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A Forked Path in the IT Career

Level 13

In a previous Geek Speak blog post, I talked about the viability of practice leader being a career path for IT professionals. A large part of practice leadership is being fluent in vendor technologies, i.e. products. This opens up an interesting set of paths for IT professionals: product management and product marketing.

Are you passionate about discovering IT pain points and finding solutions for them? Product management focuses on customers and their problems. A product manager (PM) is the voice of the entire customer spectrum; the PM delivers market metrics that guide product decisions.

Do you like to tell stories? If you like sharing your problem-solving knowledge by using a product in a one-to-many fashion, you'd probably enjoy working as a product marketing manager (PMM). As Peter Drucker said, product marketing focuses on the product selling itself; creating a product that people want to buy; and creating an environment that encourages people to buy.

Ideally, PMs work to understand real customer problems and using that knowledge to turn solutions into products, while PMMs work to smooth the friction between products and consumers in the marketplace.

Would you consider transitioning into a new role as PM or PMM? Let me know in the section below.

P.S. We are hiring for both PM and PMM positions.

17 Comments
vinay.by
Level 16

Nice write up kong.yang

ecklerwr1
Level 19

The systems manager job in Austin sounds pretty good.  One thing I was a little surprised about... I don't see many IT network and security positions anywhere?  Our hardest jobs to fill are experienced network/security experts with CISSP and even better a security clearance.

david.botfield
Level 13

Good Article

kong.yang
Level 13

They get volunteered into other positions in our org because of their value to the broader organization i.e. cobrienDez​.

ecklerwr1
Level 19

I do definitely know cobrien and Dez!  They both came to both our PHX SWUG's.  I really enjoyed cobrien​ technical explanation about developing NetPath... it was really interesting to learn about how some of the patented internal stuff works and what it took to figure out.  It was much more involved than I think most people would think.

deverts
Level 14

I was once told, "Athletes can't coach; Coaches can't play; and everyone else is just a ref, umpire, or spectator." While this is a generalization and not always true, it usually applies in most cases. It's takes an especially talented person to be a PM since they straddle the line between Athlete and Coach. And any job title with "Marketing" in it should be a 4-letter word. (just joking!)

Personally, I'm the IT Athlete (engineer)...I like making it work!

D

gfsutherland
Level 14

One of the most interesting, intriguing and "subtle" recruiting posts I have ever seen.....

Well done kong.yang

bobmarley
Level 15

Wow that's a lot of open spots. None near me though.

kong.yang
Level 13

We are growing and we need good people.

tallyrich
Level 15

I would fall more into the PMM position. I like bridging the gap and helping both sides of the puzzle - to mix a metaphor.

tinmann0715
Level 16

Very cool. A robust IT career consists of many forks in the road. Soooo... how modern of a company is SolarWinds? Do they promote a remote workforce? ;-)

bobmarley
Level 15

I would work from home in a heartbeat if the situation presented itself.

tallyrich
Level 15

When I worked for HP they mandated that everyone that could work from home was to do so. They reduced the office space and made shared spaces for people to come in occasionally when needed. Then after a few years they completely reversed and changed the rules to "if you live within 50 miles of an HP office you have to report to the office on work days."

I work better from home and give more time and effort to the company - it just works out that way. My son, he's a people person, and would much rather be in an office where he can interact with others. I feel like good management would be the real determining factor in work from home. Find how your people work their best and help them do that. Find ways to measure their contributions, not just their attendance.

rschroeder
Level 21

I'd love a role in Project Management, if the following criteria were met:

  1. The company pays to ensure I'm properly trained to fill the position well.
  2. I'm given only the amount of projects that I can manage well.
  3. Where more demand for a PM's time is required, additional PM's are hired to ensure that quality and progress schedules do not suffer due to overloading a PM.
  4. Compensation is equivalent to, or better than, my current position.
silverbacksays
Level 16

Oh man, shame these are in the states, as I'd love to have a crack at PM. I do it as part of project delivery already, it's an interesting part of the job.

bobmarley
Level 15

I do get to work from home but as you mentioned some people can thrive in that environment and some need people time. I guess I'm in the middle of both.

I mostly do coding all day so it's way easier to do when I'm in a quiet setting. At work there are always people singing loud, goofing off, playing basketball, arguing about politics or sports and its just a very distracting work place in general.

fmasotti
Level 12

thanks for the article

About the Author
Mo Bacon Mo Shakin' Mo Money Makin'! vHead Geek. Inventor. So Say SMEs. vExpert. Cisco Champion. Child please. The separation is in the preparation.