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Matthew Moran

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since Mar 21, 2013
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Recent posts by Matthew Moran

Thank you everyone for the questions and responses. I hope you found it valuable.

I certainly did and I appreciate the opportunity to spend time here.

Thanks again.
9 years ago
Hmm... I'm probably go more counter to the "education first" model you seem to be drawn towards...

Versatility, in my opinion, would be better achieved by having a broad interest base and finding mentors/leaders in various disciplines. Read books that take you outside of I.T. into:
- Marketing
- Manufacturing
- Project Management
- Creativity
- Sales
- Finance/Accounting
- Management

Also, consider business leader auto-biographies. I am almost done with "The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Secretely Made and Gave Away a Fortune" - about the founder of Duty Free Shoppers.

I believe understanding the motivation and mindset of entrepreneurs and business leaders will make you a better I.T. professional.
9 years ago
Several years ago, I was asked to speak at McDonald's in Chicago. I was addressing several hundred I.T. professionals as part of an I.T. career conference.

I decided to write and perform a song to open the keynote.. This is what I came up with. It isn't the best audio quality on the video but the lyrics are on the page as well.


The I.T. Job Seeker's Song
9 years ago

You probably need to have a face to face meeting with your manager. Explain how you feel.. ie:

"I feel as though I was in a lead role and it seems like that is being pulled away. Is there a reason for this? Was there something I was not doing well enough?"

Second, in whatever role you are placed, do the best you can. If this person is put into a lead position on the project - ie: you end up reporting to him, be the "best" resource for him on the project.

Leadership is often found in a serving role. Your attitude during this will speak very loudly to management and to those who work with you.
9 years ago

I do not cover anything like, "get this cert" or "get this degree" - those are personal goal questions. I do discuss, in detail, proactive strategies for finding work and excelling at the work you do.

My personal advice is to get some real project experience as quickly as possible. As stated in other threads, this may be best accomplished through smaller organizations or interning. But, that helps both your skill level and helps you meet people.. Networking being one of the most under-utilized but powerful tools in your career toolkit.

Quick note on that.. I do not EVER say, "It's not what you know, it's who you know!" That is a cynical and short-sighted statement.

In my book, I've adjusted it to:

It's who knows you and knows what you know!

It is important to be known and that those who know you, have some knowledge of what you do.
9 years ago
Certainly being "good" - which I would equate with strong business knowledge, great problem-solving skills, excellent technology skills, and a positive and proactive attitude.

But then, perhaps the more important question is what is a "good job?"

Your definition might differ (will differ) from mine and from the guy next to you. What factors constitute the job of your dreams?

An exercise I do almost every year is to write down a narrative of my "Ideal Working Day." I start from the moment I wake up until my working day is done.

Some rules:

It must be realistic. You cannot simply state.. I win the lottery and sit on the beach sunning myself.

It must be a full-day. By full-day, I mean 6+ hours long.

Include the interaction you have with others.. what are you doing? What are they like? Where do you work? What is your commute? What do you do for lunch?

By doing this and knowing what I really want, it helps me assess opportunities.. Does this opportunity get me closer to my ideal working day?
9 years ago
I would definitely look into internships and volunteer opportunities prior to getting another certification.

You might also look for companies here that have presence in Central America. Your language skills may be a great help and a competitive advantage.
9 years ago
My book does answer the question.. in that it explains that job boards are NOT your best source of opportunities.

Also, the unrealistic skillsets are there to reduce resumes.. most, if not all, of the people submitting don't really have a ton of skill in all areas.

Networking is the key - or at least a key. The second is to approach more approachable businesses.. Short term at least. Mid- and small companies do not have the same barriers to entry.

Finally, work with a recruiter/headhunter. In many cases, they have direct relationships with employers.. They can open doors to larger organizations more easily. And that is another key - finding companies that have contracts with those employees.
9 years ago
I assume this is to the group in general rather than to me personally. Since I don't program in java and hold no certifications, I may be the wrong person to ask.

I defer both when hiring for clients and personally to have a series of project successes - and write them up as short case-studies - over any specific certification.
9 years ago
Hmm.. Eyeball it. You see where the market is going.. But also, I tend to look into a couple technologies at any given moment.

So.. while I am currently working primarily with and VB. I dabble enough in PHP to feel as though, with little ramp up, I could be doing that proficiently in a few weeks.

That is the primary issue.. don't freak out when direction starts changing - just start adopting a new language as you go. Except for the differences, they are all the same.
9 years ago
I'm not doing mobile per se - although I am working on a project right now that does involve mobile time tracking for a construction project. However, I do write a lot about moving from a job into being a consultant. It is a future podcast episode too.

My first thought is, create a small utilitarian app on the side. Something you find useful that others might as well. Release it for free - it is your learning project - plus becomes a portfolio to perhaps get you paying projects.

My consulting started part time in 1992. In 1995, I landed a new client and realized I was earning more in 15-20 hours on nights and weekends than I was at my job. I went fully independent at that time and have been so ever since.

My advice.. start small and start part-time.
9 years ago

You may find my answer somewhat distressing/confusing. I don't so tightly plan career moves per se. Or even which employer or type of employer.

I look at things like:
- What strikes me as interesting.
- What seems to have a market (ie: can I make money doing it)
- What type of people (staff/management) do I want to work with and for.

I tend to make decisions quickly.. in part because I do not believe any one decisions - whether "good or bad" defines my career. If I find myself working for a company that is unappealing and leading nowhere, I wouldn't try to turn it into something it is not.. I would simply look for the next opportunity - while still providing as much value to my current employer/client.

One exercise I do every year (well.. almost every year) is to write down what I call "My Ideal Working Day."

And it cannot be that you were given a bunch of money and get to sit on the beach.. it has to be a reasonable working day.

If everything went right, what would I be doing at my job? When would it start? How would I get there (what is my commute)? Who am I interacting with?

This gives me an ideal of what I want to work towards. Then, as I come across opportunities, I can better assess whether they are moving closer or farther from my "Ideal".

Does that help at all?
9 years ago
Ahh.. dbase/clipper.. Those are early languages I worked with as well.

I suppose I am less concerned about whether you get a certification or not. However, I would pick some sort of language and as I have suggested in other discussions, consider finding a project - even if you must earn less (or nothing) and solve that problem. The reason is, theoretically learning is always slower and less effective than working on an actual project.

If you can, where you work, take on a small project with a newer technology, do so. I recently began programming again and is where I have been focusing. The past few months, for a client, he paid me for some hours and I gave some hours while doing research and learning. This resulted in quickly learning the technology and my client upping my hours considerably once the project started resulting in productivity gains for his business.

Here is a tutorial I wrote recently on using MS Treeview with javascript and jquery. In fact, the new learning has greatly upped my knowledge of:, sql server, javascript, jquery, xml, and css.

My advice.. find that elusive project and solve a problem.
9 years ago
I just noticed.. my name is misspelled in the topic title.. one "r" - Moran.

No worries though.. It's better than the oft-used and at times appropriate, Moron.. or the magical appearance of the "g" turning me into "Morgan".

Thanks for inviting me and all the great questions. Looking forward to more.
9 years ago
Thank you everyone for the kind welcome.. Inspired by the conversations here and an instructor at International Academy of Design and Technology who is using my book and has asked me to do a live Q&A Skype stream into her class, I modified this week's podcast to discuss "Breaking Into I.T.". Rather than post a conversation about working with a headhunter/recruiter.. That will happen next week.

I do specific mention the forums here and typing my fingers off this morning..
9 years ago