Key Traits of Successful IT Professionals

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The Computer Merchant, Ltd. (Frank Anigbo)

You’ve probably heard of the myth of right-brain vs. left-brain traits. Some people say they are left-brain thinkers because they are very analytical, and others claim their artistic proclivities are a result of their right-brain dominance.

We call it a myth because it is exactly that. What is real, however, is that most people possess traits that crisscross the right-brain left-brain divide, making them suitable at a variety of seemingly mutually-exclusive professions. To achieve excellence at a given task or career requires a mix of traits, both innate and mastered.

So then, what makes a particular person more suited to IT than say, becoming a musician or attorney?

Here’s our quick take on that question.


IT, unlike lawyering, leaves very little room for conjecture. In the world of IT, something is either true or not true. Finding the state of a specific question (or bug in the system) requires the ability to carefully analyze known information to such a degree that all unproven assumptions are designated true or false. Another way to put this is that a person who kicks a machine until it begins to work, without first understanding why their action made the machine work, isn’t analytical and unlikely to make a good IT professional.


Curiosity about how things work is a critical component and motivation for the analytical mind. A trait common to the most successful IT professionals is how much they are bothered when a problem is resolved without a clear and comprehensive reason why the problem went away. An accountant might say “let it go, we have better things to spend time on.” True in consideration of budgetary concerns, but the ever-curious IT person is unlikely to drop the issue until some reasonable hypothesis or outright proof is found.


Careful planning is a critical part of a successful software and infrastructure implementation. Those that ‘wing it’ almost always fail. To be successful in IT, a person must completely embrace the need to carefully lay out a roadmap to success, and plan everything to a degree that does not leave anything to chance or hope. The ability to plan effectively is a fundamental trait that technological staffing agencies look for in IT professionals.

Ability to Effectively Communicate

The stereotype of IT people as geeks able to quickly master a programming language or the minutia of a network infrastructure, but over-taxed when trying to communicate with mere mortals, probably isn’t suited for lofty ambitions in IT.

IT people build and manage tools for everyday use. It is difficult to thrive in IT without the ability to effectively communicate with users to understand needs and explain how tools work in a language lay people can easily understand.


If there is one thing you can count on in IT, it is change. Technology changes, IT staffing agencies are growing, and business processes get modified to accommodate changes in regulations and client demands. Change often necessitates the adoption of new technologies or adaptations to existing ones. Good IT professionals understand this and must view the needs of the business as the driver of technological change, and adapt quickly whenever their audience or business environmental requirements necessitate a change in technology. 

Team Player

Business is a collaborative effort – with partners, clients, suppliers, co-workers. As with all successful members of any business endeavor, the IT professional must possess the capacity to play well in a team.

The Computer Merchant, Ltd.

The Computer Merchant, Ltd. (TCM) is a veteran-owned, national provider of technology staffing solutions for commercial enterprise companies, systems integrators and public sector/government agencies.  We’ve been deploying top-notch IT and engineering talent for our clients in 48 states and across many diverse industries and cutting-edge technologies since 1980.

At TCM, we learned early on that in order to compete against billion dollar companies with endless amounts of people and resources, we must always maintain a significant advantage in how we employ technology to scale, strengthen and customize our delivery for our clients. Today, we utilize a broad array of internally developed systems and integrated commercial 3rd party applications to optimize our talent sourcing and assignment management, onboarding and off boarding, strict client regulatory compliance, supplier vetting, and track real-time industry competitive rates by skillset and location.

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