Azar Hussain

Azar HussainLearn from your peers: career advice from top professionals in the IT industry

We spoke to IT professionals across the industry, from IT directors to specialist recruitment consultants, about the advice they would give to individuals looking to enhance and further their IT career. Among other tips, they highlighted the importance of a good plan of action, always being adaptable, and a lot of soul searching.

In the third article in our career advice series, we talked to Azar Hussain about CVs, demonstrating commitment, and his advice for IT professionals looking to further their career.

Azar Hussain joined Computer People, a specialist IT recruitment consultancy, as a graduate in 2004 - since then he has worked as both a manager and a hands-on recruiter, and has helped to build a successful permanent team.

Azar says that the most impressive applicants have an appetite for their work and show commitment: “The most desirable candidates are passionate about what they do, work very hard (and enjoy it) and have high professional standards.” His advice to those who feel that their role may be holding them back is to find out about ways to improve the situation within their current role: “Talk with your line manager about your professional development and opportunities for growth within the organisation. While the ‘job-for-life’ no longer exists, staying in a role demonstrates commitment and gives you a long-term insight into a business.”

He advised that candidates view their CV as a personal web-page: “Stop thinking about your CV as a purely chronological document. It should represent you as an individual, your values, your achievements and your personality. Include relevant keywords in your CV, as almost all recruiters search using some sort of Google-like search facility on their database. If you are a techie, list all the technical skills you are comfortable with; don’t assume that being a Network Engineer means that you don’t have to include that you have knowledge of basic things like TCP/IP, LAN/WAN etc..”

Azar had this advice for IT Professionals looking to further their career: “Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Expand your knowledge by learning new skills, if necessary in your own time. The employers we work with are always impressed with candidates who can display real progression, if not in terms of their career, then in terms of their knowledge about their industry and new trends or developments. As well as undertaking formal training courses you should read blogs, contribute to forums and attend technical conferences. The market is really competitive, and if you’re not doing something to be a better IT professional than you were 12 months ago, you are in danger of missing out to more committed professionals.”

He recommended that senior professionals in software development gain formal Agile or Scrum certification. Most employers now use these methodologies (or are starting to use them), and often look for external hires to bring this knowledge into their business: “If you are competing against people who have specialised for longer, then a specialist certification can be one of the reasons an employer chooses you over them.”

As an IT professional you can track and record your professional development using our free BCS Personal Development Plan.