If you want to move into management you have to let go of the technology, says Ray Delany, information chief of Waitemata Health.
Delany says he tried to keep his hand in the details of technology, but a former manager advised, he had to “let go”.
“Of course, you don’t have to be in management nowadays to make good money. Good technologists will always be in demand too. That’s really the opposite of letting go of technology; you have to let go of the idea of being a manager.
“It never ceases to amaze me how many people say they want to be managers who have clearly never thought it through, or who have a much greater aptitude for remaining highly skilled technologists,” he says.
Delany has worked his way up the ladder in IT since the former Dubliner took a course and spent three years as a trainee programmer in Ireland. While education was less important when he started out 20 years ago, Delany, who arrived in Auckland in 1983, says a good academic grounding in MSIS or commerce is now needed to reinforce industry certifications.
People should plan where they want to be in five years. If they put their heart and soul into something, they will enjoy it more and do the job quicker, he says.
In a working environment, treat both those above and below you with respect, dignity and professionalism, he says. “You need to have a support network at work that you can call on when the chips are down,” he says.
Fortunately, Delany has not yet been made redundant, but says the ration of jobs he’s applied against those he’s offered is about 10:1. “Rejection goes in the same territory as ambition - get over it and move on. Practice doing interviews - it costs you nothing and you’ll get really good at it when it counts,’ he says.
Delaney also advises people to learn how to manage time well, don’t take yourself too seriously, keep your eyes open and your mouth shut in new situations until you know what’s going on, listen to customers, and enjoy yourself. IT is a great industry to work in, he says.