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Trainers Sound Off: People Skills a Must in IT

You’ve got the training, the certifications, and the real-world experience.

That’s a great foundation for becoming successful in IT, but if you want to advance in your career, you might want to consider adding something else, according to several CBT Nuggets trainers: people skills.

IT professionals are often portrayed in movies and books as introverted, awkward, and nerdy. And many IT pros are perfectly happy working behind the scenes.

In fact, that’s one of the main reasons CBT Nuggets trainer Shawn Powers decided to pursue a career in IT.

“One of the reasons I liked working with computers was because they weren’t humans,” Powers said.

But he quickly found out that he needed to have people skills. And let’s face it, you are going to have to interact with people at some point in most jobs.

Looking back, Shawn says that’s the thing he wishes he’d known most about IT before choosing to go down that path.

“To be truly effective in IT, you need to be able to work with people,” Shawn said.  “Sometimes it’s not always an intuitive thing.”

Along the way, Shawn developed strong interpersonal skills that enabled him to thrive at one of his past jobs running the IT department for a local school district. Despite that, Shawn said he still considers himself to be an introvert!

168_5_08_13That’s why Jeremy Cioara, another CBT Nuggets trainer, strongly encourages IT pros to take a public speaking class.  He said that in order for people to advance to the next tier in IT, being a strong communicator is necessary.

“If you want to move up, you have to be able to communicate effectively and work with people,” Jeremy said.

There’s another obvious reason why it’s important to have people skills: You’ll come across as more knowledgeable. If you struggle to connect with people, you risk not being taken seriously.

Said CBT Nuggets trainer Jim Anthony: “Everyone in IT is smart, so they will know that you don’t know what you are talking about.”

So maybe it’s time for more IT professionals to start defying stereotypes and step out of the shadows more. Instead of just showing off your IT skills, connect with people and show off your personality too!


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