So how do you make the transition from being an IT Technician to an IT Network Manager? How do you go from being the person with the Spiderman t-shirt with an office in the storeroom to the manager who gets to go to meetings with coffee and jam scones?
I worked in education for thirteen years and enjoyed my time as an IT Technician and Network Manager. In my experience there were a number of keys which helped me transition between the two roles. Two of these keys were education and training.
School’s take qualifications seriously. The first key for me was realising I needed to jump through the qualification hoop to get ahead in education. I did a degree with the Open University while working as an IT Technician and never looked back. You may be able to build a server with your eyes closed but that won’t get you seat at the interview table. Qualifications tend to do that.
It is pretty obvious a manager is someone who manages people. If you are an IT Technician it is unlikely you will be managing other people. Ironically most Network Managers don’t have anyone to manage either. I found that delivering training is a good step in the direction of management. I taught IT classes to support staff and teaching staff. I delivered training sessions during in-service days. I think training is as close as you can get to management experience when you have nobody to manage.
Education will open doors for you and delivering training will raise your profile. In my next post I will talk about the importance of strategic thinking in being a Network Manager and the need to look beyond IT1.