Every talented, overachieving IT staffer hits the decision point in their career. They’ve moved nimbly them up the staff ladder, from the helpdesk to engineering, for example. Now it’s time for the successful, effective IT contributor to make that decision that will impact their rest of their career. Stay in role as the IT guy or try for management jobs? IT staff facing this decision need to consider these five major points.
You’ll get it when you least expect it
How do techs get promoted? The rare few get there by applying for it and working toward it. The rest are thrust into the position when their boss suddenly decides to move on, when a higher-up sees they did a great job on a major project or some other last-minute decision is made In a field fraught with uncertainty, the sudden shift from staff to management can be the most unexpected and most stressful of all.
It may be time to leave
A lot of IT staff members get pigeonholed at their current company. It is difficult to move to management in a firm where one is seen only as the guy who fixes computers. This could mean it’s time to look elsewhere. Technicians looking to make the move to management jobs may seek out the help of an executive career recruitment firm to make the search easier.
The skillset is different
The knock on IT people is that they’re geeks, more comfortable staring at their computers in darkened rooms than interacting with other people. While it may not be this extreme, it’s absolutely true that soft skills outweigh technical ability at the management level. To be ready for the transition, IT contributors should ask for more responsibilities early in their careers. Managing small projects and, more importantly, the people involved with them, can help develop these valuable skills and build more well-rounded IT contributor who is more ready to make the jump to management .
It’s time for a step backward
IT staff members rarely have the necessary experience to manage at the same level they were working technically. For example, a skilled network administrator may not be ready to take the reins as the manager of network systems. In this instance, a step back to a position such as helpdesk manager would be appropriate. Though a pay cut may be necessary, technicians looking to get into management should view a step backard as a long-term investment.
It’s hard to get that job and you may need help
Companies are organized like pyramids. The number of support staff positions far exceeds the number of executive jobs. Managers are also more likely to hold on to those positions rather than face the uncertainty of a new company in a rough job market. This and the aforementioned lack of experience will make it difficult for technical staff to make that leap to management. Recruiters, especially those dedicated specifically to executive career recruitment, can be much more effective than going it alone.