I have a cousin who was a skilled, talented artist in high school. Whenever he was painting a portrait, he would be playing his favorite rock band and be singing and dancing along … all at the same time!
One thing led to another, and his “artistic skills flourished into an entrepreneurial side business” and he started selling his portraits to supermarket chains!
Then it was time for college and his parents insisted on him choosing a career like “building engineering” that promised a stable income with lots of growth potentials vs. that of an entrepreneurial artist.
When it comes to the Information Technology Industry, getting more hands-on experience is one of your most important professional development activities.
In this post, I will explain how information technology workers including business analysts, computer programmers, database developers, data analysts, project managers, software testers and infrastructure / networking professionals can gain extensive, high visibility, career defining hands-on experience!
More Opportunities To Get Hands-on Experience
By far, the number one place to find hands-on project experience in the information technology industry is in web or software development projects!
Models like Agile, Extreme Programming, Scrum or Waterfall are used by project managers, business analysts, software developers or quality assurance analysts to describe how a project is managed or a software product is built.
The software development life cycle determines how risks are managed, business requirements documented, resources estimated and allocated, stakeholder expectations or customer feedback is managed and when software / quality assurance testing is performed.
Each software development model recommends a set of guidelines or best practices for developing software.
The project sponsor is not the business analyst even though the project sponsor helps the business analyst in gathering requirements and the project sponsor is not the project manager even though the project sponsor helps the project manager deliver a successful project.
It is the project sponsor’s job to ensure that the project team (project manager, business analysts, and team lead) have the technical or operational resources they need and that the project is aligned with the strategic needs of the organization.
Scott Berkun, a former Microsoft Program Manager shares his views about becoming a project manager.
His views are startingly similar to the views we have been posting on this website … that getting more handson experience is the best way to jumpstart your career!
Notice Scott does not start with a long list of educational requirements or certifications for aspiring project managers but with something that you have heard me talk a lot about … hands-on experience!