Firstly let me say big thank you for your contribution here ! It is your advise that actually made me take a positive step towards improving my chances in IT. However I have some clarification and hope you can provide some guidance.
I'm basically an IT graduate, who now has close to 5 years in IT. I started off in an implementation team, which was responsible to setup the application at client site, conduct UAT, provide end user training and also negotiate changes in the application. While the role was challenging, there was not a whole lot of technical knowledge gained, I did learn to install SQL Server, weblogic and stuff but no code development or any of that stuff.
After about 3 years in that role I came to UK for my current role, which laying it out flat, is a basic application support role. I should have probably run out of this as soon as possible, but the idea of life abroad kept me locked up in this role and that is my biggest mistake to date. In this role I interact with customers to resolve day to day issues with the application. Apply data fixes if required or provide business advise. Also I take part in problem managment activity, where I raise and manage a list of known errors. I have recently also started to doing a bit of change and release. However I find it is a dead end role.
My question is, I aspire to be a SDM someday. I have started working towards my ITIL certifications. However what/how much of technical knowledge do I require to be successful in my effort ? What are the other attributes I need to build ? Also from my current role what would be the natural progression towards becoming an SDM someday ? I'm very confused and sometimes even heavily doubt my chances of achieving something this big, Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Sainath's Advice on Sunday, September 19, 2010 :
First and foremost, do not underestimate the value of an application support role - the high customer interaction teaches you many things in such a role.The proximity of interaction usually teaches you a very important skill - "putting yourself into the customer's shoes and understanding what he really needs, in short, creating value for the customer"
Firstly, you need to understand the underlying principle which COBIT states very beautifully - it's not about technical excellence, it's about creating value for the customer. This explains why mainframe systems. COBOL systems are still existent - if the software is providing value customers are least bothered what technology it is based on. When you approach service delivery from this standpoint, you can never go wrong.
Becoming a SDM is indeed a big goal and can appear daunting at first, which is natural. Always look at it this way - identify the next step, something that is tangible, measurable and within reach. It should be realistically achievable for you. Work towards achieving this only - you can think of the next step when you have crossed this goal.
Will Smith explains the principle of the brick wall beautifully in the below video - please make sure you see it.www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLN2k0b3g70
Typically, a SDM has the below responsibilities.
- a huge portfolio of applications
- applications can be business critical,can afford very low down-time,can be on heterogeneous platforms,etc
- crisis management needs to be an SDM's area of strength - taking decisions under severe pressure. For ex, what do you do when servers mysteriously refuse to boot up, or an inexperienced developer runs a mass delete command on a production system.SDM needs to be the master of such situations.
- creating career plans for his team members - also making them realize the value of support from an enterprise perspective so that they take pride in their jobs.The bottom line is that support revenues are more consistent over a period of time for the service provider.
The nature of the role is such that it can become a platform for much bigger roles in higher management and if you see in world class MNCs, this indeed does happen.So how can a person progressively head towards becoming a SDM ?
In 1 line - keep taking up additional responsibility."You promote yourself everytime you take up an additional responsibility."
- Brian Tracy
Target being part of teams which support critical business functions - the lessons which you will learn there are priceless. Applications should be business critical, high in transactions and data volume, big in size, interact with many other applications in a synchronous/asynchronous manner, sit on a good infrastructure,etc. If you study large financial organizations - the setup will match the description I have given.
Finally, in your case,at the risk of being a little blunt,I would also like to say this - a good life is a barrier to a great life.The comfort zone is the worst place to be in. Any progress involves resistance.One measure of whether you are growing is to measure how much resistance / discomfort you are experiencing on an ongoing basis - if life is too cool, it means that decay has set in."Create or disintegrate."
- Bob Proctor
Hope I have given you enough food for thought.
You can also nominate yourself for the online career counseling session to be held on 26th Sept. to gain greater clarity. Please check the below linkwww.dotnetfunda.com/misc/onlinesession.aspx#s12
Srikanthbalu@gmail.com said on Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thank you very much for taking time to reply ! As always I find that your words motivate, instill great confidence and make and individual want to achieve more ! I have nominated myself for the session on 26 Sep. Looking forward to getting more questions answered !