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The Career Path Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, August 4, 2011 9:06 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Career Path






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Post #1154721
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 2:30 AM
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Very interesting editorial, thanks.

This is something I have thought a lot about, and I think many other have too. I once worked as a team manager once but that was not for me, I immediately began slightly drifting away from the technical stuff and instead had to do some personnel administration. It was so boring! Please note that I mean no offence to managers in general, good managers really are extremely valuable, it just wasn't for me, and I'm sure there are those who enjoy the managing parts but find the technical details very boring ;).

I know that I never want to be responsible for other persons, I'd rather get better at the developing and designing.

One thing that has struck me is that I haven't seen many persons in their 50s-60s working striktly with software-/database development. However, I hope I still do that when I close in on that age, though maybe by then I will have more say over what I should work with and how it should be done thanks to my experience. Who knows?


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Post #1154815
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 2:32 AM
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Hi Steve,
I as a SQL DBA would like to shift my career to a Virtualization path but still having to work on Db VM servers.
Why if you may ask?
Well the obvius reason would be that we all know that currently we can run our SQL servers on VMWARE and HyperV for testing purposes and not in production. But my instict tel me this is just for now and as soon as the SQL server problem/challenge that hinders SQL(clustering as an example) from running on VMs in production are resolved, one will need a VMWare and HyperV skill to manage his SQL Servers especially those organizations that prefer private clouds.
So i have a passion for Virtualization but still i love my SQL Administration, This Virtualization era opens great opportunities for being a VM Infrastructure Architect - (SQL), and i feel it's really the way to go for me.
But nevertheless each and every DBA needs to have basic VM literacy according to my opinion.
Post #1154816
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 3:00 AM


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Definitely a subject close to my heart. Whilst I enjoy mentoring people, passing on knowledge, helping develop a workable plan and all the other interactions that development involves, I have no wish to manage anyone as such. Or be managed really, but that is a different story and to be honest my 'management' contact is not really evident - I don't even get an appraisal these days. There is just the project list and how best to get them done and make money - we are a small company operating on a kind of mutual endeavour basis really.

I guess in terms of 'advancement' well, I could move to being an official Project Leader or Team Architect which is pretty much what I do anyhow. For the minute I am making adequate money and I guess that is what most of this is about.
Post #1154834
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 3:12 AM
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It's definitely an issue in IT that needs addressing. I've reached a ceiling in my current position in terms of career advancement, because the only way "up" is to take on more managerial work. I have no interest in that at all, and so I stay where I am.

It would be nice to be able to continue to advance my earning power without sacrificing that which I'm good at. My solution is to become a self-employed software developer (most likely apps in the mobile arena), where I'll be able to do what I do best and advance my earning potential.

I do understand that money isn't everything though, as evidenced by my "standing still" for the last couple of years and not moving into management. But, you know, to have both the career path and the extra pay would be good.
Post #1154844
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 3:53 AM
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Most Technical people do not have soft skills and dealing with people's personal problems isnt their thing, they would rather deal with machines and error codes.
Post #1154879
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 4:06 AM


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Interesting editorial.

I guess management means different things to different people. But it seems clear to me that if anyone concludes they want to become a technical architect but not be a manager they haven't a clue what management really is. Management isn't about being in charge of a group of people and doing salary revues, appraisals, progress reports, and administrivia. It's about trying to influence the way your company or some part of it does its business, and taking responsibility for the impacts of that influence (or of your failure to inluence).

Any senior system architect's main job is setting technical policy, which includes choosing development methods and which development tools to use and perhaps (only perhaps, because a software house may not have production systems)what products and services (platforms, networking gear, bought in middleware) to base production systems on. This usually includes going and talking to end users about what they do so that [s]he can understand how potential developments will impact the company's real operations and decide technical policy accordingly, and talking to suppliers (both potential and actual) about the future. Usually the role also includes giving regular seminars on technical subjects (or arranging for outside experts to come and give them) to provide training for developers, for end users, for DBAs, and trouble-shooting technical issues (both in development and in production). Sometimes it also includes dispute resolution between competing interpretations of a standard, perhaps deciding to change a standard to match someone's mistake because it will have less impact to change the products that did it right than the ones that did it wrong. Even though he (or she) may have absolutely no-one reporting to him (or her), [s]he is a far more senior manager than someone leading a group of fifty people who just handes administration (including a budget), progress reporting, and reviews.

There is certainly room for senior technical people who won't take on management responsibility - people who are experts in their field, maybe do valuable research, maybe provide advice to managers (including architects) on technical options within their field of expertise but not actually take the decisions, maybe give technical presentations to help train other technical staff, maybe tackle the really difficult bugs and offer advice on (but not decide) whether a bug is to be tackled or left alone. They may be developers or system administrators or database administrators or network administrators. The recruitment industry has started calling these people "architects", greatly devaluing the term, but they used to be called things like "[company name] fellow", "senior designer", "[something] technology expert", "principal technical officer", "senior principal engineer", and so on. In some companies they get the same pay and perks as middle and senior management (depending on how high up the technical ladder they are), and/or have a lot of freedom to pick what research topic(s) they will work on. They may actually have a lot of influence but are not considered responsibile for it except where the influence is exerted through delivering training. The trouble is that these jobs are not very common (at least in Europe) except in large companies - small companies maybe can't afford them.


Tom
Post #1154883
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 4:14 AM
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In every place that I have worked management includes those tedious things mentioned above, e.g. job appraisals etc.

I'm not suggesting that is what management is "about", but I am stating that I don't want them to be part of my job.
Post #1154891
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 4:55 AM


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As you can see "we" are finding it hard to agree on what is the best path. Of course this is because the "best path" is usually very custom for each individual. For me I was in management for a while and realized that it was not my best skill set. My career path for the last 10 years has been to be an independent consultant. I should point out that my interpersonal skills are excellent so I am able to fit into different work environments with relative ease. But like all paths there is risk in being a consultant. I just turned 50 and I am still happily coding away.

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Post #1154904
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 6:14 AM


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Interesting topic. After retiring from the Air Force I started in management and eventually ended up as a CTO for an insurance company here in Texas. After a run-in with a new boss, I returned to the technical side and now am considered the database guru where I currently work. While I miss the benefits of being in upper management (and the money), I am now happier and look forward to going to work. I do not miss the hiring and firing and performance evaluations.

Mike Byrd
Post #1154963
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