Ronald Kister is an accomplished Information Technology (IT) professional who’s established himself in various capacities, first as an educator, then as a consultant. After completing a second master’s degree, he landed a job with Levittown Public Schools, a role that necessarily required him to oversee an IT department.
“I worked there for seven years overseeing everything that had to do with IT and Instructional Technology,” he says. “I was responsible for a department consisting of over twenty people and maintaining a budget of over five million dollars.”
To succeed in a position of leadership, especially in the IT world, requires a particular set of skills that are explained below.
Ability to learn
You have to continuously want to learn and acquire a broad range of technology and leadership capabilities. It requires embodying a mindset of constantly looking to develop your career. And even though you have an obligation to be proficient in tech-related matters, you also need to be fluent in business issues.
If you become proficient in disciplines such as virtualization and enterprise architecture, you may find these technical skills are valuable to a big firm, but only for a while. At some point, you may hit a wall, simply because what makes you an active tech contributor doesn’t necessarily translate into a leadership role.
The ability to shift gears is necessary at such a point. Having cross-functional expertise allows you to shift your focus to the situation at hand.
Odds are you didn’t learn a lot about risk assessment in college. But as you climb the career leader, it’s crucial to have this skill. If senior management respects your risk evaluation and mitigation skills, they’ll view you more positively when openings for senior roles become available. Being able to deal with risks also adds business value, making you a significant contributor to the organization.
Ronald Kister is an independent computer consultant who works with both large and small businesses.