How do you build a reputation within an IT industry?
December 5, 2017
ReputationIT

A wise man once told me,

"At the start of your career, the main thing employers are focused on is your Education. As you progress your career, the main thing employers are focused on is your Work Experience. As you progress into the middle of your career, it's all focused upon your Knowledge. When you're coming to the end of your career, it's all focused upon your Reputation"

A wise man once told me...

A wise man once told me,

"At the start of your career, the main thing employers are focused on is your Education. As you progress your career, the main thing employers are focused on is your Work Experience. As you progress into the middle of your career, it's all focused upon your Knowledge. When you're coming to the end of your career, it's all focused upon your Reputation"

Which got me thinking, "how do you build a reputation within an IT industry?"

The first 3 sound obvious. I haven't however ever, until now, been focally considered the 4th and final statement, which would evidentially conclude your career


So how do people 'carry' a reputation?

People 'carry' a reputation. It's a statement that requires no competition. Reputation is earned and is rarely given. People respect the qualities of an individual not just their achievement. But how does one 'gain' a good reputation, not just a reputation?

Building a strong brand for yourself is invaluable in today's IT ecosystem. Whether you're trying to increase your authority and move up the ranks within your organization, or it's building your own roster of clients as either a startup or as a freelancer.

Here are just a handful of individuals that I personally recognize that they carry a reputation within the IT world

For Oracle IDM, Ankit Kumar and his blog was a common name along with his onlineappsdba.com blog. For Shibboleth, Scott Cantor is commonly shown as an active shibboleth contributor on the shibboleth all users confluence. Chris Roberts his apparent self-confessed ability to hack into the plane. The late Shon Harris with anything CISSP related

Though I don't know these people! How is it possible for me to credit such an individual that i've never met? I do however believe these professionals are certainly recognized mainly by their accomplishments but also their reputation.


By definition

The generic definition of reputation is as follows:

"belief or opinion of an individual with a particular habit characteristic".

Just a small number of character would be as follow:

  • exemplary
  • honest
  • honourable
  • moral
  • praiseworthy
  • trustworthy
    • Though reputation cannot be based solely on this definition within IT because you can recognize someones reputation without knowing them (as stated above)


How to build your reputation within IT?

With the help of a few beverages with my close professional acquaintances, I concluded my thoughts by dividing the focal topics into 5 sectors:

  • 0. Personal traits
  • Character traits
  • Diplomatic IT Skills
  • 1. Education<
  • Knowledge/Skills
  • 2. Work Experience
  • Avoid conflicts
  • Consume/avoid responsibility related to benefit/work analysis
  • 3. Reputation
  • Avoid fuck-ups
  • Building a legacy
  • Transition for growth
  • 4. Responsibilities

Job Titles

Regrettably, I have to state an IT 'title' plays a key role when gaining an initial reputation despite that your title carries more weight than any of the 5 topics above. But that said, I've been underwhelmed with CTOs in the past and throughly impressed with developers, engineers, and BAs. I've seen hierarchical titles within a flat tree structure and individuals who have 'earned' their title because they've been at the business for a long time. The title can be very misleading therefore I'm not considering it when defining a professional reputation


Gaining a reputation outside of your full-time job

It's certainly difficult to extend your reputation whilst having the responsibilities of a full-time job however it's fundamental to grow. Your reputation outside your workplace should also out-weigh your full-time reputation. As mentioned, I discarded the notion that reputation should not be based on your current IT job but instead it should be based on more on the progression of your career. Maintaining your full-time IT responsibilities should not clash with an employer's interests but instead aligns with them. Everyone knows that feeling when you're burnt out and failing to come up with new ideas, not to mention executing them after working a 40+ hour work week. Furthermore, you need to ensure that your employee understands why they are still paying you. You either establish your reputation as an expert within your company, or your industry makes it clear why you're worth it.


Can you destroy your reputation?

Oh hell yeah! Destroying the reputation you built is certainly easier than building it. To avoid damaging your reputation is fundamental though it's probably a topic for another day.


What did I miss?

So much... there's so many things I've missed! Though this is a heavy topic with many dynamics and dependencies for each individual when building their own personal brand expands beyond the realms of 5 topics. Some further areas of topics of interest that can boost:

  • Professional networking
  • Sub-contracting
  • Freelancing
  • Knowing IT industry trends
  • key-note speaking
  • Becoming influential

    • For now, I'm focusing on the fundamentals


Bottom line

Education, work experience, and knowledge all contribute to your reputation long term. Balancing 'Time to yourself' but honoring your current employee must also be respected. Your professional reputation is fragile and requires constant nursing. Be smart, consume more IT knowledge and adopt more responsibility, always be mindful on how you come across.

But reputation is not given, it's earned. Reputation is not the main driver at the start of your career though it certainly is as you progress. Remember to protect the hard work you have accomplish in the past

About the author

Daniel is a Technical Manager with over 10 years of consulting expertise in the Identity and Access Management space.
Daniel has built from scratch this blog as well as technicalconfessions.com
Follow Daniel on twitter @nervouswiggles

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