At first glance, it may seem that there isn’t much of a difference between good and great IT talent. Both are good at their jobs, both are engaged in their work and driven to accomplish the tasks set out for them, certainly. Upon closer inspection, however, the differences between good and great IT talent are clear. Once realized, the qualities of a great, successful IT employee can make all of the difference in the development of a company’s mission and brand. Outside of a wealth of experience, glowing reviews, and a working knowledge of the technical field they’re in, what are the hallmarks of a successful IT employee?

    1. A deep love for technology: When people work at something they love, the work harder and better. This quality is infectious and can be felt by everyone that surrounds the person, which is the exact kind of energy you should want on your team. Employees should love technology and this will show in their work, both in their commitment to their job and in their eagerness to take on more tasks.
    2. A deep love of learning: This may be equally as important as the love of technology itself. One of the qualities that makes technology so fascinating is that it’s always changing, and those who love it should want to learn more about it as new developments are made in the industry, and as new tools are created to help employees complete their work.
    3. An understanding of the business and data of the company: the strongest IT employees are the ones who are able to connect the completion of their tasks with a serious understanding of the business the company is in and the data needed to drive it forward. Being a highly skilled “techie” isn’t enough when it comes to collaborating with other employees or networking within the business; great IT professionals know that it’s equally important that they understand how and where their job fits into the overall work of the company and industry it works within.
    4. Has the ability to speak the language of IT and convey their knowledge to people who do not speak the language: It’s hard to work with and collaborate with someone who you can’t communicate with. A great IT employee has the ability to translate technical language to concepts and people who aren’t trained can relate to and understand.
    5. Is a team player: Working well with others on your team and others across departments within your company secures solid, efficient communication and completion of work, and can have a positive effect on peer reviews. Your teammates can be the decision makers when it comes to your future with your company, so treat and work with them as you appreciate being treated.
    6. Sees a learning opportunity when issues arise: Thinking outside of the box in this way can grow your understanding of the work you do and expand your skill set. Each challenge can be a setback in terms of time lost or problems caused, but seeing them as opportunities for your own growth and the growth of your team further ensures that you’ll be equipped with the skills you need in the future to stand strong when those challenges arise again. Looking at a challenge as an opportunity also allows for creative thinking; there’s more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, so try looking at a particular challenge as an opportunity for you to creatively expand your own skills and problem solve.

It’s important to understand that the basic qualities of a good IT employee aren’t necessarily enough to ensure longevity in your career. Learning how to incorporate the above qualities into a wealth of experience and a fierce working knowledge will establish you as a competitive IT employee with the promise of a long, successful career.