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A number of people have said that one of their biggest issues when moving up the career ladder is knowing how to give up control of the ‘detail’, i.e. influence and decision making of technical matters. To some people, its losing their edge – their very basis of power and expertise. I think this can be a big misconception, particularly by those people who are already feeling the pull towards leadership positions.
I went through this journey myself.
Breaking out of this mindset took a long time, and I managed it by eventually realizing that having a strong understanding of the concepts of technology, and how to make it sound sensible and accessible to the layman, is even more powerful. Our role must be able to influence people outside of techie-dom. Decisions of funding, risk management and acceptance of business cases are generally performed by non-techies.
So I’ve found that:
1) Understanding the overall concept of a technology,
2) Seeing how it fits into the big picture and the business environment,
3) Being articulate in its value-add,
4) Understanding its costs, and
5) Being able to describe it in simple, plain English
… is the most powerful application of technology!