How-To IT Career Guide: 7 Critical Strategies, From Getting Started To Semiretiring - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Business & Finance

How-To IT Career Guide: 7 Critical Strategies, From Getting Started To Semiretiring

Driven by our salary survey data, a look at make-or-break moments in a career.

Semi-retire As A Consultant

There's a demand, but be ready to sell your skills.

A lot of IT veterans -- from CIOs to technical specialists--have in the back of their minds a plan to semiretire and "do some consulting on the side."

There's a market for such skills and knowledge. But those who go in had better be prepared to be their own salesperson. "You have to put enormous energy into marketing yourself--far more than one does as part of an internal IT organization," says James Hatch, who's been doing part-time consulting since retiring as CIO of the packaging company Pactiv. Hatch describes it as a "constant, ongoing networking task."

The other option is to hand that sales job over to a staffing company. That's what Mike Biela, a 60-year-old, 25-year IT veteran is doing. His previous full-time job was as director of applications development for a steel company. About two years ago, that steel manufacturer outsourced IT operations to another company: Hudson. Biela stayed on for about a year during the transition, then left, spending six months mostly baby-sitting grandchildren.

Then Hudson called, asking if he would like to work on a project that included a sales order management system for another steel company. "That was the best move I ever made," he says. He travels from his Pittsburgh home to Cleveland weekly, putting in 40 hours over four or five days each week. He makes 10% more than on his last job.

Gigs requiring less than 40 hours a week are out there, says Dan Cobb, a VP at IT outsourcing and staffing company Yoh. "If you don't want to work full time, be clear about when you can work," he says. And there are opportunities for specialists to semiretire from the tech track, Cobb says.

In fact, the more concrete people can be about what they're selling, the better. While former senior-level experience is valuable, there's a big demand for project managers who can train and lead other professionals on a team, says Tim Bosse, a Hudson VP.

Hatch has similar advice, suggesting the marketing effort is easier the more you "productize" your approach, rather than focusing on broad, general management capabilities.

One big risk: getting stale. In semiretirement, the same advice you've probably given up-and-comers applies to you: Keep up with the latest tech trends, read, take classes, do whatever's needed to keep your skills and knowledge current.

Then, be ready to sell what you know.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
7 of 8
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
10 Ways to Transition Traditional IT Talent to Cloud Talent
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  11/23/2020
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Can Low Code Measure Up to Tomorrow's Programming Demands?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/16/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll