What I Wish I Knew Earlier in My IT Career: Part I
July 21, 2021
By Jason Connotillo
EisnerAmper Digital has rolled out a five-part blog series called “What I Wish I Knew Earlier in My IT Career,” where over the course of a few weeks, five different thought leaders share with readers things they wish they knew when their IT careers began and words of advice for the next generation of IT practitioners.
The defining moments of my career in IT appeared when I was able accumulate enough business knowledge that it was no longer easy for anyone to easily decipher whether I worked in IT or the business, at least not without staring at an org chart. The immediate message here is that prior to coupling my IT expertise with a true understanding of how the business works, I was ‘less dangerous’ outside of the cubicle. Yet having both my IT abilities and my true understanding of what our firm was trying to accomplish was like jet fuel for my career advancement and professional courage alike.
I’ll admit, I didn’t plan it one way or another. There was just always something about the business side of organizations I worked at that fascinated me as much as IT did. So I started by poking my nose in areas outside of IT that I wanted to learn more about, asking to work alongside business folks on IT-related projects, and catching up on general business information over the weekends. Before I knew it, I was speaking in a common language with my business counterparts and helping solve business issues with IT. In retrospect, I should have started wearing a business hat under my IT hat years earlier. Later in my career, I would top off my IT expertise and experience with an M.B.A. This was, of course, after fully acknowledging how both disciplines are interdependent.
The importance of all this? Ask yourself whether a business can run, scale and grow without technology. Then ask yourself if technology can run, and to what end, without business. It’s like peanut butter and jelly—they’re just better together. Being able to make the all-too-often missed connection between how each enables one the other will make you a sought-after colleague.
By all means, focus on your core IT discipline as you embark on your IT career. This is the case whether you work in infrastructure, information security, data, programming or any other discipline. And at the opportune time, ideally not too far along, begin to integrate a curiosity about business into your career path and follow it in the most meaningful way to you. To keep the conversation going, please share what you wish you knew and help us guide the next wave of IT practioners.