Career Solutions

Debugging Your Information Technology® Career

A Compass to New and Rewarding Fields That Value Computer Knowledge

By Janice Weinberg

For Computer Professionals Seeking IT Career Change
Options That Capitalize on Their Education and Experience

For Students Who Want to Learn About the Increasing Number of Career
Possibilities for Graduates with Computer Degrees

Are you disappointed with the results of your IT job search? Perhaps youíre one of tens of thousands of computer professionals who have already lost their jobs to offshore outsourcing. Or, maybe, though your position seems secure for now, youíre considering a career change from IT to another profession entirely, one that, ideally, will insulate you from the offshoring trend.

No doubt about it, the computer profession is undergoing dramatic change, but that doesnít mean you should feel pessimistic about your employment prospects. In fact, I predict youíll feel quite optimistic after reading Debugging Your Information Technology Career. (Learn what industry insiders are saying about the book here.)

Increasing Worldwide Dependency on Computers Has Created Many New Opportunities

I felt compelled to write Debugging Your Information Technology Career when — in the wake of the tsunami of news itemizing the number of computer jobs lost to offshoring — I found no media coverage of the many attractive alternatives to the usual IT careers — which I knew were out there for computer professionals. I was able to identify these opportunities because of my own background as a computer professional at IBM and GE. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Debugging Your Information Technology Career addresses the woeful lack of information about the many ways IT professionals can leverage — rather than “throw away” — their education and experience to enter new and rewarding fields. Although most of the 20 fields I describe are not usually thought of as traditional information technology careers, they are excellent alternatives for experienced IT professionals seeking a change — and, in some cases, feasible entry-level options for new graduates — because computer proficiency is a key qualification for success.

Most of the fields can be entered without further education beyond an undergraduate degree in information technology, management information systems, or computer science. Some of the career options in this category are technology partner manager, technology due diligence analyst, technology insurance underwriter, and technology sector equity analyst. Several others — for example, business continuity planner — require a certification to qualify, entailing a relatively modest investment of time and expense.

Reading my book may motivate you to become an attorney specializing in intellectual property and computer law, or a healthcare administrator — which, for reasons I explain in the book, is a very good fit for someone with an IT background. Of course, qualifying for these professions will require a postgraduate degree but, as you learn about the opportunities in these fields, you may conclude that the effort will be well worth it.

Perhaps youíre wondering just how your computer proficiency can open the door to the fields I describe, so here are a few examples that demonstrate the strong transferability of an IT proís skills:

  • An architectís knowledge of best practices in systems design would be a key advantage in performing the responsibilities of a technology due diligence analyst.
  • A software engineer or project manager who supported CRM applications should be a credible candidate for a technology alliance manager role at a company marketing CRM software.
  • A network security administrator would bring highly relevant experience to a position as an underwriter of cyberliability insurance, which — as the steady stream of well-publicized network intrusions should suggest — is a very hot product these days.
  • An application development manager should consider a career as an insurance broker specializing in professional liability coverage for companies in the computer industry.
  • A business analyst who guided logistics staff in defining their IT requirements could parlay that experience into a corporate development analyst role at a company marketing logistics software.
And — regardless of your particular area of IT expertise — your ability to assess the commercial potential of new computer technology could lead to employment as a technology sector equity analyst with an investment bank or research firm.

Broad Array of Career Choices for Computer Students

Perhaps youíre a student majoring in a computer discipline and unsure about which career path in the profession best suits you. Or, you havenít yet chosen a major, but you performed well on a computer skills assessment test and are thinking about pursuing a computer-related degree. Reading my book will open your eyes to the broad range of career possibilities accessible to you, which go well beyond those typically associated with information technology and computer science jobs.

Easily Assess Your Suitability for Each Field

Even if you previously heard of some of the fields, youíll learn much new information, enhancing your ability to define the most appropriate professional goals for yourself. Some career chapters include comments from executives in the field who offer insights and advice from their perspectives as industry insiders. As you turn the pages of each of the 20 career chapters, you will:
  • Realize why computer proficiency will be an advantage in delivering top performance
  • Learn about the different types of organizations — whether business, nonprofit or government — where one can be employed in the profession
  • Easily imagine yourself on the job while stepping through the Typical Workday feature, fictitious but oh-so-real depictions of a “day in the life of...”
  • Become informed about the extent to which offshoring is already happening and, equally important, what the fieldís future vulnerability will likely be
Concerned About Job Security In An Economic Downturn?

Because a recession is an inevitable phase of a business cycle, I anticipated the need for readers to understand whether, and to what extent, job security in each career can be affected by an economic downturn. Since the U.S. economy is now in a recession, you should find the Recession Resistance section of each career chapter very informative. Fortunately, a number of the fields are inherently resistant to economic climate shifts.

Pointers to Useful Resources to Help You Explore Each Career

Naturally, youíll want to follow through on your interest in any career by searching online for supplemental information. To ensure that you donít overlook useful resources that are easy to miss, I included an Information Sources section in each career chapter. Depending on the particular field, this section may contain books, credentialing organizations, professional associations offering networking opportunities, or directories of companies/executives to approach for employment.

Strategies for Crafting Your Resume and Targeting Employers

Depending on which field most appeals to you, you might immediately launch a job-hunting campaign or — if a certification is required — in the near future. And I guide you in both identifying potential employers for particular careers and selecting those aspects of your experience most supportive of your candidacy — so youíll be able to craft a resume and cover letter that will make the strongest impact, as well as promote yourself effectively in interviews.

Launch or Expand a Consulting Business

Are you at the point in your career where flexibility and independence are paramount? Many of the job-search techniques I describe can be used to unearth potential clients for launching a consulting practice. If youíre already a computer consultant or contract programmer, acquiring expertise in one or more of the fields can help you increase revenues from existing clients, win new ones — and provide the important strategic benefit of diversifying your client base.

The Only IT Career "Coach" You May Need

If you've been thinking about consulting an IT career coach or counselor to help you understand and sort through your future options in the IT field, you might want to first read my book. I'm confident it will answer many questions you have — while providing answers to important questions you havenít even considered. And I can assure you of this: It will dramatically transform your perception of just what constitutes a computer job. Regardless of how many books providing advice on IT career change and advancement you may have read, I believe youíll find mine to be a unique, essential career planning resource, for today and tomorrow. It may even prove to be the motivation youíve needed to expand your skills portfolio and define more ambitious goals for yourself.

Learn what IT industry insiders are saying about Debugging Your Information Technology Career here.

If you would like to purchase this 307-page book, which will greatly expand your knowledge of your career options, visit the Elegant Fix Press website —

Would you like to improve your ability to advance to an initial or higher-level supervisory position in your current IT field—and as quickly as possible? Then you'd benefit from reading Debugging Your Information Technology® Job Search: A Compass to Winning the Management Position You Really Want.