Career advice: Three issues that should top the IT agenda this year

Premier 100 IT Leader Sonya Christian also answers questions on career paths

Sonya Christian
Sonya Christian, CIO at West Georgia Health

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader
Sonya Christian
Title:
CIO
Company: West Georgia Health

Christian is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about the major issues IT should be addressing in the coming year and career paths. 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.

What major issues should IT departments be planning to address in the coming year? I see three -- and IT should not just be planning to address them this year, but probably should already have a strategy in place.

1. Mobile device integration: How does the use of mobile devices impact the way your users access their applications? Do you have a position on BYOD (bring your own device)? Do you offer your suite of applications via a downloadable mobile application? End users are more and more savvy and wish to use one device to cover both personal and business computing needs. Does your organization promote or prohibit this?

2. Cloud computing: Most organizations are using some type of cloud computing, either private, public or hybrid of some description. Does your cloud infrastructure best support the needs of your organization? Are you exposing confidential, proprietary information by hosting it in a public cloud? Conversely, are you paying too much for a private cloud infrastructure for data that could be housed with a public host?

3. Business development: Are you leveraging your technology to bring new opportunities to your organization. IT should not only be aligned with organizational goals, but should also be a key player in developing new and emerging strategies for your organization.

I've been a software engineer for a few years now but wonder which path is more promising: analyst or developer? I believe that both paths have ample room for development. However, I would argue that an individual who can combine aspects of both talent pools will have the inside track. New applications are being developed all the time, particularly in the mobile environment. A good analyst knows how to translate and communicate the needs of the customer. Someone with development skills can take those needs and create applications that benefit the business. Someone who has skills in both arenas can help remove barriers and move projects forward at a greater speed.

I have just earned my BS in computer science and am eager to put it to use. So far, the offers I've received are low-paying and otherwise uninteresting. Is this normal? I would encourage you to look for opportunities in a growing business, one that's in its early to middle life. Seek to partner your technical skills with business expertise. Most organizations are looking for someone who can help the organization grow. Technical skills are often outsourced to offshore resources. It's those "extra" skills that make you truly valuable to your company.

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