Expert Insights

The #1 Reason People Advance in Their Careers

Four of our community members give their thoughts on the best way to advance your technology career.

December 14, 2021

There are a lot of self-help sites out there to aid you in advancing your career. Resumé builders, life-hacks, complicated tips and tricks, etc. Those may work just fine - but judging by what our community has to say - advancing your career boils down to one thing: Getting out of your comfort zone. 

We've currently interviewed over 30 community members for our podcast, 'Conversations with Tech Experts,' and there's been a common theme that's appeared as the show goes on: If you want to be successful in IT, you have to get out of your comfort zone. 

Here are four times one of our members credited their success to 'getting uncomfortable.'

#1. Stuart Scott - AWS Content Director, Cloud Academy

The theme of Stuart's podcast was 'online learning,' which ties in perfectly to the theme of this article. Stuart is incredibly passionate about finding & creating resources to increase his knowledge. According to him - learning something new is easy. You just have to put in the effort. "As long as you have a passion and commitment to earn, you'll have the opportunity to get into the field you want to," he said. 

Stuart acknowledged that even though it can be challenging to ask for help - the risk is worth the reward. "There's never a silly question to ask," he said, "you never know; there might be tons of people interested in the same thing as you."

We've all been there - asking questions can be intimidating - it's hard to admit you don't know something. Fortunately, getting uncomfortable and asking questions often leads to valuable insight you wouldn't have obtained otherwise. 

#2 Bruce Gust - Software Developer, Alight Solutions

Bruce Gust, a long-time member of Experts Exchange, echoed Stuart's statements about asking questions. "There's a sense of humility you have to have to even ask..." he said. Bruce has asked over 2,200 questions on Experts Exchange - so you could say he knows a thing or two. Humbling yourself to ask a question is never easy - but it's worthwhile.

The rest of Bruce's statement "...and for that to be greeted with a great disposition is amazing." He was talking about how he loves the way the community on Experts Exchange is always friendly and considerate, regardless of the complexity of the question (or lack thereof!).

Bruce finished his interview with a call to action for other tech professionals; "Make decisions that allow you to make other decisions. Broaden your base!" he said. The best way to broaden your base? Get uncomfortable! Explore new technologies and develop new skills. 

#3 Jim Dettman - President, Online Computer Services of WNY

"The world is always changing, and technology even more so." Those are the words of Jim Dettman, one of the longest-tenured members of Experts Exchange and recipient of our highest honor - the 'Fellow' award.  

Every episode - we ask our guests, "If the listeners could take one thing away from the show, what would it be?" (we call it The Big Idea). For his Big Idea, Jim perfectly illustrated the benefit of getting uncomfortable. "Don't be afraid to get a little bit out of your comfort zone or be afraid to ask for help," he said, " We're all trying to get through life, and when we work together, that's when you really excel... Don't be afraid to admit you don't know something." 

Want to excel at something? Be courageous and ask for help. 

#4 Muneeb Imran Shaikh - Cybersecurity Strategy & Governance Consultant

One of the most insightful and knowledgeable cybersecurity experts on the planet - the last time Muneeb Imran Shaikh came on our show, he pushed his fellow technology professionals to stay vigilant.

"You have to always stay ahead of the curve - if you're not, you'll get caught napping and be a few steps behind," he said. Muneeb acknowledged that while it isn't easy to stay ahead of the curve, the rewards for putting in the work to do so can be exponential. "It helps with career growth as a byproduct. When you are consistently upgrading your skill set and broadening your perspective, it eventually puts you two steps ahead of the people in your community."

Getting uncomfortable = getting two steps ahead. 

No matter what stage of your career you’re in - it’s clear that our members have a unified vision of how to maximize your potential: get out of your comfort zone! Whether it’s humbling yourself to admit you don’t know something or taking the time to learn a new skill, putting in a little extra effort is always going to pay off. 

Looking to expand your comfort zone? Make sure you’re in a community you can trust. Join the community today.