Ask IT Career Coach

I have been a small business (25- 60 employee) IT Manager and Director with 9 years experience but not continuous as I changed careers 8 years ago to own a successful quick service food business.
After almost 4 years I sold my business, for personal reasons, and found that I could not get an IT interview let alone an IT job so I became employed as a manager at a famous coffee chain.
I loved owning my business but hated food management and I was very lucky to have landed a position as an “IT Project /Network/Systems Admin” for another small company of 60 employees and $15 million in revenue.
After 3 years of employment I have become the IT Director responsible for:
* All software development projects as a Scrum product owner
* Strategic direction of the IT department in support of business development
* Information Systems development projects
* Network and server infrastructure upgrades
* IT asset management
* Disaster recovery/ data Security
*Hire, coach, manage and lead two programmers and one systems admin.
* IT Help Desk
I have an impressive record of zero downtime and multiple improvements by implementing Agile/Scrum, SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange Server, VPN, VMware and more. This is the same type of experience in my previous years as an IT Manager.
My company has been sold and I will be out of a job in a couple of months. I have experience in almost every field that touches IT but I am not an expert in any of them nor have I managed a department on a large enterprise scale.
This is my problem as I cannot find a fit in a larger corporation which requires more specialized experience or more global enterprise management experience. There are not any small businesses IT Manager positions open in my area.
What would be a good career path for the jack of all trades master of none small business IT Director?
Considering your leadership, planning, strategic thinking and management skills, here are the career paths that would fit with your profile.
1. Become a Project Manager:
You have all the skills that are needed to become a project manager, why not consider doing that?
Keep in mind that some companies would prefer what is known as a Technical Project Manager (TPM) which is a manager that has handson technical management or implementation skills in software development, networking infrastructure, etc.
Considering that lacks any small business IT Management positions, I hope that it has project management positions.
If all your area has is bigger business project management / IT Management positions, I would still advise you to consider getting into project management.
What you really have to do is to work harder at selling your value to big business as a project manager.
Though you lack enterprise or big business project management experience, if you prepare your resume and cover letter properly and you get good interview coaching, you should and can sell yourself successfully as a project manager.
The reason why that would work is that regardless of your lack of big-business exposure, you have the strengths or gene or makeup of a project manager and given the right opportunity, you will learn on the job.
The other thing that you also should keep in mind is that there are Junior IT Management and Junior Project Management positions.
So, what you may need to do is network with the recruiters and get a better insight into the makeup of the bigger businesses (since it seems that you are lacking small businesses) in your area with a view to targeting companies that may be interested in hiring a Junior Project Manager or Junior IT Manager position.
The other recommendation is that assuming that you have the savings, consider starting your own business.
You obviously have what it takes to succeed in business, you may want to look at starting a new business, especially one that allows you to sell your products and services on the internet.
That is important because ultimately, you must be true to your genes and you have to consider that owning your own business affords someone like you unlimited options.
You just have to do a thorough inventory of possible startup businesses that you can get into, OK?
Thank you very much. Great advice and I have started investigating that path. \n\nHow much do you value the importance of a PMP certification? \n\nI notice many job postings requiring it or at least showing a preference for candidates who are certified. \n\nI never put too much stock into certifications when I hire personnel. \n\nIt\'s experience and knowledge that influences my decision but I see that is not always the case with recruiters.