ITIL V3 foundation - Career advise

By vaibhavad vaibhavad Points: 0 | Level: Starter | Status: [Member]
Posted on: 9/10/2009 2:06:31 AM | Views: 9004
I have almost 6 yrs of exp in legacy systems(MFs/VMS). Prod support and maintainence (4yrs) Devleopment 1yr and testing 1 yr. I had been waiting for my promotions to lead role but the opportunities didnt come by.
I had option to shift the job but I an searching an option to get into managerial stuff instead of technical.
Its not only about promotions but also the work i would like to do.I m looking forward to get out of the technical work. Doing MBA is not possible for me.
I was advised by couple of very senior people to go for certifications like ITIL and PMP.

My doubts - Will ITIL help me in my goals? Is my work exp going to be useful? How worth it will be if I put sincere efforts in the series of exams to be cleared ? I am planning to appear for the workshop/exam this month end.
Also, what career opportunities open for me if I am ITIL certified. I am hardly worried about a great salary hike, but ready to invest one yr from now to get the career in correct direction.

sainath's Advice on Friday, September 11, 2009 :
Hi Vaibhav,

Every IT professional reaches this point in his / her career and starts getting restless when things do not really move forward and I am sure all the people on this forum also have been through this phase repeatedly. It is usually at this point that we make decisions to move on in our careers and are usually ready to put in the necessary amount of effort and sacrifice. But career development is an ongoing process and 1 year is the bare minimum. Please be prepared to put in more time.

Given your current experience, you can aim to become a production support team manager over the next few years. 4 years spent in production support must have definitely taught you many things and the experience is useful.Many outsourced operations, usually financial giants either operate through their own captive units or through 3rd party software vendors under the ODC - offshore delivery centre model require this kind of a managerial position - it may be called by different names in different organisations  but the role is essentially the same.This role also involves handling enhancements in existing systems (change management), preparing for a DR-BCP (Disaster Recovery - Business Continuity Planning) and is quite challenging. It involves a bit of everything and one requires to possess all-round skills to handle the same. You can even rise to a point wherein you are responsible for the entire incident management,change management,capacity planning of a huge portfolio of applications wherein you have multiple teams reporting to you which are involved in production support, development,testing,etc. At this stage, your work becomes fully managerial - planning, stakeholder management,people management and you will hardly have any time left to do anything else.

A lot of people in maintenance roles sometimes experience a dead-end situation due to a self-imposed inferiority complex when they compare themselves against a development team. The fact is, most leading IT companies earn a greater deal of ongoing revenue from maintenance projects against new development projects. Career paths are available - but not readily visible, one needs to spot them.

It is extremely important for people in maintenance to understand ITIL. ITIL is all about service delivery - once you understand ITIL, you will not think only in terms of a server going down but it will be more about a service going down i.e. you will think better from the end user perspective. For the end user it is the service that matters.Effectively, if your failover server has taken up the role of the main server but the original server has just crashed it is classic case of a service being up although a server is down. ITIL is all about service delivery and provides best practices which have a deep operational impact in organizations. As a prod. support manager one of the key things which will concern you will be SLAs (Service Level Agreements). This is where ITIL knowledge will greatly help you.

PMP is a specialized certification in Project Management - clearing the exam requires you to understand all the major areas on project management in detail.It is obviously helpful in helping you to become a better manager.At this point in time, the PMP tag has good weightage.

You have mentioned that you would like to move out of coding / testing. You don't necessarily move out of coding - it is only that you graduate into doing the job of managing a team which obviously involves an awful amount of work - planning, monitoring, solving people issues, handling top management and stakeholders,etc. This leaves you with lesser opportunity of doing actual coding work,maybe none at all over a period of time. However, the best managers are the ones who are technically sound as well - these people are not the typical status update specialists and handle projects/assignments extremely well. Team members cannot fool them - and stakeholders cannot bulldoze them into committing impossible deadlines. So you need to strike a balance - do not look at it as stepping out of coding. Lack of time may mean that you obviously no longer code an entire module but you definitely need to have a strong understanding of the technology being used. Else your decisions as a manager will mainly be dependent only on the updates received from team members which is very limiting in the long run and in my opinion is one of the causes of projects falling flat. A lot of times middle management (project managers) are simply not aware of the main problems at all and their decisions are a mystery to the developer working in his team. I recently heard about a CIO who has spent 3 crores on purchasing the ESB - Enterprise Service Bus technology from a leading vendor without even having a SOA roadmap in place. Sound decisions are based on sound information which can happen only if you are competent enough in the technical sense as well.

You have also mentioned that you have been waiting to get promoted - in my opinion this is not a good strategy. I strongly believe that you need to create your own opportunities, and opportunities are always there, it is only that we as humans (including myself) fail to spot them. As part of a maintenance team you will also be interacting a lot with end users which in turn is a good opportunity for you to understand what they really need and how can things be improved in the system. Go well beyond your immediate job responsibilities - you can be promoted only if you are consistently performing more than what you are supposed to do. This can mean improving existing new systems, mentoring / training new team members, taking up new implementation initiatives,etc. Be in the driver's seat and not the passenger's seat in matters that concern your career. All this will ensure that you grow as a person which will eventually inevitably lead to a higher designation and greater responsibility that you are seeking. If reporting managers in the current organisation make the blunder of ignoring your achievements, you yourself will find a way to take up a role change with the next job change. But this will be possible only if you are already aware of how to handle higher responsibilities. Become a team leader in action - the official team leader designation will soon follow. Make it a point to proactively ask for tougher assignments in which you consistently learn something new. And ask again and again - but not to the point of pestering.

Inspite of your best efforts, there might be a situation where either new projects are not coming onboard leading to creation of new positions or due to the current economic climate, people are not changing jobs so there is no movement in existing positions. But you need to be fully prepared anyway - you never know when the opportunity will come.

I knew I had to create my own opportunities.
    - Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam in "Wings of Fire"

Targeting certifications like ITIL,PMP,etc will help you gain knowledge, visibility in the organisation and peer respect. Outside the organisation, it will ensure that you get more and better interview calls. Both these standards are well respected in professional companies and are a huge advantage when aiming for a job change.Clearing certifications will give you a sense of achievement and enhanced confidence and greater momentum towards career progress. It will also force the current employer to consider giving you additional and better responsibilities or risk losing you.

Hope I have done justice to the questions asked - please feel free to seek further clarifiaction if required.


Sainath Sherigar,

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