4. CEO. The sky's the limit when it comes to IT execs setting their sights on new roles within their employer or a future employer. "Understanding business needs and implementing the tools that allow an organization to address them qualifies top IT executives for top operations -- even CEO -- roles down the road," said SkyWater Search Partners' Hoffarber.
5. Venture capital. One new area ripe for exploration by CIOs and other tech execs is venture capital and business nurturing. "CIOs can be very instrumental to early-stage startups in defining their product roadmap and helping them win design customers," said Deepak Jeevankumar, principal, General Catalyst Partners. "As a VC investor, we constantly look for current or former CIOs who can sit on a customer advisory board for our early-stage startups to fill this role."
6. Human resources. Many HR organizations are about systems and processes, and automating these tasks is a natural progression for strong IT folks, according to Deblauwe. "The IT profile requires a strong bedside manner with customers, similar to HR," he said. "The technical mindedness of IT helps to see opportunities where the HR department can be more strategic by addressing the bundle of tactical tasks that might be inefficient."
7. Executive recruitment. When it comes to successful IT pros, it takes one to know one. IT execs who have effectively aligned technology with business needs and goals are well-positioned to identify others who can do the same. "Recruiting is an excellent avenue for experienced IT professionals to transition into," said Courtney Smith, VP and founder of executive search firm The Lakeside Group Associates, which specializes in the aerospace, defense and alternative energy sectors. "An experienced IT executive has all the fundamental knowledge needed to either start a successful recruiting firm or join an existing one. They would have the keen ability to spot talented candidates, and to screen and interview. They would also have the connections within the industry."
No matter what new role you aspire to, trust is the key to making a move successfully, said Pariveda Solutions' Ballengee. "Note the criticality of trust and relationship building in all these cases. That seems to be the common thread. Makes sense -- if you are changing career paths, you need people pulling you over versus trying to push through."
Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.