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Career Path to Director of IS

By harbathp ·
I have an extensive 18 year background in IS development. For those 18 years I have worked for one company, a large multi-division national corporation. I have progressed though the IS ranks, starting as a programmer. For the last 8 years I have focused on project management. My most recent position is Enterprise Project Manager, meaning that I run projects at an enterprise level.
My career target position is a Director of IS level position at a medium sized company. I am trying to determinewhat skill set is the most coveted in this role. I realize that most medium sized companies rely on packaged solutions and less on custom development. I am assuming that these companies would prefer an IS Director with a background on the technology infrastructure side.
Instead of shooting for my target now, I have the opportunity to manage the IT technology platform for one of our plants. In this role I will support all facets of IS processes, from application support to maintenance of the IT infrastructure. This role would enable me to learn technology skills that I feel might be required for my future career path. Is this an opportunity I should consider?

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Career Path to Director of IS

by timwalsh In reply to Career Path to Director o ...

While the the Director level would rely more on your leadership and management skills than your technical skills, a well-rounded technical/ development background would allow you to do a much better job.

While you are probably up to the challengefrom a purely management skills standpoint, your lack of experience on the infrastructure side of the house won't help you meet your goal. In smaller companies, the IS/IT Director is essentially filling the roll that a CIO/CTO may hold in larger companies. In other words, you would probably be the go-to man on questions of technology, how best to use technology to meet company goals, which technologies to invest in, etc. While one trait of a successful manager is to know where the expertise lies in the organization under his control, you won't look successful to upper management when your inevitable answer to any technical question is "Let me talk to my expert and I'll get back to you." A much more favorable answer (based on your well-rounded background) would be "Based on my experience I would do this, but let me talk with my experts and see if there is a better way." Also your development background would put you ahead of the game by also allowing you to make informed judgements concerning whether to outsource any needed development or trying to develop a rudimentary in-house development capability.

It sounds like you have the perfect opportunity to help "round-out" your experience. In your shoes, I would jump at the opportunity. While it may slightly set back any career goal timeline you might have, the additional experience will better equip you to realize your goal.

Also, considering the current job market, the time taken by this "deviation" may allow themarket to recover sufficiently to provide you with more possible opportunities.

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Career Path to Director of IS

by harbathp In reply to Career Path to Director o ...

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Career Path to Director of IS

by harbathp In reply to Career Path to Director o ...

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