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Does Manager Need Technical Skills?

By bmossing ·
My career has progressed into management without a deep technical background. My primary background is in programming (Ada, Fortran, Pascal, Assembly), but I took on my first management position about 8 years ago and really haven't coded since. Now I have experience managing software development, networks, help desk, configuration mgmt, and integration mgmt, and have picked up basic information along the way, but now my programming skills are out-of-date. I feel my lack of current hands-on is hindering my job search. I want to continue in management eventually to the CIO level. I have a BS in CIS and an MBA in computer resources and info mgmt.

What's the best way for me to gain experience and training to bolster my hands-on skills? Go into consulting? Pursue certification? Try to return to a more technical position? Has anyone else faced this situation and did you resolve it? How? Or is this not really a problem? Am I being overly sensitive to the situation? I'd love to hear advice from experienced managers. Reply here or e-mail bmossing@ureach.com. Thanks!

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Does Manager Need Technical Skills?

by McKayTech In reply to Does Manager Need Technic ...

I'm not sure I can validate your feeling that your job search is being hindered by a lack of "hands-on" skills.

Your sights seem to be aimed towards larger companies and no such company within my experience expects a CIO to be proficient as a programmer. A past background in programming can be helpful in establishing your analytical abilities, but being current in the programming paradigm of the present moment just doesn't seem to carry much weight.

At the CIO level, the primary expectations are to 1. have a vision for where technology can take the company; 2. be able to analyze, recommend and promote projects based on various measures of value to the business (ROI, risk reduction, new line of business); and 3. have a track record of success at increasingly higher levels of responsibility.

The key is start building that last one. I'm hesitant to recommend anything from my background because my path has been a lot different that anyone around me. But re-proving your technical skills is not likely to be the best way to convince a future employer that you will be a good steward of their IS resources.

regards!

paul

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Does Manager Need Technical Skills?

by bmossing In reply to Does Manager Need Technic ...

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Does Manager Need Technical Skills?

by bmossing In reply to Does Manager Need Technic ...

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Does Manager Need Technical Skills?

by MLevy In reply to Does Manager Need Technic ...

I would have to agree with the last answer. I am trying to take the same track you are. I have a BS in BusAdmin and I am working toward a MBA in CIS\Telecom MGT. I have enilsted the mentoring of several people farther on this path than I am and they have all agreed that while it is important to have had a technical backround at some point there comes a time in your career when the hands on is actually frowned upon. It is viewed as waisting your time with the little details. Those are things that you are expected to hire the right people to take care of so that you can focus on the greater scope. If you just want to be able to converse intellegently, I would recommend looking into some short seminars to pick up the current lingo.
Also sites like this are great for that.
Good Luck,
-MLevy

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