Career Development for IAM Professionals

Posted on by Steve Tout in Career

Wrapping up a long, tiring yet rewarding week at Cloud identity Summit in New Orleans, I wanted to sign off with a few parting thoughts.

First off, I’d like to thank Andrew Hindle for giving me the opportunity and the honor yet again to speak at CIS. Being a 4th time attendee at CIS and frequent speaker and attendee at other conferences, it is clear that not enough air time has been devoted to career development issues for professionals in our industry. This is evidenced by the fact that at least a dozen folks approached me afterwards with their questions, comments and thanked me for sharing lessons from the trenches. I was especially touched more than once by attendees who confided that my talk (given on the last day of the CIS event) was their favorite of the entire week. As far as I can tell, nobody is being paid to give such high praise for my contribution at CIS, though I am humbled that it had such a positive impact on people.

On separate occasions I had the chance to meet in person and chat with a few folks who follow me online and to hear their stories. One individual, an IAM architect for a global company after more than 20 years in the industry, shared his successes and opportunities as well as challenges and frustrations that come from such an illustrious career. We commiserated over the sad reality of those who retire as life-long LDAP administrators and IAM architects without having experienced much else of what the industry has to offer them. This is the curse of trading time for money, and a trap that most professionals in our industry will face at one point or another.

You see, if you don’t take ownership for your career, there are plenty of managers with far less skill and knowledge than you do who are willing to manage your career for you. One path will be frustrating and end in pain. The other can be fulfilling and rewarding beyond wildest belief. It is liberating to go into an annual performance review holding yourself up to a higher standard of performance than your boss does, and in doing so far exceeding his or her expectations for your behaviors, actions and achievements.

If there were only a few words that summarized my talk at CIS 2016, it would be the following statements:

  1. IT is a contact sport.
  2. You have to go in with a mindset of owning your future and being fully engaged for survival.
  3. Change is constant, so never get comfortable.
  4. We should feel lucky to be here.
  5. Give back more than you take.

A focus on these principles can become a powerful driving force in your career to the point where you feel you never have to work a day in your life. Developing and pursuing a definite major purpose for your career will keep you in a constant state of flow (as opposed to anxiety or boredom) and will not only ensure your ongoing success, but the mental toughness that enables you to transform your company or industry with the power of modern identity & access management.


In closing, I challenge you with the following questions:

What is the definite major purpose for your career?

What is your personal rate of innovation?

What new value will you create today?

You can view or download my slides here.

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