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Career advice: What separates leaders from managers?

Mujib Lodhi | Feb. 5, 2014
Premier 100 IT Leader Mujib Lodhi also answers questions on keeping abreast of technology and the value of certifications.

Secondly, change your thinking and break out of your comfort zone by crossing the boundaries of traditional IT management to non-conventional IT management approaches. IT is rapidly evolving from a straightforward support and service delivery organization to a strategic component of the business. Embrace this reality by examining challenges from a business perspective rather than with a technology focus. Understanding the problems of the business enables you to better seek out solutions that add or create real business value. To start on this path, try to integrate yourself into internal IT projects that will enable you to cross over the traditional boundary lines and in a sense, give you on-the-job training.

What specific certifications are truly worthwhile for a network administrator to pursue?
Certifications are important to establish individual credibility in the fundamentals to which each of the various certifications apply. Such certifications should be considered worthwhile as long as they are relevant and up to date, starting with those that are widely accepted across the industry as having organizational value. Specifics are difficult to pinpoint since "network administration" might carry a broad meaning to the full scope of professionals in the industry, but these are easily searched online in your specific area of current expertise.

While these certifications have value in terms of establishing confidence in your ability to perform, it is in the actual performance of your work where true organizational value is derived. Working within the confines of your certifications will tend to set your organizational value as that of a specialist who works well in a traditional IT environment focused solely on support and service delivery. In today's dynamic IT environment, however, this may not be sufficient. IT is evolving from those support roles and transforming itself into a strategic partner to the business, where we must now add or create real business value to be considered a success. This means your role in network administration must also change and evolve. In terms of certifications, this might mean looking at where the network is going as technology convergence consolidates traditionally separate activities into one network such as VoIP or unified communications. Certifications in the area of converged technologies that are relevant to your business will expand your knowledge and give you the confidence to cross over those traditional boundary lines, preparing you for the fast-approaching future of the network while adding significant value to your personal portfolio versus someone who sticks to the fundamentals.


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