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Management Consultants and Career Path

By Reji George, Vice President, Capgemini

The Indian IT industry has grown at phenomenal pace in the last 2 decades. We have seen an emergence of several large and powerful IT MNC companies from India with a head count of over 2 lakhs employees each.  The companies had done a massive recruitment to meet the outsourcing demand in Software Industry. These armies of software developers need to be mentored and groomed into seasoned IT professionals, who can deliver high quality, innovative solutions to our customers globally. This is extremely challenging work and Management Consultants play a key role in filling this gap.

Many a times, we see that Management Consultant positions are fulfilled by technologists. An individual with a blend of Technology and Management skills is a great combination and we found such individual often delivers projects/programs successfully. Every IT professional goes through a crossroad where he/she need to choose between technical and managerial career path. Choosing Management position is a natural progression to many as this move brings in growth, money, and job satisfaction. A typical career starts as a developer, followed by senior developers, then to a tech lead or architect and then to managing developers and then a manager.

However, technologists often fail to recognize that good developer need not necessarily be a good manager. Manager need to be accomplished in both science and art part of the management role. The science part of role can easily be acquired by trainings, certifications like PMP, CSM (Certified Scrum Master) etc. But many fail to recognize that ‘art’ part of management role is more critical success factor. One need to be good at dealing with people, solving complex personality conflicts, creating a win-win situation and ultimately driving entire team to a common goal/vision of the program.

If you are one of those that is considering a move into management that will distance you from reading and writing code, I advise the individual to retrospect and answer the below questions:

- Why did I choose the technologist role in the first place?

- Do I have the leadership skills to mentor, motivate, and manage other developers?

- Will I be happy with significant part of the job working on operational work like resource fulfilling, hiring, time sheet, invoices, mentoring team members, solving complex personality conflicts?

- Is a move into management and away from technology for career progression or hike?

- If I’m considering a move to management simply for the money, are there other options where I can continue to stay technical and make more money?

- If I subsequently regret making the move to management, what is my way back to a hands-on technical role?

If money and lack of technology career path are the only motivation to move to management positions, then there is some good news to technologists. The recent surge in digital technology, captives set-up in India and conducive start-up environment has provided good technical career options for the technologist. Flipkart, Zomato, SnapDeal, Ola and Travel Guru’s impressive success has raised hope of technologists and are well advised to stay close to technology and help bring in a breakthrough innovation in India. Before moving to management position, it is worth to invest time in finding out whether one can continue to play a technical role with good monetary benefits and job satisfaction.

Having been in the industry for over 2 decades starting as a management consultant and growing up into a leader in a Tier 1 IT company, I feel the essence of defining a person’s career road map is dependent on hard work, flexibility and adaptability, one’s own confidence, empathy to others and humility.’

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