In the rapidly growing field of Business Technology (BT), opportunities for career advancement are everywhere, but the path to success isn’t always clear. One thing is certain: Being a competitive candidate means acquiring a sharp set of skills both technical and interpersonal.
In order to crack the code on BT career development and advancement, a panel of BT professionals including Priya Dodwad, Lead Software Engineer of Rapid7; Josephine Le, Technical Program Manager lead at Shopify; and Erik Lopez, Senior Manager of Business Systems at R3 came together at Biz Systems Magic 2021 to discuss their own career paths as well as tips and tricks that will help you stand out as you pursue growth in the Business Technology field.
Put the “business” in business technology
The panel began their discussion by expanding on their own career paths and the unique challenges that brought them where they are today. Erik Lopez discussed the importance of moving away from his love of the technical tooling aspects of his job and stepping into a role where he facilitated processes to accomplish goals, becoming a “gadfly”—someone who helps the business articulate their needs and then executes on the technical side.
Priya Dodwad echoed the importance of moving from a technical mindset to one oriented toward business systems and applications, stating that it is important to be able to have conversations with stakeholders about outcomes, vision, and expectations. In discussing changing responsibilities, Josephine Le doubled down on Dodwad’s point: The shift from individual contributor to broad-scale manager carries with it a host of new responsibilities and required skillset, often one more focused on interpersonal skills.
Foremost among these, according to Le, is the ability to provide empathy and guidance in order to emphasize that team success is a product of all contributors. Compassion and active listening are invaluable skills, and both Le and Dodwad noted that building a network of mentors is a surefire way to make sure that these skills stay sharp.
Be the first person to raise your hand
So now that you have some ideas about how to turbocharge your career growth, how can you put these learnings into action?
Le recommended adopting a growth mindset, one where you are open and accepting of any challenges and changes that might come your way. “If there’s ever a tough situation, be the first person to raise your hand and tackle it,” she said.
Another important aspect of a growth mindset is the ability to seek out mentorship and build partnerships across various business (and personal) relationships. Dodwad specifically recommended building partnerships with stakeholders, which can give you advocates on other teams.
Lopez, meanwhile, recommended that you position yourself and your skill sets clearly, so that other business partners know exactly how you fit into the company’s vision. An important aspect of clear positioning and self-branding is the ability to earn people’s trust. To gain trust, Lopez said, embrace healthy conflict, which means tussling with ideas and asking good questions. “Get into groups, start asking questions,” Lopez said. “It makes you a known quantity.”
A career in business technology is one ripe for innovation and advancement—by growing a supportive network, honing your interpersonal skills, and being willing to tackle difficult challenges, you’ll be set up to succeed.