If you are reading this, you are probably an IT professional working in India or some where else thinking about your IT career !!.
Just a quick background about myself in this context- I have 18 years of experience in IT services sector. I have started my career in 1998 out of a dream campus placement in those days.
If you are in IT industry you kind of understand what is happen to the careers of the people at all levels – entry level, mid level and senior/leadership level people. Most of the IT services career paths used to be like you do some technical work for first 5-7 years then move into project management ( actually coordination work) then move into “management” roles.
Management roles are nothing but mainly people management. It is was ok to be in that kind of path until 3 to 4 years back. But now all of sudden we hear that there are not much jobs in the market for for mid level managers and even for sr people.
But Why?… In my personal view following are the main reasons for this: Like any other industry IT services industry has gone through the maturity cycle. Basically we can’t expect the volume we expected a decade back. Most of the business processes are IT enabled or automated. This means less of new implementation/development work and more supporting the existing systems
With the rapid innovation in technologies like Digital, Cloud, etc and new service models like pay per use etc we would need lesser IT effort to get the same outcomes
Change in the project delivery models: from waterfall to agile etc. All these require lesser management effort. Enough on the reasons for Industry changes…Lets focus on solutions and way forward
For entry to junior level: I think for this level of people of you still have good opportunity to focus on latest tech skills and build deep expertise. And don’t get tempted to the so called project management/manager roles and get into that trap. Stay focused on deepening your tech skills and become specialist in the chosen area. Remember only specialist can survive in the future…If you can, it would be a good investment to do MS/M.Tech in any of latest tech areas like Machine Learning, Advanced analytics, security, cloud, etc.. I am sure these people are smart enough to figure out what is best…
Mid Level Management : This is the most tricky population of the pack. And difficult to navigate the career from this level given the pace at which things are changing in technology and services business models. I think it is still a good idea to focus on at least one or two areas and get your experience in that areas ( either tech specific or business domain specific). You can try to grow with in your organization using all your levers but the path is going to take much longer than your seniors. So if you want to grow with in then you have further focus since the competition is going to be tough and only few would be required in the future. Or focus on other career options Remember if you think it is very difficult to go through the internal competition and stress then going to any other alternate options are going to be much tougher. So try to be honest in your evaluation and take a call. Don’t be under the fancy that every can be entrepreneur or become a lecturer in collage or become a consultant. These are the words I keep hearing these days..You know what I am saying
Sr Level: I think at this level people would have financial comfort (my general assumption) and enough experience to lead a business unit or join a start up or mid size companies. Honestly I can’t advise what they can do but I assume they have enough wisdom and experience to maneuver the career for rest of the period.
Final comments.. Entry/junior level people should focus on deepening your tech skills and mid level ( you are really at mid – sorry ;)) people need to really think and evaluate the options seriously and plan ahead…