Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader
Title: Head of application services
Company: Bridgewater Associates
Edupuganti is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've been approached by recruiters from time to time but had no desire to pursue any of their offers, figuring I'd rather stay where I've been pretty contented than jump ship for a few thousand dollars more and no certainty that the environment would be as good. (I'm a data architect.) However, my wife recently lost her job in a corporate shakeup, and more money is suddenly appealing. I'd like to stay where I am with a bit of a bump in pay. How should I initiate that discussion? First and foremost I empathize with your situation. Things change, and your priorities change with them.
Two things to keep in mind as you go through this discussion with your current employer: First, the best conversation to have is one that is honest and direct; second, understand and respect the nature of your relationship with your organization as being one of compensation for value recognized. Ask yourself, Has my value proposition for the company changed? To determine this, you could triangulate internal value (additional work, nature of work, etc.), the market (based on explorations with recruiters and other offers) and any additional certifications/education that will help build your case. Also, stress that though you would like to stay with the company due to the intrinsic values, your change of personal situation has encouraged you to explore a change in compensation. I would start with your manager and possibly the HR team.
After I was laid off in 2009, I started a one-man consulting shop (a bit of everything, but an emphasis on Windows, networking and databases). That business was doing great but has been significantly off for a year or so. Should I try to return to corporate IT? It depends. The reasons your business has been significantly off for a year are unknown, and I would encourage you to spend some time trying to get to the bottom of that or seeking advice from others on the matter.
It is hard to be on your own, but you have done that. If you like the independence and the flexibility and think you see a way to get over your current challenges, running your own shop and growing it would be great. The choices are relative stability vs. potential growth and flexibility. Much depends on your personal risk appetite, the leeway you have before you need to start generating revenue, your emphasis on work/life balance and other considerations. If you do continue to run your own shop, you should look at expanding it beyond yourself.
I have an IT background and am thinking of enrolling in a master's degree program in computer science, but I'm not sure which direction to focus on. I had thought about networking or security. Which is more likely to result in an enduring career? Both of those are growing areas, and you will not go wrong with either. My personal preference would be security, given the prospects for future opportunity in the areas of architecture, implementation, governance and risk assessment and remediation. As an added incentive, security jobs, especially ones related to assessment and remediation, provide an opportunity for global travel, given the sheer growing demand all over.