Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Techie in a non-tech environment

I read a great article on Dice this morning. For those who don't know, Dice is the premier site for guys like me who want to keep their finger on the pulse of what skills are in demand. It's a job board first, but provides a lot more than that. This article is an example of why I still visit Dice everyday even though I'm not actively seeking employment. I even have Dice send me daily emails of new jobs posted in my neck of the woods.

Times must be good because on some days there are a dozen or more new listings within ten miles of the small little town of Camarillo CA where I live. Some listings are obvious attempts to suck in new applicants to fill the pool of the new headhunter. Most are attempts to find someone with that obscure skill that most tech guys like me will probably never have.

The writer of the article describes his life as a techie in a non-tech world. I was interested because that's exactly how I spend my day as the IT Manager for a very non-tech company. I was surprised by his take on the whole situation. Instead of focusing on the benefits of being the top tech dog, he described why it was not for him. Apparently he missed the feedback from other techies that he used to get in his previous job. I've gone through that too but as I get older I realize that the perks of such a position far outweigh the downside that he writes about.

For example, I just love going into a meeting to buy new hardware because usually the boss has already been convinced by other managers that the purchase is necessary. I may not be up on all the latest buzzwords and tech offerings but I do feel like a major contributor to the success of the company. While it's true that the boss usually has no interest in IT stuff, when it becomes obvious that the lack of his participation in the process will affect his ability to do business, he becomes very attentive.

The writer has a point that other department managers can be very naive and mistaken when it comes to what you can and can't do as an IT Manager. Yep, they tend to think that you are in charge of anything that uses electricity or that you talk into, but that's OK. I don't mind being the jack of all trades, especially since I use outside consultants for the heavy lifting when it comes to some very specialized technology. I guess it all depends on the company structure.

Working with a lot of other techno geeks is good when getting started in a career but eventually you need to stand on your own. It requires a little more research and digging to find exactly the right solution but that suits me just fine. There are a lot of people out there who could do the tech side on my job better than I do, but my contribution to problem solving and finding new ways to utilize one of our greatest assets - the flow of information - is richly rewarding.

No comments: