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The road to success: Tech leaders tell all

Paul Heltzel | March 29, 2016
To get to the top of the org chart, you'll need more than basic dev skills. Today's head honchos offer their wisdom on getting ahead

As an example, Roberts points to the job-listing bullet point that consistently catches candidates’ eyes: “ ‘Work with big data and machine learning that matters. We're not just trying to sell more ads or widgets; we're helping organizations improve their security and protect against cyber attacks and domain hijacking.’”

Tech leadership in today’s tight job market requires knowing what excites the best candidates to join your team, Robert adds. “I saw a problem -- weak job postings -- and solved it.”

Jump-start the process

If you’ve decided that becoming a tech lead is where you want to be, how do you get the ball rolling? It starts by stretching yourself, say our experts, and finding ways to take on challenging projects, while making your voice heard and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Nick Hill, vice president of product management, Jive Software
“You’re going to stumble at first, but that’s how you learn and grow. Start asking ‘Why?’ and ‘What if?’ These are very powerful questions. Speak up more. Your ideas are worth attention and respect. Self-confidence is an important part of leading a team.” -- Nick Hill, vice president of product management, Jive Software

“You’re going to stumble at first, but that’s how you learn and grow,” says Nick Hill, vice president of product management at Jive Software. “Start asking ‘Why?’ and ‘What if?’ These are very powerful questions. Speak up more. Your ideas are worth attention and respect. Self-confidence is an important part of leading a team.”

Axway’s Banks proposes getting your nails dirty: “Tech leaders of the future should get involved in what’s happening in their local scene. Most major cities these days have tech hubs or meetups you can join. I travel a lot, so I make time to take as I go from city to city to hop into a devops seminar, slip into a Docker tech lab, or participate in a hackathon. At the same time, I attend a lot of leadership seminars and luncheons to get a regular dose of encouragement and inspiration from the broader business community.”

Jeffry Nimeroff, CIO, Zeta Interactive
“The skills you learn travel up the chain well as your domain experience and tenure grows.” -- Jeffry Nimeroff, CIO, Zeta Interactive

According to Jeffry Nimeroff, CIO of New York analytics firm Zeta Interactive, it’s not as simple as throwing your hat in the ring. Developing relationships may be the single most important aspect of getting to the top and staying there.

“The skills you learn travel up the chain well as your domain experience and tenure grows,” Nimeroff says. “Honing your skills in interacting with subordinates, peers, and superiors to effectively communicate, properly set expectations, and successfully execute is a linchpin. Successful execution is what puts you on the path to achieving a leadership position.”

 

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