Monday, March 12, 2007

How to be a top performer? - 4Cs for a successful career

I had been to GCT, Coimbatore to attend a technical symposium (Infoquest 2007), last week. I was asked to talk to the current 3rd year students who are preparing for their placement interviews. There were about 120 people assembled in a hall. I gave them tips about "What do software/IT companies look for, in fresh graduates? What does it take to be a top performer in IT companies? How to be successful in your career?". In essence, you need to have the 4Cs - Commitment, Communication, Competence and Collaboration.
  1. Commitment - Companies look for committed people. Commitment can reflect in multiple forms such as hardwork, availability, ownership, and attitude. At the end of the day, a manager wants his team member to get the job done. The manager can develop confidence in you, only if you show your commitment towards work.
  2. Communication - You may have wealth of technical knowledge and skills. But, you should be able to express your knowledge/skills in a way that others can understand. Communication is not just about talking to people in fancy English. Communication is expressing your thoughts in a way that others can understand. In an IT industry, you get to communicate in multiple ways - by writing documents, sending emails, chatting over messengers, participating in conference calls, participating in discussions, and providing status updates. The one who communicates well, gets higher visibility and recognition. 
  3. Competence - Competence includes knowledge and skills. Knowledge is something that you can develop by reading books or by listening to lectures. However, you need to have hands-on exposure to develop your skills. Working on a number of projects would give you the real world exposure and thus, you can develop your competence. If you are competent enough, the employer spends less time in training you and hence, saves cost and time.
  4. Collaboration - You cannot live in your own world, when you work for an IT company. Most of the times, you tend to work as groups/teams. You need to be able to work with others to get the job done. You are not only expected to collaborate with fellow team members who are sitting across the aisle, but also with folks who are located around the world. Advancements in IT industry has turned the world into a small village. You are too interdependent and your ability to work in a team would go a long way.
Having the 4Cs (Commitment, Communication, Competence and Collaboration) will guarantee you success.

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