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How to Get Up to Speed at a New Gig in IT

When IT professionals change jobs, it isn’t always a smooth and easy transition. Let’s say you worked somewhere else for a couple of years and got used to the environment you worked in. It was your kitchen; you knew what was in each drawer and where to put everything away. And even though the technology will be the same at your new job (the network is the network, after all), there will still be significant differences. Some IT pros end up working with completely different vendors or go from working in an on-premises environment to working in a hybrid environment. If employees at your new company have different levels of access to the same resources, you may no longer have the authority to buy or change some things—it’s even possible you went from somewhere where everything was locked down to a place where everyone is a local admin. Your first instinct will be to apply the knowledge you’ve gained in the past to your new job, but doing so won’t always work out well. If you act like everything will be in the same place when you enter a new kitchen, you’re going to be in for a rough time.

How to Adapt to a New Environment

The solution, of course, is to get used to your new environment, but this is easier said than done. Still, there are some things you can do right off the bat to make your transition easier. Make sure you stay organized; list the ways your previous company did things and the ways your new company does them. Create a library of hints you can reference whenever you need it. You can also bring some fresh perspective to your new organization by suggesting changes. If your new company does something the way people did it 20 years ago, suggest doing it the same way your previous organization did. Of course, there’s a right and wrong way to do this. If you come in and try to tear down the processes that have been successful for your new company—even if they’re outdated—you’re likely to burn some bridges. Strike a balance between making suggestions and making a bad impression on your new colleagues

Do Some Research

This isn’t always the problem IT pros have when starting a new gig. Sometimes, there’s something completely new they’ve never encountered before. Switching from an on-premises to a hybrid environment is one such challenge. Maybe it’s why you gravitated toward this job—you were looking forward to tackling a new challenge or just wanted to learn something new. If your new job asks you to work with a different vendor than one you’ve worked with before, it can be a little bit like learning a new language. Adapting, training, and learning to deal with a new vendor or new technology takes time, so make sure you have the extra bandwidth. Do some research about your new job when you’re in the final stages of your recruitment. Look at the technologies and skills your new company requires. Because you won’t learn much about your company’s IT environment when checking Glassdoor, ask about it in an interview. During the recruitment process, make sure you discuss topics like the environment you’ll be working in (whether it’s on-premises or hybrid) with the IT director or hiring manager. You don’t want to go into your new job totally blind and find out you have no time to learn a new skill you weren’t expecting to need. Give yourself time to look into the new processes and technologies you’ll be using before you start your new job. Doing so can help you decide whether going from a Cisco environment to an HP environment will be too great of a learning curve and whether the job is the right fit for you. Of course, any number of things can make your transition to a new job harder—you might have once had an organized ticketing system and now have people coming up to your desk crying when their mouse no longer works. Thankfully, IT pros are used to learning by doing and conducting research, so you’re already prepared for this. And if you need extra help, there are plenty of good online resources where you can find trainings and information to help you ease your transition into a new gig in IT. Look for easy-to-use products that don’t require expertise to use right away, and take advantage of any online trainings you can find. By doing so, you can make sure you’re prepared for your new job and not overwhelmed by the new skills you’ll have to learn.
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Sascha Giese
Sascha Giese holds various technical certifications, including being a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), VMware…
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