I’m enjoying a circuit of coffee catch ups with IT Managers around town at the moment and chatting through their career progression. I’m having some fascinating chats and learning a lot, some of which I’ll share here.
The latest one was with a software dev who immigrated from Pakistan over 10 years ago and is still at that same company having worked his way up the ranks now to IT Manager.
The key takeaways for me in terms of career progression were:
Getting the first job can be hard
It’s hard as an immigrant to get that first job. But because he was willing to relocate anywhere in Aus and do a week’s paid trial, they offered him a role not long after he arrived. Most immigrants aren’t that lucky, but you maximise your chances if you are flexible and can prove your skills in some way.
Career path is unclear
There was no obvious career path when he joined. He was the first software developer employed. As they grew the dev team he actively asked his boss what the next role for him at the company would be. He kept delivering and performing at a high level which earned him the right to keep asking that question. Most times the role didn’t exist but he effectively created his own roles due to the impressive work that he did.
No shortcut to acquiring relationship and leadership skills
The hardest challenge when moving from a technical to management role is learning the relationship and leadership skills. He says there’s no shortcut to learning these. He was sent on leadership training and had help from an external mentor but then it was all down to face time with people and stakeholders and really going deep to understand people as individuals and treat them accordingly, managing them in a way that works best for them. You have to be humble, keep learning and recognise that people and management skills can and should be learnt.
If you’re an IT Manager and are keen to have a coffee with me and talk through your career, I’d love to sit down with you. I know my candidates that are keen to end up in management really enjoy hearing these stories.
If you’re job hunting for an IT management position, visit our job board.