Usually there is alot of discussion about transitioning career within the same industry or functionality but when it comes to IT related jobs, there is not much article available. Being in I.T myself like most of my IT fellas knows, we need to change from one venue to another just to freshen and broaden our scope of marketability.
Therefore my discussion will be revolving around my experience and knowledge which I believe is very common in I.T. usually after your degree/diploma or any other certificate; the starting job will be as web/software developer, usually you start with a junior level and then you pretty stuck to it until you leave the company or senior position comes up. Being in IT as compared to finance or other field is that, IT’s marketability is based on the scope of things you are involved or gathered in projects, also if you are not looking at consulting route (which I wasn’t) future employers like if you have worked in a company atleast 2-4 yrs.
Once you are in the junior level, obviously the next move is to going to be in a mid level career, where you are not still managing anyone but sometimes you get the responsibility of managing some outsourced projects. This move can be carefully drafted to pick and choose a good company which has array of projects and good budget. Because as we all know, budgets determine what quality of projects can be performed.
Once you are in the mid level and worked around for 2-3 years the next move is to project manager level or I.T manager level. Based on industry and company this position varies. I have been fortunate to skip the PM level altogether and transitioned into IT Manager level. Being PM in some roles have its own advantage, to go this route PMP certification really helps.
From this stage onwards typically you face dilemma, because PM role or IT manager role itself is pretty strong one and moving up the ladder can be a challenge, because by now you will be deemed as a “Tech” guy and entering the management world can sometime prove a hurdle. The roles above you will be as following:
Director of IT
VP of Technology
In between these roles there are Sr. Director, Sr VP etc. but they are all minor transitional jobs. Unless you start your own business or partner in one, your direct transition from IT manager or PM to VP or CIO won’t happen; clearly because these roles goes with experience in strategy/accounting/marketing.
After being an IT manager or PM role for 3-4 yrs (not more than that) you need to focus to move or upgrade your management skills. Some of the paths are diploma in marketing/accounting, CMA designation, MBA to name some.
Doing any of these programs will give you a head start into Director level and then the path is pretty clear…