Information Technology job titles can be confusing because a tech person generally performs multiple job roles. For example, you can be an IT Project Manager and also have responsibility as a Systems Developer, Software Developer, or Systems Analyst, just to name a few. When you are looking to advance your technology career, it is important to look at your interesting achievements that are not part of your primary job responsibilities.
An ideal technical job search should focus on the exploration and discovery of opportunities both within your domain, as well as outside it. For technology jobs in particular, the industry changes so frequently that new opportunities continuously arise. For inquisitive individuals who are able to look beyond standard career paths, the results can be truly amazing.
Advanced Your Technology Career: Think about the possibilities
Do you want to transition from Software Engineer to Data Engineer?
Do you want to transition from Data Analyst to Data Wrangler?
Do you want to transition from BI Report Writer to Data Scientist?
Taking on these expanded responsibilities can create career opportunities beyond a traditional career path. This was the case for one of my clients who made such a discovery.
Advance Your Technology Career: Use a storytelling process to describe your achievements
Bryan came to me after being laid off from a job he’d held for over 10 years. He wanted to find another position as a help desk support manager because it aligned the best with the primary work he’d been doing. From my perspective, it seemed like a very straightforward project.
Bryan used my storytelling approach to describe those projects where he was most proud of the results. He soon filled his questionnaire with great examples of the work he’d done. But as I read through his stories, a distinct theme emerged that had nothing to do with his IT support responsibilities.
Instead, the projects that he described were about the business products he’d created– simulations to develop and test management skills in an online learning environment. Over his career, he’d designed business simulations that blended standard business programming with game programming into products that became the primary revenue stream for the business.
Here is how I captured some of the work that he’d done. I first defined the business need and then wrote to that need.
Advance your Technology Career: Create a compelling technology resume
Business Need: Create a new “family” of project management teaching simulations.
Developed products that generated ~$10M over 3 years, with a low development cost. Created a common platform for 3 educational product lines.
o Coordinated with subject matter experts to define requirements and validate features including action learning, individual team exercises, and a mini simulation of a project for a hands-on experience.
o Designed and developed simulation, utilizing a blended team of in-house and outsourced resources.
o Wrote user and instructor’s guides, and specified hardware, peripherals, and supporting software for classroom use.
o Rolled out products for instructor and student use and created a feedback loop for capturing suggestions for continuous improvement.
Business Need: Major investment firm wanted to evaluate decision-making capabilities of branch managers.
Developed a model that put people in simulated sales situations. Management was able to analyze their decisions and achieve goal to evaluate performance.
Delivered on the challenge to have performance exactly model the client’s extensive data collected by mapping real sales performance to situations and the decisions made in those situations.
Yielded years of continued business with the client and the development of similar products for additional investment firms.
Business Need: Major electronics firm wanted to evaluate sales assistant’s ability to influence customer decisions, prioritize customer value, and manage time well within a sales territory.
Worked closely with client to select the appropriate available decisions to influence the customers, and to simulate time management.
Created problem situations identified by actual sales reps and turned them into random events to challenge the participants. Used varying customer profiles and actual model numbers within current product lines for an authentic experience.
Creating the simulations had not been Bryan’s primary job so he didn’t consider it as a strong skill for his job search. He actually thought that the simulations would only be valuable for an online learning company. What Bryan didn’t realize was that his skills were a great fit for Business Analytics and Predictive Analytics – these disciplines needed many of the same skills that he possessed.
Bryan nearly missed an exceptional opportunity by focusing his job search on the familiar work of help desk management and IT support. Though proud of his work with simulations, he saw it as secondary to his core support responsibilities. Seeing simulation only in context of online learning limited his career vision. New opportunities opened up when he became aware that simulation is a central concept of business analytics and a high-demand skill set.
Don’t miss out on career opportunities. Explore all the possibilities. Create an interesting technical resume. Think about all of the things that you done.