How to Find Your Passion for Information Technology
I’ve discussed passion many times throughout my articles. In fact, it’s part of my tag-line “Your Success. My Passion.” What is a passion? How do you know if you have one? How do you get it if you don’t know it or don’t have it? Is it that important?
What is Passion
Merriam-Webster defines Passion as “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction” or “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” Passion is something that makes you get up in the morning and drives you throughout the day. It is something that you spend lots of time doing or contemplating. Passion keeps you engaged.
I am passionate about helping people. I realized this even when I was in high school, but it never materialized into a career path. I always leaned towards friends that needed some “help,” socially, physically, or emotionally. Early on as I was getting hands-on IT experience, I was lucky enough to have mentors who cared about my success. By the time I became a manager and was assigned and hired employees I realized mentoring was a formal way I could help people. This idea of mentoring as a passion began to synthesize in my head. Then my teams got more substantial; my reach got further, and the opportunities I created for myself through hard work in my IT job enabled me to apply my passion for helping people into an IT mentoring business. Now as an IT executive I get to use my experience and technical knowledge to create business value, and as an entrepreneur, I get to mentor, which is my passion, and it keeps me engaged and interested in my work.
Do you have Passion?
You are passionate about something. What is it? What do you find yourself doing or thinking about most often? It doesn’t have to be IT-related. What did you grow up doing and loving but you’ve somehow lost touch of throughout high school, college, military experience or early adulthood? For example, I grew up participating in outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, and fishing. Throughout college and for almost ten years in my career I mostly ignored this part of my life. I found it several years ago and have been enjoying the outdoors again. I am passionate about conservation and spending time outside. Is there a way to translate that into an IT career? Absolutely!
Passion is Not Always Obvious
We have daily routines that we spend lots of time doing including work. But what are you doing at work? What has made you successful? Why do your colleagues like or even dislike you? Maybe you’re an office gossiper, or talker – not necessarily a great networker, and possibly more of a negative skill in some eyes – when it comes to adding value to your colleagues and company. But maybe it’s your Passion! Did you ever think of that? Talking is your passion! Meeting people, telling people stories, interacting, engaging, transferring knowledge to people. Maybe you should focus on IT Training or education or sales so that you can apply your IT skills against your passion.
Another excellent progression for technical engineers is the “TAM” or Technical Account Manager. This role is typically a senior position that interacts with customers to help analyze, develop requirements, and propose solutions to problems. Not always a hands-on IT job, but you utilize your IT skills while involving your passion for interacting with and helping customers. And for me, maybe that customer is Bass Pro Shops or the National Park Service where my IT expertise supports a cause that is important to me.
How do You Become Passionate?
Most people I know that possess passion aren’t passionate about Information Technology, or Cisco routing, or Microsoft Windows Server. Maybe those people are out there, but I’ve never met someone that loves Powershell so much it’s an honest passion. The most passionate people I know (and referenced in earlier articles) are excited about learning or helping customers by building solutions. They like to create something out of nothing and enjoy the fruits of their labor and the success of others. So don’t focus on your lack of enthusiasm for the technologies we use, but find the significant things in your life that you are passionate about and learn how to apply them to your IT career.
Is Passion Really that Important?
Yes. Some of the most common questions I read and respond to on Reddit are related to lack of passion:
Why am I not getting promoted?
How do I choose a school or degree or classes?
How do I choose an area of IT if I’m not sure what to do?
How do I find a job?
How do I network?
Why are these related? If you have a passion for anything, IT-related or not, it will drive you to answer all of these questions and many others. Passion causes you to work hard. It won’t allow you to wait for your boss to give you a raise or promotion it will drive you to seize both. Passion will tell you what school to attend, what degree you need and what classes to take. Passion will make your personality appealing so that networking and interviewing comes naturally because you like talking about your interests. It will help you find a job because other people will see your passion as visibly as your hair color. I want to hire people that are passionate, and I am not alone.
Notebook and Plan
My goal – my passion – is to help YOU! So grab that notebook and add some items to your Career Plan. Write down your passion. Is something not coming to you so easily? Start an outline of your passionate interests, hobbies, or subjects. Can’t do that? Just write down a bunch of things that you like to do, professionally, personally, habits, etc. Try to think outside the box. Spend some time analyzing yourself, and which of all of the items on your list makes you want to get up in the morning (or not go to bed at night) and you will be on your way to finding your passion which will help you improve your career and ultimately bring success and happiness to your life.