Next move: How can I move on from a small firm?

I am five years into my first job as an IT manager of a small team in a small insurance consultancy. There is nowhere higher that I can progress to in the company. I am worried that my jack-of-all-trades role and lack of formal IT qualifications may hinder me in the future.

The question:

I am five years into my first job as an IT manager of a small team in a small insurance consultancy. I have a non-IT BSc. My work is varied, concentrating on the administration of a SQL 2000 CRM system, change control, project management and software development.

There is nowhere higher that I can progress to in the company. I am worried that my jack-of-all-trades role and lack of formal IT qualifications may hinder me in the future.

I am unsure how to further my development, but feel, with the lack of any clear software development projects, that "softer" business IT skills may be beneficial.



The solution: Build on your area of specialist expertise

I can understand your concern. Like many people working in IT, you could be heading for a short-lived career if you do not expand your core technical ability as well as more "soft" managerial skills and the ability to develop either or both of these can be limited in smaller businesses.

Working in a small company does have its benefits, however, as you do tend to get involved in more varied roles, which should enable you to find out what you like doing best, be it development, support, team management or project management.

Once you have identified what type of activity suits you best, look for work specifically in that area. Your lack of formal IT skills and certification may hold you back, so a postgraduate course in a relevant area based on your best skills would be advantageous.

When looking for a new position try to concentrate on roles that are within the insurance sector or similar to build on your specialist expertise. Your business knowledge will be of benefit to larger organisations in the same market as your small firm.

Solution by Jason d'Silva Williams, manager, commercial IT recruitment, Hudson

The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching

E-mail your career questions to:

computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

 

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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