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Tech Career Position Ideas

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am seeking some ideas from the SF members in the tech field. Previously i worked in banking and was a really good manager(had awards, bonuses, raises, liked by upper management) but decided to leave for a tech job which was more analytical and less management.

During this time i decided i needed more technical skills and decided to pursue a degree in information systems (computer science with a business twist). Currently i am unsure of whether i want to go the Product route or the Developer route. Frankly i am not sure which one i'd be better at or be happier with. All i know is every-time i applied for a different position to go towards a product/dev route i keep being told that i don't have enough experience. I find it really hard to move around within the company. Currently i am 5 classes away from a BS and am not sure what to look for or do. Feels like every position needs a lot of experience. I recently had some training in QA and was not a big fan of that area, felt like i already know more than a QA, (black box testing was plain boring, white box probably some to learn). For various reasons i cannot leave this company for a few more years (unless i get let go off). I know my current job is niche so i can find another one of the same type if need be. But it is not a career. I want a solid career which will put me into the 6 digit area and have as little layoff worries as possible.

Anybody have any good ideas on how to move around in a tech company?
What is the better route Product or Development? (i am good management and like managing)
How would one start in either of the above positions?
How would i find a position for myself without going through hr job postings?
post #2 of 12
I'm a manager of a development team myself and work very closely with the product team. I would think it would be easier to transition from a management position in a different field to the product side, the skills translate more easily. To be a great developer/engineer manager you really should have strong technical skills. IMO the days of the non-tech developer manager are numbered, one of the biggest problems in today's IT world, non-IT people running it. The more tech skills you have, the better you can represent your team and work and the less back and forth is required between the business/product and your team. That being said, once you get into a company its much easier to move around. I wouldn't think of getting one position or the other as a life sentence. I used to use Dice.com to find jobs (haven't had to look in a while). I also get a lot of inquiries from LinkedIn, I would adjust your profile to the job you are targeting.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryr View Post
I'm a manager of a development team myself and work very closely with the product team. I would think it would be easier to transition from a management position in a different field to the product side, the skills translate more easily. To be a great developer/engineer manager you really should have strong technical skills. IMO the days of the non-tech developer manager are numbered, one of the biggest problems in today's IT world, non-IT people running it.

thanks those are very strong points, but i am fairly technical, i already know a few syntax, how to design databases, how to make some small apps and webpages. I know there is a lot more to know.
Just fyi, I am not trying to go the easy route, i just want to go the right route.
Given my situation do you still recommend product side?
post #4 of 12
I guess it would then depend on who you would want to work with. Obviously it differs from company to company, but the product side is probably a "sexier" position in terms of more exposure to the business/clients and what ever perks and contacts may come with that. Or would you rather be in the background (in most cases) dealing more with technical decisions that probably won't be completely appreciated by those using the system. Unless you are working for a small tech company where it is all development, this is most likely the case. In terms of technical strength, one of the most important abilities of a tech manager is to make a final decision (and hopefully the correct one). There are always multiple ways of accomplishing tasks and when you have a group of developers involved you'll have multiple opinions. You don't always have to have the answer, but the ability to evaluate the different possible solutions is key. Also, the ability to explain your decisions to whom ever you are working for. I don't know your skills and i'm not saying you can't do that or trying to deter you in anyway, this is just what I would expect when hiring a manager. You may also want to look into smaller tech companies, sometimes these position are the same and you may get to do both.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post
thanks those are very strong points, but i am fairly technical, i already know a few syntax, how to design databases, how to make some small apps and webpages. I know there is a lot more to know. Just fyi, I am not trying to go the easy route, i just want to go the right route. Given my situation do you still recommend product side?
If you really want to be a good technical manager, you have to have a good idea of how to architect a system. There are hundreds of "architects" floating around from job to job leaving destruction in their wake. Don't be that guy. I hate that guy. Stay on the product side.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post
Anybody have any good ideas on how to move around in a tech company?
What is the better route Product or Development? (i am good management and like managing)
How would one start in either of the above positions?
How would i find a position for myself without going through hr job postings?

The ease of "moving around" depends on the company, on what positions you are moving from/to, and who you know, with a second emphasis on whether or not you would be good at the destination role.

Whether product marketing or development is "better" depends on what you define "better" as, e.g. job security? Pay? Flexibility? e.g. in my experience, both excellent product guys and technical managers are scarce, but the excellent product guy is even more scarce and more valuable to the company.

All of the product marketing folks I work with have a previous technical background, and some of them have an MBA in addition. The ones without an MBA started out as engineers and made the switch at some point. Technical managers always started out with multiple years as engineers and got "promoted" into the manager role based on company need and/or individual desire.

You are not going to get into either role straight out of school (unless you went the aforementioned MBA route perhaps, but that isn't what you are doing). You will have to serve your time working as an engineer for at least a couple of years to get some experience with the product and the overall field. If you do manage to obtain one of these positions straight out of school, then I would honestly question the decision-making capability of the company/management chain hiring you.

At least you are in the Bay Area where there are lots of tech companies. Definite plus there in terms of range of opportunities.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryr View Post
I guess it would then depend on who you would want to work with. Obviously it differs from company to company, but the product side is probably a "sexier" position in terms of more exposure to the business/clients and what ever perks and contacts may come with that. Or would you rather be in the background (in most cases) dealing more with technical decisions that probably won't be completely appreciated by those using the system. Unless you are working for a small tech company where it is all development, this is most likely the case.
In terms of technical strength, one of the most important abilities of a tech manager is to make a final decision (and hopefully the correct one). There are always multiple ways of accomplishing tasks and when you have a group of developers involved you'll have multiple opinions. You don't always have to have the answer, but the ability to evaluate the different possible solutions is key. Also, the ability to explain your decisions to whom ever you are working for. I don't know your skills and i'm not saying you can't do that or trying to deter you in anyway, this is just what I would expect when hiring a manager.
You may also want to look into smaller tech companies, sometimes these position are the same and you may get to do both.

Well i feel that i like being in the background and like being in contact with people. As far as making good decisions, i already know of a few decisions that were made at my work (as far as architecture) and without prior experience i right away understood why something should of been done different for long term maintenance and overall quality of a system. In this case something started out in php, then went to ruby and now back to php.

What i truly lack is hands on coding and development. I have managed people in the past so thats easy, i need the technical know-how.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ennui View Post
The ease of "moving around" depends on the company, on what positions you are moving from/to, and who you know, with a second emphasis on whether or not you would be good at the destination role.
Whether product marketing or development is "better" depends on what you define "better" as, e.g. job security? Pay? Flexibility? e.g. in my experience, both excellent product guys and technical managers are scarce, but the excellent product guy is even more scarce and more valuable to the company.
All of the product marketing folks I work with have a previous technical background, and some of them have an MBA in addition. The ones without an MBA started out as engineers and made the switch at some point. Technical managers always started out with multiple years as engineers and got "promoted" into the manager role based on company need and/or individual desire.
You are not going to get into either role straight out of school (unless you went the aforementioned MBA route perhaps, but that isn't what you are doing). You will have to serve your time working as an engineer for at least a couple of years to get some experience with the product and the overall field. If you do manage to obtain one of these positions straight out of school, then I would honestly question the decision-making capability of the company/management chain hiring you.
At least you are in the Bay Area where there are lots of tech companies. Definite plus there in terms of range of opportunities.

I am in a bit of different situation. I am not a typical "straight" out of school kid. Im in my late twenties and went back to school to better my technical skills. Thus, i dont think your point would apply. I am missing the technical experience to which i need exposure.



Thats what i cant seem to figure out, its how to get exposure to software development or product management to see where to go. Any ideas?
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinnedk View Post
Well i feel that i like being in the background and like being in contact with people. As far as making good decisions, i already know of a few decisions that were made at my work (as far as architecture) and without prior experience i right away understood why something should of been done different for long term maintenance and overall quality of a system. In this case something started out in php, then went to ruby and now back to php.

What i truly lack is hands on coding and development. I have managed people in the past so thats easy, i need the technical know-how.



I am in a bit of different situation. I am not a typical "straight" out of school kid. Im in my late twenties and went back to school to better my technical skills. Thus, i dont think your point would apply. I am missing the technical experience to which i need exposure.



Thats what i cant seem to figure out, its how to get exposure to software development or product management to see where to go. Any ideas?

My point still applies. You will still most likely need to put some time in as an engineer. Your age doesn't matter in that aspect.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ennui View Post
My point still applies. You will still most likely need to put some time in as an engineer. Your age doesn't matter in that aspect.

your probably right
post #10 of 12
Not only in Engineering or technical field there is no age bar but also in each and every field for making career there is no age limit.And in technical field one can make bright career for him/her.And in technical field it demand for more practice and for new invention day by day and one should have interest for dealing with many gadgets.And by own knowledge and also intelligence one can make very bright future.
post #11 of 12
You could work in supply chain management at a tech firm... Great money and you really see how a business runs and learn an industry. You combine that with your finance knowledge and in 5 years you will be able to run a company very well
post #12 of 12
bumping this curious where it ended up with OP and interested in hearing other inputs.
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