Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader:
The CIO at John Hancock Financial Services answers questions about cloud computing as a career and more.
My friends in IT seem to be moving toward jobs at cloud computing firms. I'm in IT operations at a traditional company. Am I missing the boat? There are two sides to the cloud computing coin: the buy and the sell. I surmise from your question that your friends are moving to sell-side consultancy and delivery firms. This is a fast-growing industry, and as a result, there's a willingness among employers to make attractive offers to find talent. But don't lose sight of the fact that in due course the buy side will be a much larger employer of cloud talent by orders of magnitude. If you're at a traditional company, now is your moment to step up and lead the charge. You can really distinguish yourself as your company's cloud expert (as opposed to being one of many at a cloud vendor or consultancy).
I've been out of work for over a year. As much as I love the tech life (15 years, mostly in networking), I'm thinking about bailing out of IT. Do you think it's worth hanging in there? If so, what can I do while unemployed to make myself more marketable? When I recently received an email from my eight-year-old niece (who's using computers at an age when I could barely scrawl my name with a pencil), I realized that the role of the IT function as the gatekeeper of the technology domain was changing forever. You may needlessly constrain the universe of possibilities if you define your role narrowly to networking or the IT function. Ask yourself about problems you've dealt with, how you successfully solved them and the business value that resulted. If you describe yourself to the world this way, you'll find there are a lot of opportunities to pursue.
I see a lot of advice on making resumes attention-getting. What gets your attention? People spend way too much time fussing over resumes. Most jobs at my company generate between 200 and 500 applicants. It's impractical to read all of these meticulously crafted documents. When I look at resumes, I want to see three things in the opening summary: the problems that the person solves, the context or approach that is used, and how genuine value results from that. The rest of the resume should provide a list of roles, with a fact-based example that supports the problem/approach/value statement in the summary for the most recent assignments. Make sure to list credentials such as education, licenses, language skills, published reports and so forth. Also, personal items should be included that support the summary (e.g., perform such-and-such function for a nonprofit). Keep it to two pages. Lastly, have someone besides yourself do the proofreading -- spelling and grammar mistakes mean "game over" no matter how brilliant you may otherwise be.
Talking Up IT Jobs
U.S. News & World Report published its report on the "Best Jobs of 2012" in February, and several IT positions showed up in the top 10.
The magazine's rankings are largely determined by expected job openings in each field (using the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections that have been mentioned on this page several times), but other factors are considered, including average salaries and job satisfaction (using metrics provided by Glassdoor). The jobs that rose to the top using that formula were predominantly in healthcare and technology. Possible takeaway: It might be best to look for an IT job in the healthcare sector.
U.S. News followed up that report with one in March on the best job prospects for MBA graduates, based on expected openings. In that case, IT held the top three positions.
Top 10 Jobs of 2012
1. Registered nurse
2. Software developer
4. Medical assistant
5. Database administrator
6. Web developer
7. Computer systems analyst
8. Physical therapist
9. Computer programmer
10. Occupational therapist
Top Jobs for MBA Graduates
1. Database administrator
2. Web developer
3. Computer systems analyst
5. Financial adviser
6. HR specialist
7. Financial analyst
8. Management analyst
Source: U.S. News & World Report, February and March 2012
More Career Watch columns
- Career Watch: Getting the bottom line into your resume
- Career Watch: How IT can be influential
- Career Watch: Crunching the BLS jobs figures
- Career Watch: Who's the best-paid CIO in the land?
- Career Watch: Top perks for IT jobs
- Career Watch: The rise of people architecture
- Career Watch: Pay was down for CS grads last year, but IT workers find that money isn't everything
- Career Watch: In-demand skills for 2014
- Career Watch: On job satisfaction, CIOs' perceptions may be skewed
- Career Watch: Paying lip service to work/life balance
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