My next gig was one-year as a software analyst on a small team for a federal contractor. This was my “big step” job because I finally broke into the IT industry. I knew software was eating the world and I wanted a place at the table.
The differentiator in the hiring process was not my computer science experience. That’s good, because I barely made it through Computer Science 101. Rather, the key was my major in Philosophy, because one huge task would be teaching users how to use our software. My manager thought my communication skills would be a good fit. I am grateful for her trust!
- I learned what Software-as-a-Service is (SaaS). There are products and services, which are typically viewed separately. However when a software product and corresponding customer support enables a process to happen, the result is SaaS, encompassing the product and services that makes the process happen. This was important to understand because most IT companies seem to be SaaS companies.
- I learned about the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). I learned how software goes through a process of creation, from problem to design to requirements to development to testing to delivery to support to training, and repeat. Typically this process happened one at a time as a Waterfall, but the new Agile methodology smushed everything together, reducing scope, time, and cost to bite-sized chunks. Even if I’m in Sales, now I know what I’m selling: not a static widget, but a growing widget.
- I learned about the differences in style and work-life balance of other team members. Some people go hard 25 hours a day. Some people clock out at 5pm to spend time on things outside of work. Then there are many people in the middle. I learned that every style is ok, and that the job of a manager is to ensure that a team can operate well together even with all these differences. I also learned that my own style does not work for everyone else just because it’s my style.
These lessons have helped me to develop my career and dive deeper into software advisory projects and teams.