Many ambitious people jump at the first “title” they can get. This is often a mistake. When viewed over two to three decades, your career will turn out much better if you look for opportunities that allow you to grow and add value, rather than being title-focused. These ideas will help you stay on track:

— Pick a company for which IT is critical.

— Look for projects that result in bottom-line benefit.

— Be willing to move laterally, not just vertically, to work on those projects.

— Realize that bigger companies will likely grow your experience faster than smaller companies. A mid-level management position in a large company should provide more opportunity to learn, grow and lead than a CIO position at a small company.

— Make sure you’re going to something you like, not running away from something you don’t. It’s during hard times that strong leadership is most needed. The best opportunity could be to stay right where you are and build a better future.

— Show that you can be successful in a variety of settings, by building a base of experience in several areas such as application development, vendor management, computer operations and, ideally, some business functions.



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