I currently am an IT Manager in my organisation, but seeing the growth of the company, I predict that we will need a CIO and/or CTO within the next 18 months.
I want to make sure that I will be the logical choice for this position when the time comes, but how do I go about it?
Learning by doing may have been good enough until now ... But is it still?
One of our IT Leader Mastermind groups recently tackled this question. Here is a summarised version of the outcomes.
First of all, congratulations! The most important first step towards growing in your career is making the firm decision to actually do so… and by asking this question, you show that you have done just that.
But be clear as to what role you really want to go for and what you are suited for. You mentioned CIO and CTO. There are some material differences you need to be aware of and it usually requires different types people. Read up on the internet and talk to people who know you or even your HR department to determine what a good fit might be for your future self. Is it maybe yet a different role?
Now it is time to map out how to get there. (And for the rest of this answer we assume that you settled on becoming a CIO.)
As an IT Manager you are most likely more than adequately trained on technical topics. Don’t default to more technical training just because it is what you know best or you fear losing your touch. Look at what is needed for your future role – chances are that you will have to focus on business management and soft skills.
An MBA is often seen as the gold standard for the step into business management and many people would attest to that. Beware, however, that few people will have the means (financially and time-wise) to pull through that one. If you do decide on an MBA, you will need the full support of your family as it will put your social life on hold for the next year (fulltime) or three or more if you study part-time.
Self-study is on the other side of the spectrum with lots of options in between.
Choosing a certification is very difficult as there are lots of specific courses but very little that really looks at things holistically. Spend some time on research and map out a Personal Development Plan. Here once more the HR department could greatly assist you.
If you are not yet ready for a longer-term commitment and first want to do one course, then consider learning more about Agile Project Management. An Agile mindset is hugely important to business agility which in turn is key to Digital Transformation of any organisation. You should immediately be able to implement what you learn there.
And whilst we are at implementation: Introducing enabling technologies in more sectors of the business, in a way that the results are visible and clearly measurable, is a sure-fire way to get you noticed. But this is a topic for another day and another Mastermind.
Digital Sensei | Abundance Thinker | Helping Mid-Market Companies Evolve through Digital Transformation - As trained Industrial Engineer with close on 25 years' experience as IT Professional and Business Executive in the mid-market IT industry, Mathias Tölken loves to share his experiences and expertise with others.
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