The tech industry is a critical element of Canada’s infrastructure and it’s growing year on year. Encompassing a wide range of sectors, the IT industry is as varied as it is lucrative. From software and services to computer forensics, there are numerous specialities and sub-sectors to explore.

With such a variation in career options, it’s not surprising that so many people choose to work in the industry. While there is an increasing number of job opportunities in the sector, you may face stiff competition when it comes to landing the most coveted roles. However, you can enhance your success by taking a proactive approach to your career. If you want to know how to succeed in the IT industry, take a look at these top tips now:

1. Get the Right Qualifications

Many people begin their careers by obtaining an undergraduate degree in a related discipline, such as Information Technology or Computer Engineering. While a bachelor’s degree will give you the foundation you need to secure entry to a graduate training scheme or to undertake entry-level roles, you may want to complete further study if you aspire to a managerial role.

By completing a Master of Computer Science programme, for example, you can develop advanced skills, as well as gaining theoretical and ethical knowledge that will help to shape your future career. To find out more about the benefits of obtaining a Master of Computer Science qualification, check out this blog post.

Remember – you don’t have to enroll on a postgrad course straight after completing a bachelor’s degree. You may choose to return to formal study after a period of working in the industry, for example. If so, completing your qualification online gives you the flexibility you need to keep working as you complete your studies.

2. Gain Experience

No matter what job you choose to do, gaining experience is an essential element of building a successful career. When it comes to the ICT industry, you’ll want to have a broad overview of what various roles entail, as well as a more in-depth insight into what your preferred specialities involve.

Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult to gain experience in the industry as you might think. As well as formal work experience programmes, you can undertake voluntary projects in order to get the experience you need to succeed. Working with other aspiring professionals, contributing to open-source projects and building your own professional profile will help you to establish yourself in the industry and get the valuable experience you need to join the workforce.

Even when you’ve been working in the ICT sector for some time, it’s always beneficial to get additional experience in areas outside your specialism. As well as highlighting your motivation, this can help you to prime yourself for promotion and give you a better understanding of the interconnected specialities that surround your own department.

3. Become a Leader

For many people, a successful career means moving towards a managerial or leadership role. As you achieve your goals, for example, you may become eligible for a position as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), IT Director or Vice President of Engineering.

Before this, however, you’ll need to hone your leadership skills and prove that you’re capable of taking on additional responsibility and managing teams. In an early stage in your career, you can do this voluntarily. By taking on extra tasks, informally supporting your colleagues and marking yourself out as a problem solver, you can highlight just how suited to leadership you are.

As you become more experienced, you’ll find yourself in a position to apply for more senior roles, such as a Team Supervisor or Project Manager. Subsequently, you may be considered for a role as a Department Leader or Project Director. By gradually taking on more responsibility and actively seeking out promotions, you can nurture the skills and opportunities you’ll need to succeed as a leader in the ICT industry.

4. Predict the Future

Okay, so you won’t be required to actually predict the future, but you will need to have a good idea of where your sector is heading. Technology evolves quickly, so understanding how your speciality will develop will ensure you’re well-placed to become part of its future. Furthermore, choosing a specialism that is expected to grow, rather than decline, will increase your job security.

There’s no doubt that technology will continue to be a vital part of society, on every level. However, the exact applications and possibilities remain somewhat unknown. The speed at which tech develops means we’re welcoming new innovations all the time. Keeping your finger on the pulse and staying up to date with industry news will help to give you the insight you need to enjoy a successful IT career over the next five, 10 or 20 years.

5. Business Knowledge

As an IT professional, you’ll need to have in-depth knowledge of your role and your specialism to succeed. If you’re a cyber security analyst, for example, you’ll need to know which threats are emerging and how to protect against them. However, you’ll also need to know how your role and your speciality fits into a larger business landscape.

Whether you’re working for a single employer or on behalf of numerous clients, being able to identify their objectives and understand their commercial goals will allow you to see how you contribute to these aims. By doing so, you’ll be able to increase the amount of value you offer and, therefore, become an essential member of the team.

Building a Tech Career

There is no doubt that the tech industry is an exciting environment to work in. No matter what your interests or specialities, working with other tech professionals gives you the opportunity to collaborate and deliver designs, products and services that will have a major impact on society as we know it. While any career can be demanding and stressful at times, a career in the tech industry can be fulfilling, challenging and highly rewarding too.