Moving up the corporate chain of command requires increasing levels of proficiency in one or more key areas. Although versatility can be a valuable asset, don't let it take the place of expertise. For IT pros, that expertise will often be in areas where nontechnical executives are less comfortable, such as cloud, virtualization, security and so on. Employees with indispensable know-how become go-to people in their organizations.
"People who are selected to move up are subject-matter experts on something," Levy said. "They're not just OK at things."