It’s your IT career, manage it!

This blog site is for IT professionals in higher education. Many of us got to our jobs through a variety of paths. In most situations, IT professionals make a decent salary. But there are no long-term guarantees of job security. Not anymore.

The question I pose is ‘where are you going?‘ This is a volatile industry. What is a valuable skill today may be obsolete tomorrow. As institutions of higher ed are reeling from the economic crisis, many of the services we previously took for granted are being scrutinized. Think about your salary, add the cost of benefits, and then ask yourself…am I worth it? Are there alternatives? Am I adaptive and flexible or sitting on some technology with a shelf life?

It doesn’t need to be doom and gloom. There is ample opportunity in the IT field in higher education…especially for those who plan. Start by assessing your skills. In addition to remaining current with new and emerging technologies, can you manage a team? Are you skilled in project management? Are you an effective communicator? Do you aspire to management or higher, like a CIO or VP position? Maybe you want to lead another type of department.

The first wave of IT leaders is approaching retirement. They emerged as leaders in an evolving and chaotic industry. The next wave of leaders will be more deliberate. Institutions are looking for people with not just the knowledge of technology, but the skills to ‘get it done.’ We need people who understand the various needs of our institutions, who can anticipate trends and be ready when they are needed, and those who can communicate in clear and lay terms. Most of all, we need people who can run the business of information technology.

My intent in this blog is to get you thinking and provide some seasoned advice. I had plenty of good mentoring and role modeling in my path to a CIO role. I’m paying it forward.

Have questions about your IT career?  Send me a note at dwight.fischer@dal.ca.

Next week: Advancing Your IT Career.