Your Next Big Career Move: Data Management?

By Michael
November 17, 2011


When you think about what might lead to the next step forward in your career, data management might not be at the top of your list—but maybe it should be. That’s the conclusion I came to earlier this week on reading “5 Hot Tech Projects to Boost Your IT Career” on


RocketThe article highlights the five projects that the author believes “will make you a hero to upper management while enabling the organization to move forward.” And, while these projects aren’t all data management projects in name, it struck me that data management and storage are key components of all of these hot projects. Take a look:

  1. Streamline your company’s data: The article focuses on the importance not only  of getting a handle on big data at the macro level, but also on developing the agility to isolate subsets of actionable data to allow the business to make critical decisions. My add: The foundation of success here is to manage big data in a way that enables the organization to find and use it, as well as store it all economically, reliably and securely.
  2. Master your mobile devices: Success in this area depends on balancing user demands (often those of the senior execs who hold your career fate in their hands) with the importance of data protection. My advice: You need a mobile device usage policy, a mobile device management strategy and a secure and economical way to store the added data volume.
  3. Become a devops shop: This project is about seamless collaboration between your development capability and operations—which, according to the article, requires a culture change. Again, it comes down to data. IT needs to better understand how the business will use the data in order to develop applications and infrastructure that best support the organization’s goals.
  4. Create a crisis response team: The author focuses here on general disaster response/business continuity planning, and data backup and recovery obviously have an essential role here too. This is one project that might not necessarily boost your career prospects if you do it right, but can quickly sink you if you miss the boat.
  5. Gain control over social media: In addition to the need the author cites to develop and enforce social media use policies, success also requires organizations to efficiently capture, manage and store the huge volumes of data produced by social media—not to mention in a way that mitigates legal and compliance risks.

So, while at first blush, data management might not appear to be the strategic rocket fuel that will launch your IT career into the stratosphere, it certainly is one of the building blocks of success with these hot projects.

Are all of these projects on your short list? Which others do you see as career critical in the next 3-5 years?


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