Although we make resolutions about giving up smoking, losing weight or promising ourselves that, no matter the temptation, we will not watch any more reality TV, we rarely make new year’s resolutions about our careers. Why not try this. In the next week or so, make a few plans about how you can ensure that at the end of the year you feel that your career has progressed in some measurable fashion.

  • Plan to learn at least one new technology that you currently know nothing about. Maybe you don’t know anything about SQL Server, Exchange or ISA Server. Maybe you don’t know how to write administrative scripts in vbscript. Find something that you don’t know, but will help you out at work, and resolve to become competent in it before December 31 2007.
  • Take one or more certification exams. Certification gives you a reason to keep yourself up to date. Sure, you can buy a book on Vista or you can play around with the operating system at home or in the lab before your organization gets around to adopting it, but taking a structured approach to your learning, where you face an assessment at the end can turn idle exploration into a deeper understanding.
  • Take precautions. Today’s work environment is far from stable and there is no tenure in Systems Administration. Ensure that you have a plan in place to find another job should your organization go out of business or decide on another round of cost cutting.
  • Consider what you want to be doing in five years time. It is likely that you don’t want to be in exactly the same position five years from now. Think about the steps that you need to take that will move your career forward.