place for long. The majority of CIOs have worked outside of Australia in the past. Pursuing this path is made far easier with the correct research into adequate career mobility services.

Julie Bale, CIO of the Bank of Queensland, describes how a varied experience even within the industry is valuable.

"There's no straight path from A to Z. Some of my best career moves have been sideways," she said.

This further emphasises the importance of experience, perseverance and adaptability, no matter what stage of your career you are at.

Never stop learning

According to Deloitte's 2015 global survey of CIOs, there were several major leadership capabilities required for success in the role. These included influence, talent management and communication skills, among others.

However, nearly every CIO surveyed acknowledged that they lacked at least one of these critical skills. It is apparent that even at the top, one should always be aware of what you still need to learn.

You won't win on technicality

Leadership continues to be incredibly important for every industry, and no more so than for a CIO. Technical skills are a must for contractors and employees, but to reach the top it is a necessity to develop good leadership skills.

In Gartner's 2015 CIO Agenda Report, 75 per cent of all current CIOs are planning to change their leadership style over the next three years. This is intended to better align with new technology and new strategies.

But one must never forget the importance of organisation. Whether you are in human resources and require contractor management options, or a contractor on the look out for career mobility, it is always important to make sure you invest beyond the realms of pure technical skill.

Variation, the chance and willingness to learn, and a lack of technical tunnel vision will serve you well at every level of the IT profession.

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