Where do I fit in the technology landscape? Im currently a Director/IC at Capital One and as I’ve grown in my career I’ve continued to dig at the question, where do I want to go, and, what does it mean to be successful there. For a long time I wanted to be a director, now, as a Director of 4 years, I wonder if Im doing it right. Or if this is really what I want to do. Should I shoot for VP of Tech? CTO? CIO?
Looking at my track record of failed personal startups, I know Im not the CEO. I also know im not the smartest person in the room. Nor the person that slaves over an algorithm. So where do I fit?
I like process, I like measuring success (or not), I like making sure things run as smooth as possible. Although I also like developing but know im not the right person for a legacy application. I like building prototypes, I like “cranking” out code to deliver on a testable product….and then handing the item off to someone to maintain and build onto it.
If theres anything I’ve learned in my almost 15 years of experience is that, I like building testable-products.
Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t set things up correctly and cut corners. Not at all. It means I lose interest, or rather, I lose interest in the phase that comes after building the MVP and hardening the application just enough to deem it ready for mass consumption.
I once hear someone say, Software Engineers when building out a team fit into 2 categories, you have those that love to code new things, those that love to support new things. I tend to sit in the first bucket. Having said that, I like to manage both.
On the non tech side
of things, I enjoy sitting in meetings related to non technical pieces of the
business. Where questions related to,
why are we taking this pivot, how is the product affecting our bottom line, what
is the value-chain or the company. Am I
the best person to answer some of the questions/problems proposed during those
type of meeting? Far from it, but it
helps me identify the direction of the company and identify a technical vision
my teams can get behind and map back to their day-to-day activities.
So where do I sit? Im not the best engineer and Im not the best business X. But, I do know both worlds and I enjoy it.