Setting goals is an important habit to get into regardless of what field you’re in. As you continue on your path to better yourself in your IT career, you’ll want to do just that. But setting goals arbitrarily isn’t always helpful; you might not get anywhere, and may just wind up disappointing yourself.
Try setting your IT career goals using the SMART method. Make your goals:
When goals are too general, they’re easy to ignore or put off. Rather than setting a goal like “I will make a higher wage/salary as an IT professional,” make it specific. Try something like “I will increase my salary by $X by the end of the year.” Having that specific number and timeline lets you maintain focus, rather than simply telling yourself you’ll get to it eventually.
Take time to think about how you will measure your goal. When you can measure your goal in steps as you go along, you’ll feel encouraged and that much more likely to continue your efforts until you’ve reached your ultimate achievement. Goals can be measured in a variety of ways; with a number, with a feeling, with a certain recognition by your boss or peers, etc.
There’s nothing wrong with setting lofty goals, but it’s important that you make your goals reasonably attainable. Otherwise, you’ll just end up falling short of your benchmarks and feeling like you’ve failed. Be realistic about what you’ll be able to achieve in a certain timeframe, or what your current company structure will allow for, and set your goals within those parameters.
Make sure that your goal relates to other aspects of your life and career — setting a goal that stands completely on its own isn’t as good of an approach as setting one that really benefits you in multiple aspects of your career. Ask yourself how your goal is pushing your career forward, and how it relates to other goals you want to achieve.
Last but not least, consider the timeline of your goal. Set a realistic timeframe for your goal to occur in, and don’t make it too far in the future. It’s too hard to keep up with a goal over years at a time — generally speaking, it’s better to set goals for months or weeks ahead.