Note: My five-year goal is to become CTO. The 1 to 3 year goals also lead toward this.
First and Second Year Goals (2013 – 2014)
Finish my Masters in Computer Science.
3-5 Year Goals (2015-2017)
To become A CTO or take the next step toward this career. Such as an Architect Developer or similar top development position. Becoming a development architect is another step towards my longer term goal to become a CTO.
My previous experience is also preparing me for this. I have the ability to help customers design and architect their product from many different angles.
There are customer needs and wants, internal needs and wants, and UI presentation and back-end architecture. There is folly in not properly architecting your code, but there is also folly in over architecting code that will never be re-used.
I have a much a wider experience range than most developers for two reasons.
- I was in technical support for ten years, supporting:
- Windows operating system
- High end network routers, switches, load balancers, firewalls
- Desktop Management, Server Management
- I have 10 years of open source technology experience behind me, providing me with an understanding of what technologies already exist, as well as how to find out what technologies are being developed.
- I have interfaces heavily with customers. I have been on customers sites performing training and development, and have provide remote control support to hundreds of customers.
I won’t argue that there are better coders than me out there. I have no problem learning from other developers who share their knowledge online daily. But I will argue that there are few who are better employees.
5+ Year Goal (2018+)
Obtain a position as a Chief Technical Office (CTO) or a Chief Information Officer (CIO) or VP of Product Development.
My career has been an education leading towards this goal. Because technical support causes intense, rapid, and deep learning, I started there. This could more closely be compared to multiple college degrees, I am going to call them, On the job degrees and list them.
- On the job degree 1 – Operating System support – Started at the highest support level possible
- On the job degree 2 -Network technical support – where I reached the highest support level possible
- On the job degree 3 -Software Support for LANDesk’s Desktop Management Software – This position was exceptionally educational as I learned both software support and IT processes. Since LANDesk is designed specificity for IT departments, there is not a better educational support job to prepare to become a CTO.
Now I am a developer (not that I didn’t do plenty of development during my days in support) gaining experience in another side of the computer industry.
- On thee job degree 4 – Software Development
I also have been active in open source, specifically FreeBSD, though I have had plenty of exposure to Linux and Unix. I have been involved mostly with documentation but more recently with development.
- On the job degree 5 – BSD/Linux/Unix and Open Source technology
Many have asked me why I acquired a degree in English. With all the on the job degrees listed above, a Computer Science degree would be rather redundant. An English degree allowed me to improve my writing skills, my social skills, my creativity, my critical thinking, and to learn to understand others’ points of view. I chose to make myself a more rounded individual, which is very important in a high profile job such as a CTO.
I have excelled in technology knowledge through out my life. Here are key areas where my knowledge is strong:
- Knowledge of Windows Operating Systems and the applications that are used in day-to-day business.
- I have not just provided technical support for Windows operating systems, I have also worked to track software licensing and become adept at how to save companies thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions on licensing costs.
- Knowledge of Open Source operating systems and software and how to leverage them to save money vs when to avoid them when the total cost of ownership is greater.
- Understanding help desk, technical support, and customer support, and knowledge centered support, and their roles as well as how to keep such employees happy while keeping costs low.
- Understanding the network technology of today, whether it is wired, wireless, or a combination of both.
- Understanding of when to use a private cloud, or a public cloud, a VPN cloud, as well as when to avoid the cloud. I also know when the term cloud is just being used as a clever marketing trick to get us to spend more money and when it is a legitimate tool to solve business needs that increase revenue either by saving money or enabling the business to make more money.
There are other significant ways I have contributed to the success of my company in ways that a CTO should be able to do.
Here are some examples:
- When Windows 7 was released, Cisco didn’t have a 64 bit VPN client. Though I am not in IT, I saved LANDesk/Avocent $120,000 by showing our IT department how Shrew Soft VPN client works on Windows 7 64 bit. I communicated with the developer of Shrew Soft two bugs that were seen and they were promptly fixed. LANDesk/Avocent cancelled the license purchase for proprietary software. Cisco has finally got a working 64 client, but we didn’t spend that money while we waited. I was able to do this because of my 10 years experience and background in open source.
- When our Channel and Partner teams felt their support satisfaction was low, that task was given to me to take it over. I made the Channel and Partner Engineers my team members and together we made support for the Channel and Partners one of the most satisfying experiences.
- I developed an add-on for LANDesk software, on my own time to benefit our company, which has influenced and still influences today some deals, including some deals over 100k in yearly renewals.
- Even though I am no longer in support, I am still one of the top contributors to our support community and my articles still save my company money daily by deflecting support calls.
- Early on when VMWare was new to my company, I worked with management and IT to get a VMWare image share. Every time someone spends five minutes pulling an image from this share instead of taking one or two hours of time to build their own VM, my company saves money. We probably save thousands of man-hours a year for cost savings that is immeasurable.
The ability to recognize these opportunities often cannot be taught. You have to recognize them yourself and you have to trust your team members in their areas of expertise when they recognize them as well.