The Tech/IT industry is mostly very rewarding. Many opportunities to learn, grow and develop for many years, many opportunities to be part of game changing projects and ideas. At the same time, probably due to the same reasons and the fact this industry is extremely dynamic and constantly changing there is a tendency to look for “new blood”, for fresh minds, for what is considered new, innovative, current.
Managers who plan and desire to lead long term careers in this industry should understand the expectations and preferences well and build their professional assets accordingly.
Three specific professional assets are important for a successful and long-term career in Tech/IT management:
Why are these the important assets and how to build them?
Up-current professional knowledge:
All organizations need to know what their competitors are thinking about, and knowing the developments, updates and changes in the industry can surly point to what your competitors are looking at. To compete well, you can’t stay in a bubble and must understand what is out there. That is also the expectation from the managers.
Another reason – knowledge of new options, technologies and methods, opens a wider range of ideas and options you can offer your business. And in general knowledge is considered professionalism.
There are 3 important fields of professional knowledge to keep track on:
Managerial – New management concepts and methodologies are changing the organization as we know it and this is going to continue and grow with new generations coming into work places and business becoming even more competitive.
Business – the business world is changing due to new technologies and possibilities and it is extremely important to understand the essence of it and be able to lead the business to better use technology and growth.
Technology – New frameworks, tools, concepts of architecture develop all the time to better support business needs. Technology trends and offering are important to understand as they are the base for every project we do.
Note that though it may look like a lot, managers mostly need to know an understand the trends, the new capabilities and possibilities and the impact of them, no need to be the “master” of each new technology.
Innovative habits and practice:
Organizations love innovative managers because– they (organizations) must innovate to stay relevant so they need their management to be the same, people who are innovators fast become leaders of changes and improvement, innovators more often have the opportunity to show case their professionalism and solve problems, and not less important – innovators are usually fun to be around, they seem fresh and interesting.
The good news – everyone can practice innovation and become more creative. There are four steps to practice innovation management –
So at the end, it is also about – management, process, focus and creativity.
Few ways to practice creative thinking in “everyday projects”- is to use creative ways of thinking like – design thinking, hackathons, idea market, etc to solve problems and challenges of your day to day, mostly those that are there for long without a breakthrough.
Professional brand is that reputation and perception that follow you everywhere you go. It helps create the right positioning inside and outside of the organization and obviously it is crucial for managers career success, especially in the tech industry that is very active and dominant in the professional-social media.
Managers should think of all the professional branding assets they have and make sure they “speak” the same language and create the right positioning – emphasizing the strengths, experience, professional assets, interests, etc.
Although it may seem secondary in importance, it has a significant impact on long term success. Perception usually becomes a reality, so building the right perception that reflects your professional assets and strength is key.
To sum, those who chose a tech management career for many years should adapt to the needs and culture of this industry. To be successful. - play it all in, stay in shape, keep the freshness and openness, stay knowledgeable and communicative.
Building the framework for the three assets – current professional knowledge, innovative thinking and professional branding as an ongoing process of learning and enrichment can help do it, while making it an enjoyable journey which may bring even more opportunities than expected.
Like all journeys, it starts with the first step, so here are some suggestions to start: