Data Scientist recently landed in the number-one spot on Glassdoor's annual Best Jobs in America list for the third year running. DevOps Engineer took second place, and other titles in tech accounted for an additional 18 of the 50 jobs on the list, which considered career satisfaction a key factor.
Understanding what motivates people in their jobs every day is a critical skill for IT leaders. This can help you retain your best talent, build a culture of change agents, and connect people to a common mission and shared purpose.
[ Are you simultaneously piling too many projects on your team? Read our related article, The overcommitted organization. ]
In honor of Valentine's Day, we asked a question: What exactly do IT professionals and those working in the technology field love about their jobs? Here's what we heard. Feeling the love? Add your own reasons in the comments section below.
Mentoring the next generation
“I feel like I’ve lived three lifetimes in my 27 years in tech, and I can honestly say that the thing that I most love about my job is the people I work with and the kinship I feel for them.
We have a lot of 20-somethings in our company, and I’m regularly asked to help them and act as a mentor. Being able to take my 27 years of experience and share that with people just getting into their IT careers is unbelievably rewarding. These youths are our greatest assets, and as veteran IT professionals we have to cultivate them, foster their growth, and help them down the path we’ve already traveled.” – Chris Romano, Principal Systems Engineer, OVH US
Becoming part of a community
“From the very first moment, technology offered me the chance to learn something new every day, to strengthen skills I already had, and to find peace of mind in a consistent workflow. Working in IT also offered a sense of community stronger than any I’d seen before. Everyone in tech has a story, most are willing to share it, and many are interested in yours as well. Three decades later, what keeps me in the game is, honestly, my colleagues. So many people come to IT from such different directions, but all of them are exciting and interesting. I find myself wanting to learn everything they already know, and to share what I’ve brought to the table. The other thing that keeps me here are the incredible innovations, and the way the business constantly surprises me.” – Leon Adato, Head Geek, SolarWinds
Turning goals into reality
“IT is special because it's currently the backbone to making everything a reality. Technology turned ideas of traveling to space into actually going there. In my current job, it turns "that would have taken me months with paper and pencil," into "oh, there's a template for that." If you need something that will make doing your taxes easier, there's a computer program for that. Anything you need done faster, more efficiently, more reliably, or using fewer resources can be done. If you can imagine it and want to make it a reality, you just apply a technology solution to it. And technology will remain the forerunner of modern innovation for the foreseeable future. My job has no end in sight, and will never become stale because it can always be improved.” – Seth Phousongphuoang, IT Service Coordinator, Scale Technology
Seizing opportunities for creativity and growth
“From ideation to implementation of a project, there are many opportunities to be creative in tech. Technology is constantly evolving, therefore there’s always an opportunity to grow and stretch myself creatively. It’s easy to fall into a trap where you feel stalled, so I have made a decision to invest in my personal development and well-being. Additionally, I have been sharing my ideas and experiences in tech to a larger audience. I’ve taken on several new opportunities for writing and speaking engagements and have made this a key goal of mine for 2018. Having a medium where I can share my experiences and love for tech has enriched my work and has given me a reason to reflect on all that I’ve been able to accomplish thus far in my career.” – Shweta Saraf, Director of Engineering, Networking, DigitalOcean
Tackling difficult problems
"The complexity and range of problems that we solve for our customers is the reason my job is so exciting. I was attracted to the excitement in the software field in the mid-90's and, after studying mathematics, computer science seemed a logical, exciting place to go. When I started working as a software engineer, I wanted to solve difficult problems and got to do that, and work with very smart and interesting people; even though I transitioned to management roles, today I work at a software development company and still enjoy solving difficult problems, for amazing, innovative clients, with a very smart and interesting team!" – Florence Lowe, COO, Synerzip
Being a go-to expert
“The number one thing I love about my job is helping people fix their IT issues. For a lot of employees, they understand the basics of a computer, but when things start to go wrong they often struggle. If I can fix someone's problem and give them advice on how to stop it from happening or what to do if it happens again, then its beneficial for both of us. The main thing that keeps me motivated in IT has to be the constant learning. By staying up to date with the latest tech, I can always recommend and make adjustments in the business to increase our productivity and reduce the amount of downtime. This year I'm really looking forward to AI and the advances it will bring to the IT industry. Although it's technically not part of my job role, I love to recommend books and courses to other colleagues that I think will help them with their IT issues. With so many IT courses available on Udemy, anyone with outdated IT skills can seriously improve themselves by spending some time on there.” – Andrew Swindlehurst, Systems Admin, PPC Protect Limited
Fulfilling a need from idea to delivery
“What I love most about working in IT is building solutions that people will actually use to improve their lives. When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m a software engineer and a professional problem solver. Over the past 20 years this has led to me going where there is a need, and now I’m in Bali! IT is an outlet to satisfy the five-year old within me who would sit for hours taking things apart. The creative element of applying my intellectual abilities to solve a real need from idea to delivery still gets me jumping out of bed every day. To me, software also is fundamentally more about people than it is about technology: the people that create it, and the people that use it. I really love the people aspect.” – Fiaz Sami, Software Engineer & Educational Consultant, Outpost Asia
Engaging in solution-based thinking
“One of the many things that I love about the IT industry is the pace at which tools and methods evolve. Being a very community driven space, there’s a delightful feedback loop which enables the creation and alterations of technology, with developers collaborating to build better tools. This constant development cycle within the overall IT community triggers a solution-based thinking, and acts as a catalyst for the creation of breakthrough technology advancements.” – Matthew Valiquette, Product Owner, Echoworx