Things have changed and they’re not going back to the way they used to be. That means you have to adapt and train in order to compete with people from all over the world. People who worked their butts off in school. People who are hungry to have a lifestyle that we take for granted. People who have competed their whole lives to get into the right schools just to have a shot at a better life.
It’s scary. No doubt about it, but ignoring that fact won’t help you.
Train to Compete
Top athletes worker harder than their competition, and much harder than the weekend athlete. They hire coaches, nutritionists, mental coaches, and they work their butts off conditioning their bodies and working at their speciality.
You have to train as hard as a world-class athlete if you want to be a world-class IT professional who never has to worry about being employed.
How to train to be a world-class IT professional
- Take care of your health. Burnout is rampant in our industry, so you have to take care of your health and manage your stress levels. This is a marathon and you’re going to need to be fit to compete. You aren’t going anywhere if you’re sluggish, foggy, or dead.
- Find an activity you enjoy and schedule time for it and give it the priority it deserves.
- Get up and take a walk. Schedule a morning and / or afternoon walk around the block or parking lot. It will give you a chance to de-stress and reset your mind.
- Walk, bike, or take the bus to work. This has the multiple benefits of getting you moving, avoiding the stress of driving, and giving you time to read or listen to a podcast.
- Eat right. Carbs from energy drinks, soda pop, pizza, candy and so forth are going to wreck your health over the long run. Drop these from your diet.
- Hire a personal trainer. They’ll prevent you from overtraining, or being too soft, and the money you spend on them will motivate you to get to moving.
- Train in your speciality. This is the obvious one. Get that training, build a lab, participate in industry groups. Get an account with a cloud provider, rent rack time or purchase used equipment to build your own lab. There is really no excuse not to have have a lab.
- Network – not the icky kind. You know, talk to people. Get out and work in co-working spaces, participate in your local Jelly, join a hackerspace, participate in online groups, write a blog. Do something to get out there and talk with other people. You’ll learn a lot, keep up with what’s going on in other companies, build your reputation, and get comfortable talking to others.
- Hire a coach or get a mentor. It’s amazing what a coach can see that we don’t. They can help you improve your performance fast and save you a lot of grief and frustration. Focus on an area where you are weak but need to get better. For many of us, that would be communication or understanding business. Find someone to help you with that.
“Boy, this looks like a lot of work, time and money.”
Yes it is. What do you think your competition is doing?