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IT Pro Needs Advice on Next Career Move

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IT Pro Needs Advice on Next Career Move

RB_ITProfessional
Greetings! I am in the process of evaluating where I am with my career, and making some plans for next moves. I am looking to some of the experienced IT professionals in the community for some suggestions on what areas I could most easily transition to given my background. My background consists of the following:

-3 years of Systems Administration in a Windows and UNIX environment
-4 years as a Web Applications Programmer (J2EE, .NET, Oracle, MS SQL)
-2 Years as a Systems Analyst supporting various analytical systems
-2 Years as a Project Manager implementing various IT projects including software development and IT infrastructure implementation

Educational Background includes:
-Bachelor of Information Technology
-Masters degree in Business

I don't really enjoy the Project Management work as much as I thought I might. In fact, I really don't enjoy the "business" side of IT at all! I am really looking to move back over to the technical side, although I am not really sure in what capacity, and how to go about making the transition. Given that I also have a bit background with fraud detection and analytics, I would like to move back over to that area and perhaps do something either in security or computer forensics. So my questions are as follows:

-Given that most of my recent experience has been as a PM, how should I go about transitioning back over to the technical side?
-Do you have any other suggestions for what areas I could move to given my background? What training would be needed given your suggested ideas?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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    Navy Moose

    I was laid off a couple of months ago and two of my former managers have independently told me I should look for something along the lines of Service Delivery Manager or project management. They said my greatest skills are dealing with the customers and translating their needs into hardware and software requirements.

    What made you want to switch from hands on to project management? I got my MBA three years ago and have never used it.

    Good Luck!

    NavyMoose

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    RB_ITProfessional

    I originally made switch thinking that it was the logical step in my career. At the time, it seemed like a challenge that I would enjoy. I like project management in a lot of respects, but I dislike it in many more. The overall mechanics of project management is fairly easy (building project plans, managing issues and risks, disseminating project communications etc.). The more challenging aspect of project management lies in the political aspects that surround the role. It is very difficult to manage a group of people in a matrix environment where you are not the functional manager of your team. Getting a group of people who have competing priorities to ?buy-in? to your project can be very difficult. It is even more difficult when key project stakeholders refuse or are otherwise unable to provide adequate management support. Those are just a couple of the ?challenges? of project management that have taken me away from the true joy of why I got into IT in the first place.

    I hope that you will enjoy the Project Management role more than I did. It is a very rewarding job for some.

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    Navy Moose

    The politics is something which I can only learn by being involved in the role.

    In grad school, I remember being told a bad project management role is one where the PM has the responsibility but does not have the authority to get the members of the team to do what is needed. I view this as being setup for failure.

    Some of the jobs I'm seeing include project management as part of the job description. I started studying the PMBOK for my CAPM exam.

    Good luck!

    Navy Moose

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    PM Hut

    I totally agree with the above comment, if the project manager has no authority then he won't be able to fulfill his job properly. Additionally, following procedures will reduce risks and make the whole process much more fun and will reduce fear from the whole idea of project management. A complete Project Management Process tutorial can be found at http://www.pmhut.com/project-management-process

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    adamblevins

    First, the most common joke/gripe in PM is that you have all of the responsibility and none of the authority.

    Second, let me say PM = Good communication.

    When asked, I say that PM is 80% communication, and 20% organization.

    That is why it is difficult to market and many see PM as unnecessary or overhead.

    Third, matrix teams can be hard to squeeze for productivity.

    To make it work you need top down communication and a clear roles & responsibilities matrix.

    Everyone on the team, as well as their managers, need to review that matrix and understand its impact on day to day operations has been approved by "the big cheese".

    Once you have that, the doors are open to get work done. If your Big Cheese won't back you, then reiterate the need for communications to disseminated from the top, if you don't get them, bail.

  • +
    0 Votes
    Navy Moose

    I was laid off a couple of months ago and two of my former managers have independently told me I should look for something along the lines of Service Delivery Manager or project management. They said my greatest skills are dealing with the customers and translating their needs into hardware and software requirements.

    What made you want to switch from hands on to project management? I got my MBA three years ago and have never used it.

    Good Luck!

    NavyMoose

    +
    0 Votes
    RB_ITProfessional

    I originally made switch thinking that it was the logical step in my career. At the time, it seemed like a challenge that I would enjoy. I like project management in a lot of respects, but I dislike it in many more. The overall mechanics of project management is fairly easy (building project plans, managing issues and risks, disseminating project communications etc.). The more challenging aspect of project management lies in the political aspects that surround the role. It is very difficult to manage a group of people in a matrix environment where you are not the functional manager of your team. Getting a group of people who have competing priorities to ?buy-in? to your project can be very difficult. It is even more difficult when key project stakeholders refuse or are otherwise unable to provide adequate management support. Those are just a couple of the ?challenges? of project management that have taken me away from the true joy of why I got into IT in the first place.

    I hope that you will enjoy the Project Management role more than I did. It is a very rewarding job for some.

    +
    0 Votes
    Navy Moose

    The politics is something which I can only learn by being involved in the role.

    In grad school, I remember being told a bad project management role is one where the PM has the responsibility but does not have the authority to get the members of the team to do what is needed. I view this as being setup for failure.

    Some of the jobs I'm seeing include project management as part of the job description. I started studying the PMBOK for my CAPM exam.

    Good luck!

    Navy Moose

    +
    0 Votes
    PM Hut

    I totally agree with the above comment, if the project manager has no authority then he won't be able to fulfill his job properly. Additionally, following procedures will reduce risks and make the whole process much more fun and will reduce fear from the whole idea of project management. A complete Project Management Process tutorial can be found at http://www.pmhut.com/project-management-process

    +
    0 Votes
    adamblevins

    First, the most common joke/gripe in PM is that you have all of the responsibility and none of the authority.

    Second, let me say PM = Good communication.

    When asked, I say that PM is 80% communication, and 20% organization.

    That is why it is difficult to market and many see PM as unnecessary or overhead.

    Third, matrix teams can be hard to squeeze for productivity.

    To make it work you need top down communication and a clear roles & responsibilities matrix.

    Everyone on the team, as well as their managers, need to review that matrix and understand its impact on day to day operations has been approved by "the big cheese".

    Once you have that, the doors are open to get work done. If your Big Cheese won't back you, then reiterate the need for communications to disseminated from the top, if you don't get them, bail.