<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5751651&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;">
Taking Technology Further



Techie, Which Career Path is Right for You?

by Steve Knutson on September 29, 2017

Tech jobs are multiplying nationwide, up 7.3 million from last year. The strong majority of those jobs (6.9 million) are at technology companies – like Marco – but a growing number also are within other companies in other industries such as healthcare and banking, according to a recent analysis by technology association CompTIA. Jobs in software, cybersecurity and cloud computing are leading the pack. The expanding digital economy has propelled the growth with no expectations of slowing down.

iStock-653870162.jpgWhat I have learned over the years is that those jobs can take two very different paths. 

I remember my dad saying his career goal was to never manage a person. He loved being an engineer. He retired at age 62 as an electrical engineer achieving his goal. Instead of climbing the management ladder, he focused on technical certifications. He became a distinguished member of the technical staff, holding the highest position without managing people.

I love the technical side of the job, too. But I gravitated toward the times I could connect with customers and work with teams to solve problems. So, I chose management. It still requires a level of technical competence so I can effectively talk about the products and solutions and identify new opportunities. But the farther up you go, the less technical and more financial you need to be. 

At some point in a highly technical career, we reach the fork in the road. We need to choose if we will pursue management or the technical track of certifications. We cannot be both. This is not unique to engineering or technical careers. We see the same in sales. The best sales professional does not necessarily equate to the best sales manager. The skills and passions are different. 

I’ve found many technical people become managers because that is the natural career progression – not necessarily the right path for them. Too often they should have drawn a line like my dad did. They’d be happier and more successful. A desire for both technical and management skills often leads organizations to pursue Marco’s Managed Services. They get the team of qualifications and services – without having to hire it.

How do you know which path is right for you? Consider these key questions:

  • How do others rate your communication skills?
    It’s important to understand how non-technical people describe your communication style when considering the management path. When we surround ourselves with technical people, we can talk differently. Management challenges us to adapt our style and have the ability to break down complex concepts in easy to understand language.

  • How well do you get along with people?
    On the technical path, you can be more isolated, working on projects more independently. The management path is the complete opposite. You explore and solve problems collaboratively. Which do you prefer? Where do you thrive?

  • Why do you want to be a manager?
    Too often people may choose management for the money when it should be about the people. While people can earn more in management, highly technical team members can make just as much in many cases because their specialized skills are in growing demand. Being a manager is completely different than being an engineer or technician. It requires a different set of skills and most of them are people-based, like the ability to handle conflict, motivate and measure progress.

Neither path is better than the other. They are different and you’re probably more naturally gifted for one than the other. Our world will continue to need a rising amount of both types of professionals.

Learn More About Hosted UCaaS

Topics: Technology Trends, technology jobs

What Can a Secure Operations Center Do for You?

Security threats are rising with an increasing emphasis on smaller businesses. Hackers see them as easy targets and gateways to larger businesses. The famous attack on Target in 2013 was actually...Read more

Techie, Which Career Path is Right for You?

Tech jobs are multiplying nationwide, up 7.3 million from last year. The strong majority of those jobs (6.9 million) are at technology companies – like Marco – but a growing number also are within...Read more

How Can Business Continue After a Disaster?

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, questions have been raised about the potential for a business to continue after a disaster. Is it even possible? Yes. But it does...Read more

5 Smart Marketing Moves

What’s the best marketing pitch you’ve received lately? I bet it did not feel like a pitch at all. I prefer to not feel like I am being sold to – or sold out – when someone’s marketing to me. ...Read more

What Marketing Earns Business? Not This.

As the CTO and CIO at Marco, I get inundated – I mean inundated – with marketing solicitations. It used to be primarily mail, some email and the occasional call. Now, I can spend a good chunk of my...Read more

How Employees Can Protect You from a Cyber Attack

Security threats change every day. Are your employees ready to fight against them? It’s a question that’s often on my mind. Today, hackers do not hack systems; they hack people. A recent IBM study...Read more

You Might Need Managed IT Services If… (Thanks Jeff Foxworthy)

A friend recently asked, “What are key ways you know you need Managed IT Services?” Instantly, a rendition of the Jeff Foxworthy redneck one liners started running through my head. They were not...Read more

2 Tools for Faster Collaboration

The meeting is scheduled. Everyone shows up on time – some even early. The agenda is set. You check off all the calendar and meeting etiquette steps, we’ve talked about in recent blogs....Read more

Take Back Your Calendar: 7 Ways to Better Scheduling

In any given week, I will pull up my electronic calendar and find myself double or even triple booked. It’s become laughable. How can this be? Isn’t technology supposed to prevent this? I spend the...Read more

7 Ways to Improve Your Meetings

Technology is supposed to make us more productive – especially in our meetings. We have electronic calendars, e-communication tools and can start a meeting with anyone – anywhere in the world – with...Read more

What’s the Future of Data Centers?

In communities where the construction of new manufacturing facilities once adorned the headlines, we’re seeing a new economic player: data centers.  We’re creating and storing more information...Read more

When Customer Service Goes Wrong

I recently had one of my worst customer service experiences, if not the worst. It all started with the inability to connect to the Internet at a business that my family operates. It meant the...Read more

Does Your Security Have Enough Layers?

When I was in the U.S. military, I learned about the power of “defense in depth.” This defense strategy, that dates back to beginning of time, involves employing multiple layers of defense to resist...Read more

How Are You Looking for Opportunities to Improve?

As I walked with the Marco team into the airport to return home from a recent trip to Costa Rica, my first thought was, “There has to be a better way.” Some passengers walked straight to the...Read more

We’re Building Factories. Should You?

We’re building factories. While that’s a sentence I never expected to say as Chief Technology Officer of Marco, it’s not what you think. I am not talking about the traditional bricks-and-mortar...Read more

A Futuristic Notebook Is Here

I have piles upon piles of notepads of my handwritten notes filed in my desk drawer. Some of them date back quite far and yes, I still pull them out and refer to them. Sometimes, it takes some...Read more

Key Technology Services Go À La Carte

As a technology provider, we have to change our business model constantly to stay relevant and deliver value to our clients. That means being willing to update the products and services we sell and...Read more

How Technology Shifts Change Us

As Chief Technology Officer, I have helped provide the strategic direction of the technology and related services that Marco provides. In recent years, that role has become more demanding due to the...Read more

Futuristic Self-Service Arrives: Are You Ready for This?

I remember when my oldest daughter was two. Like many kids her age, she desired to do things herself. It didn’t matter if it took her longer to do it. As she grew older, it meant I waited patiently...Read more

5 Tech Trends That Will Impact Business in 2017

I’m often asked to pull out a crystal ball and talk about where technology is going. Preparing for the future and identifying the right technology for it is a main role I play as Chief Technology...Read more

Proximity Marketing Increases with Wi-Fi Access Apps

You know the saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The same is true when it comes to Wi-Fi. It’s become so common to jump on a network - for free - after quickly clicking “I agree” to...Read more

Password Alert: Your Account Could be Compromised

If you’re using your birthday, anniversary, kids’ birthdays or any information that can be found online – including your social media account – in your passwords, your account could easily be...Read more

Have Your Heard of the Dark Web?

Have you heard of the Dark Web? I bet not and I encourage you to resist the urge to Google it and start clicking. It is called the Dark Web for good reason.  The "Dark Web" is the encrypted...Read more

Where Are You On the Technology Curve?

My job is to stay ahead of the technology curve. That used to mean looking out three to five years – or even 10 years when I first started my career. Today, we expect some technology to be obsolete...Read more

What Do the Russian Hacks Mean to Your Organization?

There has been quite a bit of talk – and jokes – about the “Russian attackers” in recent days. So is the threat real and how does it impact your organization?Russian hackers claim they will try to...Read more