6 traits of up-and-coming IT stars (with video)

What qualities put IT pros on the fast track? We talk to five rising stars -- and their CIOs -- to find what sets them apart (and what you can do to make your star rise, too)

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All ambitious IT professionals know they need impeccable technical skills, a strong work ethic and a gift for fostering collaboration in order to rise through the ranks. But beyond that, what X factor sets future leaders apart from their colleagues — and what habits can you adopt to put yourself on a similar path?

To find out, Computerworld talked with five senior-level technologists, all of whom have been designated by their CIOs as rising stars with the potential to someday claim seats in the executive suite.

Here's what these folks have in common: They gravitate toward big, gnarly projects; they build and lead high-performance teams; they live and breathe business strategy; they learn from failure; and they lead with humility. And maybe most importantly, they love this stuff -- for real.

"I love projects with high risk and lots of constraints because the deliverable hasn't been prescripted," says Mike Gritz, senior management analyst for the Las Vegas city government, echoing sentiments expressed by all of his fellow rising stars. "If we screw up, at least we tried -- and learned what didn't work. But more often than not, we come up with something that really shines."

Read on for a rundown of the key traits, along with advice from the five up-and-comers on ways to hone your own leadership skills.

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