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What you need to know before transitioning from Technical to Executive 

By Vahid Haghzare, Director Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment &
Armae Garcia, Marketing Associate, Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment


In this article, SVA Recruitment, an IT Recruitment agency in Hong Kong will try to provide practical suggestions for Engineers considering a move into Management.

Aside from helping organizations to find top talent, Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment has been providing career advice to its candidates for many years about career planning and moves. 

Our Tech recruiters frequently get to sit down and talk with interesting, successful, and ambitious people about their career decisions. In these discussions, candidates and contacts intimately share their ideas on what the future may hold for their career paths, and our IT Recruiters feel very privileged to have confidence in such discussions. 

Conversations with scientists and engineers reveal that at some point in their careers, they realize that while technical skills are a tremendous asset, their career growth demands a shift to management. 

Read more: How to successfully kick-start your Career in IT Tech

However, management is not a skill that can be learned through reading books or going on the Internet; rather, it takes real experience in dealing with both managers and peers.

Career changes can be difficult, and there are fewer opportunities to advance within the field. This leads to frustration for those seeking a new direction in their career.

If you are moving from the Technical to a Business Management role, consider the below advice from some of our IT Candidates who have successfully transitioned in their careers.

Read more: Highly Recommended Tech Jobs for the Sociable IT Professionals

1. Take advantage of your Engineering Mindset 

Business is a complex environment in which you will face many decisions. Your science/engineering background is actually an asset, as it can help you make better, logical, scientific decisions, rather than emotionally irrational ones. Many executives coming from non-Engineering backgrounds have this flaw. Don’t shy away from or regret your career in engineering and science. 

It is true that your IT career does not always involve working with people, but you can find your niche by identifying the strengths of your personality and interests. There are jobs in the IT industry that require interactions with a wide variety of people, so don’t let this fact discourage you from finding a role that will allow you to contribute and grow your career and interpersonal skills which are key to becoming a Business Executive.

Read more: 4 Ways to Become a Successful Developer in 2022

One other most common reason former engineers give up on moving from technical to business is that they don't have the skills to present their work or reports, in a formal way to audiences. If you’re interested in moving up to a leadership role, this is something that you will ultimately have to overcome. But you’ll find that the business career offers you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and really develop new skill sets that may have previously been unused.

2. Don’t Do it for the Money

If you’re simply looking to increase your income, or stability in your compensation, do not go into management. If you do this, it will lead you astray. You would actually be better off continuing down the engineering career path. 

As you go higher in executive, your pay becomes more and more linked to performance bonuses and dividends. The reward is higher but so is the risk. And your pay is not directly up to you anymore as it was when you were an individual contributing engineer- it is now about the performance of your people, division, or the whole company.

Read more: 5 Tips for Senior IT Executives to successfully transition into IT Consultants

3. Be Warned about Job Security

Management changes are much more frequent in an organization. If a company is cutting costs, your salary is a big burden on the balance sheet and usually, your position will come under scrutiny first before anyone else in your tea. 

If it’s not a question of overall company performance, but individuals in your team are actually not performing, then the blame usually falls on to the executive as well. Just ask any Soccer / Football Manager!

Lastly, it is a misconception to believe that business positions require less work than Engineering ones. With greater responsibility comes more pressure. Getting into Executive roles leads to all sort of headaches involving your people, legal, product, competition, markets, etc. You will have more sleepless nights juggling things. Being responsible just for technical tasks like coding is much easier in reality. 

Also read: Mentorship: The way forward for Data Scientists

4. Experience vs MBAs and Masters

An MBA does not automatically make you smarter or more capable as an executive or manager. As an Exec you will be working with many people with different educational backgrounds, even some with very little theory/education but lots more scars than you. If you think that you are smarter than everyone else because of higher education, you may be making a serious miscalculation.

Employers are more and more looking for individuals who have the actual skills, and hard experiences. An MBA or management degree is to hiring managers just a supplement to actual tangible experience.

IT Recruiters at SVA Recruitment will tell you that your chances of landing a job with companies in management are good if you can show a hiring manager that you have previous people and management skills. MBA or Master enhances the CV but experience makes or breaks your application.

Enjoyed this article? Check out more blogs and thoughts from us. 
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Silicon Valley Associates is a specialist IT Recruitment Agency ideally positioned to support the continual demand from tech companies and IT Departments looking to hire in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Dubai, Japan, and Worldwide. Please let us know if you would further advice on the above topic or if your hiring needs 

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