• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other Pie Elite all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Paul Clapham
  • Ron McLeod
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Tim Cooke
Sheriffs:
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • paul wheaton
  • Henry Wong
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Carey Brown
  • Frits Walraven
Bartenders:
  • Piet Souris
  • Himai Minh

Working in IT department vs Working for IT company

 
Greenhorn
Posts: 26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Ranchers,

Apologies for a confusing title, but just couldn't find a better one! I am trying to analyze the differences of working for the IT department of a company whose primary business is not IT, as against working for a software services or product company.

I've worked with an IT services company and as a contractor in the IT department of an Insurance company. I did not observe any drastic operational differences between the two. However, this might be the case because my work was always restricted to one (or few) projects at a time.

If we drop domain knowledge off our list, how important/unimportant is it to consider the business area of a prospective employer? What are the pros and cons of working for an employer whose primary business is not IT? Please let me know your views.

Thanks in advance.
 
Author
Posts: 6055
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For me the most important distinction is that if the company is not a software company you are in a support role. You job sits along side HR, custodial, accounting, procurement etc. in that it is there to help the core team produce more widgets and make money.

Long term you're less likely to rise to the top of the company. However, as most people in technology in US (your mileage may vary by country) don't stay at a company their whole career, that may not be a big issue unless you're right at the peak of your career and want a non-IT related role.

--Mark
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 73
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I see change in the process the companies follows, as i am in the same situation...
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1327
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
what about the companies with their core business fully depends on IT? then wouldn't the MIS/IT department play an important role in the operation of these kinds of companies instead of just support role and surely the budget they appropriate to their IT department should be a lot
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Information technology is a critical component of most business enterprises.

Information systems enable organizations to communication and create business partnerships. They also play significant roles in new product development.

Defense organizations, space research organizations, financial companies, hospitals, are a few examples of organzinations that have extraordinary opportunites for talented technical individuals.
 
Mark Herschberg
Author
Posts: 6055
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Billy Tsai:
what about the companies with their core business fully depends on IT? then wouldn't the MIS/IT department play an important role in the operation of these kinds of companies instead of just support role and surely the budget they appropriate to their IT department should be a lot



That's most companies. Finance is nearly all computerized these days. Retail couldn't function without digitally managed supply chains. Defense is very high tech. Heavy manufacturing (e.g. areospace, automotive) needs advanced computer modeling techniques.

Nevertheless, it's still support. Companies do recognize that a $0 IT budget will bring the company to a halt, but still IT itself doesn't bring in revenue to these companies. As such it's often not viewed as the primary area of investment.

--Mark
 
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Microsoft sells technology products and software and it has IT support groups as well.

The IT staff that creates the technology products and software and the IT staff that supports the company's infrastructure are different.

Ford Motor Company has IT staff that build computerized engine components and other software components that are part of their motor vehicle products. They also have an IT staff that supports the company's infrastructure. These groups are different as well.

The point is that not all IT jobs are "support" roles.
 
Mark Herschberg
Author
Posts: 6055
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by James Clark:
Microsoft sells technology products and software and it has IT support groups as well.

The IT staff that creates the technology products and software and the IT staff that supports the company's infrastructure are different.

Ford Motor Company has IT staff that build computerized engine components and other software components that are part of their motor vehicle products. They also have an IT staff that supports the company's infrastructure. These groups are different as well.

The point is that not all IT jobs are "support" roles.




I'm guessing this is in reference to my comments above. Obviously at Microsoft they are a software company. As for Ford, if you talk to non-software engineers in car design, engine design, power train, etc versus the software controller teams they'll tell you there is a bias.

But let's skip the anedoctal evidence in which I'll claim there is bias and others will claim there is not. Look at the top two levels of management at non-software companies and look at where they come from. At companies like Ford, for example, aside from a CIO or CTO you'll discover most executives come from mechanical and EE backgrounds or sales, marketing and business development, or supply chain. Most software engineers don't make it into the upper echelons in non software companies (and if you want to argue a general bias, then compare software to non-software companies and you'll see it still holds). That's the real indicator.

--Mark
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 463
Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After working in both conditions here are my observations:

Working for pure IT services company:

- I worked on many projects involved many technologies, latest and old.
- Less pressure during development since SDLC involved, sufficient time for
development. Even with agile also, I used to get much time to do things since we followed "agile way of estimating effort"
- I used to get time to do things for my own learning, for example using JUnit for writing unit test cases.
- I don't have to interact with customer directly unless I am in a big role.
- Challenging work environment.

Working for non-IT company as an IT support engineer:

- Working closely with customers (people who doesn't know technology well).
- Things changes so fast, even after project launch I used to get change requests to modify something instantly!
- Very tight schedules and too much pressure.
- Once project goes live I used to get couple of weeks to one month free time.
- I am only working on one project, to support the users on technical issues etc. I am quite familiar with the system now and there is nothing to learn much.
- Not so challenging, doing simple things within shortest time is challenging.
- Convincing users on certain things is difficult. Whenever we tell them that certain things cannot be done this way or that way, they immediately says "if you can't do it, why you need this computer system?"

 
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand
Posts: 2187
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

But let's skip the anedoctal evidence in which I'll claim there is bias and others will claim there is not. Look at the top two levels of management at non-software companies and look at where they come from. At companies like Ford, for example, aside from a CIO or CTO you'll discover most executives come from mechanical and EE backgrounds or sales, marketing and business development, or supply chain. Most software engineers don't make it into the upper echelons in non software companies (and if you want to argue a general bias, then compare software to non-software companies and you'll see it still holds). That's the real indicator.




Great point. The sales, marketing and business development experience is very important. And I think when software engineers have this experience, they are are able to move up into senior management roles.

CIO and CTO are the typical roles. However, there may be room for CIOs to move into CEO space for mid-sized companies.
 
Yup, yup, yup. Tiny ad:
Free, earth friendly heat - from the CodeRanch trailboss
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/free-heat
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic