I’m working with an IT team to help each of them develop their professional development plans. For most of the team, it’s really easy. Help desk, server admins and network guys have clear technical course work and simple-to-acheive certifications to collect along the way. It’s a path with many rewards and almost-instant gratification along the way.
Plus, for more technical people, learning about new technology is fun! Even better when the company pays for it.
It becomes somewhat more challenging when you start to look at the new IT Manager who leads the group. In the past, he’s been focused on Cisco certification and his ITIL base certification. Great – but as he’s having to get more hands-off technology, it’s time to move away from Cisco.
When helping him develop his plan, I had to pause and think. Most of my background and education was from the school of hard-knocks and lots of reading, not coursework or any obvious path. So where to point this new manager?
Clear paths include project management and business analysis. Learning to run successful projects is key to his success as a manager. Project Management Professional certification might be overkill – but he should definitely look at course in that area.
Another thought would be leadership and management or business communications courses from the local college (Langara here, or perhaps the Justice Institute). Learning how to manage and lead is possibly more important than any technical skills he might get.
Outside of courses, there’s some great reading for new managers. First Break All the Rules comes to mind as a must read. Many of the CIO-level books that I’ve read can be quite applicable as well.
What would you recommend for the new IT Manager? What courses and learning paths would create the right foundation?