From engineer to VP of advance technologies From an entry-level engineer on an outsourcing contract to the vice president for advanced technologies at his company, Mark Slaga, the CIO/chief technology officer for Hauppauge, N.Y.s Dimension Data North America, an IT services and solutions provider, has always worked in IT."My earlier years were focused on being the most senior technical resource I could be," said Slaga, leading him to focus on achieving certifications like the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert). Click here to read about the rising value of non-certified technology skills. But, despite his achievement, Slaga continues to set his sights higher. "Since I moved into management, the CIO role was one of my goals. But my ultimate goal is CEO." From consultant to SAP project manager Craig Berry, senior vice president of IT and CIO for the Plano, Texas-based PLM provider UGS, never planned to become a CIO, describing it as one of those things that happen within ones career. "Ive made only one, conscious move in my career, and that was to leave a consulting role that I loved, but which happened to require too much travel (old story). I still feel, however, that I am in a consulting role. I am still the same analyst," said Berry. In his years in IT, Berry had held positions including an intelligence systems analyst, senior consulting manager, SAP project manager and an enterprise applications director. "Basically, I started as a programmer/analyst, grew as a package interface analyst, became certified as an SAP configuration analyst, and then took on application and IT management roles. But I have always remained an analyst at heart," said Berry. Berry feels that every IT role requires some analytical skills. "I believe that this is the soul of everyone who is dedicated and successful within in the IT profession I am still most gratified when we resolve a longstanding business challenge by taking an analytical or collaborative approachand then never giving up on the solution." From computer intern to foreign CTO Before achieving his current position as CIO of Penske, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich., truck rental company, and president of SIM (Society for Information Management), Stephen Pickett held different technology positions, from a college intern computer operator to a systems and then operations programmer. Before becoming the vice president of IT at his company, the last position he held before assuming the CIO role, he even worked in a foreign country as a CTO. Although he set off to be a mechanical engineering major in college, once he switched to a computer curriculum, every job hes held has been in IT and he hasnt looked back. "I started in IT before the title CIO existed, but the evolution of the IT job to process orientation, indicative of the CIO role, played well with my skill set," said Pickett. Pickett says hes accepted promotions and sought out new positions as they excited him. "The key reason for my progression has always been to do something that allows me to positively impact the performance of a company." From desktop support to running a technology division James Boyce, CIO of PRC, a customer service outsourcing company based in Plantation, Fla., started his IT career 16 years ago, taking care of the operational duties and desktop support on a sales floor at Ticketmaster. Later, Boyce moved on to managing their contact center, implementing a fancy new software program called Microsoft Office. After moving up Ticketmasters ladder to become its technology director, he left for PRC a decade ago. "Spending so long at one company is rare, but it helped me get ready for my future as a CIO," said Boyce, who said he never thought 16 years ago hed end up still working in technology, much less be a CIO, until he changed companies. "1996 was the pivotal year for my career as thats when I woke up and realized that my job changed from running contact centers that use technology to running an entire technology division. Once I realized that I not only enjoyed technology, but also was pretty good at it, I knew it was time to jump in all the way The opportunity to be CIO of PRC was a challenge that I couldnt resist," said Boyce. Next Page: Trusting your gut.
The decisions he made as he switched from position to position10 in totalon his way up to the CIO level reflect this, as he has changed jobs to get a wider exposure to different customer environments, focused on Cisco networking and was ushered through a series of promotions that landed him his CIO title.