GHC Technology Executive Plenary Panel

15Nov09

In this “session”, we learned what you need to know to become a tech exec, though the panelists offered conflicting views on how to succeed because between them, there were both examples of succeeding by staying in the same place for most of their career as well as by moving around to different companies. What they did seem to agree on though was that the phrase “career obstacle course” is much more appropriate of a term than “career path” since you’re going to hit a lot of rocky points throughout your career.

The individual contributor track may not have the managerial responsibilities that the manager track offers, but it does eventually have less programming and more architectural responsibilities. And regardless of your position or track, communication skills are important – you need to be able to explain technical tasks to non-technical people.

The panelist from Facebook jokingly informed us that they are now making money, contrary to popular belief.

The more things that you do other than what you do at your day job, the easier it is to re-charge and have the energy to go to work. You also need to be really passionate about what you do at work. Pick a company that makes you feel good. If you’re enjoying the journey, then you’re in the right place.  But at the same time, keep in mind that work-life balance is highly essential to not burning out  and avoid the black hole of feeling the need to do work all the time – you don’t have to do everything!

I thought that the panelists really gave some great “big picture” pieces of advice.

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