Long term goals and IT don’t mix? – Lewis Davies

Can we really set long term goals in the IT industry?

One of this year’s first posts was from our very own Oliver Pope-Mostowicz reflecting on his ambitions and goals over the next one, five and ten years.  While it’s great to set ourselves goals and targets it’s not very often we reflect on things we didn’t intend happening and how big an effect they can take on our careers and lives.  One thing I’ve learnt since joining the IBM apprenticeship is the importance of staying flexible and agile, and as scripted and corporate as it sounds; change really is the only constant.

We always say I’d like to be in this place in 5 years time but how often do we compare that back to where we thought we’d be 5 years ago.  I’m betting a lot is different and the targets you set yourself back then are no longer relevant or have changed significantly since. Why?

Let’s call it chance.  No one wants to plan a career on it but often this is can be one of the most influential things in deciding how successful we are. It’s chance that I heard about the apprenticeship through an old college friend, the very fact I’m writing this is in some way due to chance.

So what are my one, five and ten year goals?

1 Year – Graduate the IBM apprenticeship and continue to build my networking knowledge and perhaps take a JNCA (Juniper qualification)

5 Years – To have worked on a variety of IBM accounts in technical roles and be promoted to band 7 and pushing for band 8 if I am not already!

10 Years – Who knows!

You may think it’s shying away from pushing myself to have goals that are broad and brief.  However recently I came in to a fascinating theory. The teachability index.  The index compares on a scale of 1 to 10 peoples willingness to learn with their ability to accept change.  The 2 figures are then multiplied to give an index for example a 7 and an 8 would give a score of 56.  Since learning this it’s become so apparent that colleagues of mine who I would consider to be successful people are (know it or not) displaying a high teachability index.  This leads me to think that it’s not perhaps hitting a goal that creates successful people but more an attitude and drive to learn and try new things.  If this is correct, success regardless of what industry they choose to work in will almost always come as a by-product.

Of course I’m not going to go the rest of my career without attempting to hit targets such as delivering certain projects in the short term however I hope to keep an open mind to new ideas and technologies. As I mentioned the rate of change in the IT/technology industry is so high.  When I speak to some of my more experienced IBM colleagues some of them can remember loading 3ft wide disks that had 256MB of memory in to huge server rooms, now are working in cloud architectures that are instantly scalable.  Two technology areas in particular I will be keen to see progress are IPV6 which will create a truly open and connected world and wearable technologies.  All these technologies will bring with them their own challenges and that’s what we as IBMers are here to fix!

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