Technology teams are not all made of developers. It takes many different types to make technology work and change the way we want. We need a full complement of skills and styles to get everything working together. Let’s discuss a few ways to help you find your right place within the team.
We can quickly jump into technology and feel like we are on the deep end of the pool. Parts of it can be challenging and hard to understand. I would suggest you at least find yourself challenged or you will find you are bored quickly. It may take time to find the right depth for you.
The list of careers within technology seems to grow and grow. As new technologies emerge we get more roles. It is important to realize if you find yourself at one organization and don’t feel connected you may need to try a new role. Look for some new challenge that may better fit you.
At a high-level, it is important to have some understanding of the pieces in technology. Where many people specialize on a subset of the technology it helps to have the big picture. I approach most things with trying to get a big picture view first. I have realized that not everyone approaches things in this manner. You don’t have to know exactly how the watch works to tell time. For the technologist, this can be a challenge.
When you look at the big picture of technology we can see many connections. Even from an old technology like Cobol programming and a new technology like the Internet of Things or IoT, there are connections. Today’s push to create a hub for home automation is similar to the mainframe of old. Where this was the central hub of technology in most companies. With a small amount of digging, we can find ways that technologies may complement each other.
With all the bits and data we sometimes forget what is at the heart of this all. It is still people that work together and make things happen. People management is still required, there isn’t an app for that! There are still disagreements over data and output. So don’t leave your people skills at the door.
Coach and Mentor
Coaching and mentoring are often used interchangeably. This is a mistake. They are indeed different. Coaching is targeted assistance or reflection on a particular topic. When I started my business I used a business coach to help guide me in starting the business. She helped me get things off the ground. Mentoring is more wide-ranging. The discussions can be on many topics. Mentoring is based on the relationship.
Care and Support
Individuals need different forms of care and support. A few years ago I had a team made of quite different people. Some needed a lot of guidance as they were new out of college. Others were more experienced than I. They just needed some support and some freedom to do their work. Managing people is a skill that takes time to learn. As you gain experience you will understand the varying types of care and support that are needed.
Logic and Rules vs Creativity
Software engineers seem to be drawn to logic and rules. They try to find order in a random world. I once worked with a guy named Duke. He would try to make everything ordered and logical. He even had to have his desk in a certain order. One thing out of place and he would become irritated. On the other side many of the designers who tend to be more creative look in the world differently. They see shades and many colors where the engineers see everything in black and white.
Tools or Systems vs Applications
There are many ways to organize a technology department. Like our kitchen drawers, each organization does it differently. Where some have it organized around tools or systems others might break them out by applications. This can lead to interesting specialization that people pursue in their career. Where one application may need people to know .Net and SQL to make changes. Other organizations might segregate the work into development and database work.