Changing hats

Posted: - Modified: | career

I’ll be changing hats at work. For the last year or so, my primary focus had been a Drupal-based project to help IBMers transition to new careers in nonprofit organizations, education, or the public sector. I learned lots of technical skills along the way, and became one of IBM’s subject matter experts on Drupal. I learned how to write good design documents and regression tests. I learned the ins and outs of the modules that we used, and I built quite a few custom modules for our team. I shared the build and deployment practices I’d developed with the community at DrupalCon2009 and on my blog.

Now IBM’s giving me an opportunity to practice using another hat: consultant. It’s a bit of a jump going from writing code as a developer to participating in strategy workshops, but it’s one of my quirks that I enjoy both. I had sprinkled strategy workshops and presentations throughout my development work, taking a few days here and there to travel and speak. This time we’re reversing the mix: mostly workshops and strategy, and a little bit of technical mentoring. (Not bad for someone who’s officially an entry-level employee! ;) )

One of the wonderful things about being in IBM Global Business Services is that I can do both development and consulting from the same position. From the point of view of the company, it’s just another assignment. As long as my billable utilization remains high, I can work on whatever creates the most value for our clients, the company, and myself. I seem to flip between consulting and development every six to twelve months, which is enough to keep things novel and interesting.

I might blog less about Drupal and more about Web 2.0, Gen Y, and travel. Instead of applying relentless improvement to my coding skills, I’ll work on honing my presentation and facilitation skills. I’m sure I’ll come out of this with a broader and deeper understanding of different industries and emerging topics. I’ll probably also end up with a more modulated voice, a good wardrobe of suits (some of which I may even have made), and probably a thirst for another coding project.

Exciting times!

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