Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader

Career advice: Moving into Internet security

Premier 100 IT Leader Stuart Kippelman also answers questions on career growth

Stuart Kippelman
Stuart Kippelman, CIO at Covanta Energy

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader
Stuart Kippelman
Title:
Vice president and CIO
Company: Covanta Energy

Kippelman is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to askaleader@computerworld.com.

I've been in IT support for a few years and now want to begin to focus on Internet security. What steps should I take to prepare for such a move? Since you're already in support, your first step should be to spend more time with security-related support. I'd suggest asking your manager if you can work to specialize on the security incidents that come in. Being involved in security-related incidents will put you in the heart of Internet security and allow you to learn very quickly. From there, you can move into many other areas of security-related IT.

I manage a help desk, but I seem to have few opportunities for growth. I'm feeling frustrated because I feel that many of my skills are going to waste. What should I do? The help desk (also called the service desk) is one of the most important areas of IT, and good IT managers know that. You are the interface between the entire IT department and the company's user community. You make IT look good, or bad. Doing the job well requires enormous technical, coordination and communication skills. Therefore, your management should see you as a key leader in the company, and someone who is part of the long-term success of the department. With that said, you can leverage your skills in project management, program management and even software development. Talk to your manager about becoming more involved in non-support-related projects. If that doesn't work, and management doesn't see your value, then it's time to look elsewhere.

What job in IT is a good place for launching a new career, with an eye toward fast advancement? This is a very broad question. Project, program or portfolio management are great places from which to launch a successful career. They don't require deep technical skills, yet have visibility across all levels of IT and the business. These roles make or break the planning and delivery of everything IT does. Without these roles, IT can't function properly. Therefore, success will bring you rewards and advancement.

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