Observations on Working in IT

1.Gaijin Grease

One of the primary roles a foreigner will have working in a Japanese Company is to smooth relations "Grease" the relationship between the Japanese offices and the foreign offices. Its not just language but also culture that can be a challenge in communicating coordinating between the Japan and Non-Japan offices. As the "Gaijin Grease" You'll be expected to keep both sides (the Japanese and the Non Japanese) happy and informed about what both sides are thinking and expecting. Being positive and helpful to both sides is a must but always remember who is paying your salary so you don’t get confused about whose side you are on.

2.Master the Basics #1

Technology is always changing. There is always something new happening. Both of those statements are true but the fundamentals of Technology rarely change. For example look at the OSI model its 25/30 years old already. But if you really understand the OSI model then you know have a base understanding of how systems connect together, how to identify the causes of system issues etc. So the lesson is master the basics, study the various frameworks like NIST, ISO and the fundamentals to give yourself a solid base to build more experiences and skills on

3.Beware of Beautiful Power Points

The more beautiful the Power Point the worse the idea. The simpler the Power Point the better the idea You will sometimes find amazing multi page great Power Points with nicely aligned titles, great graphics and just the right balance of wording and jargon. The amount of work that goes into a presentation like that is huge . But  good ideas should be easy to summarize and easy to explain so keep that in mind

4.The two Key Questions every Project Manager should ask

What does the project sponsor (The Business) want to achieve , and why do they want to achieve it, in other words what benefit will the Business receive? The job of a PM is to deliver the project on schedule ,within budget and to the correct quality. But that is pretty hard to do when it is not clear what the project deliverable actually is and the business reason why that deliverable is valuable. So as a PM you have to ask to every project requestor or Sponsor those 2 questions and you have to get a clear answer.  

5. Focus on the end Goal! Risk Management is the Key

Technology is always changing. There is always something new. Both of those statements are true but the fundamentals never get old. For example look at the OSI model its 25/30 years old already, But if you really understand the OSI model and how to apply it, then you know at the concept level how the latest technology works for example SDN, CASB and MPLS etc. You can say the same thing about troubleshooting. If you understand the basics how to divide issues, test and analyze options then you can trouble shoot anything; HW breaks, OS issues, Network connectivity or broken applications

6.Know your place.

A lot of people in IT or Information Security, Internal Audit etc. forget that the basic reason they exist is to support the Business. Sure IT and Information Security are important but they are not as important as the Business. To put it another way the Business the revenue generating organization came first then the company added IT to help them do a better job and then the company added information Security to manage the risks of using IT. So a good Techie or a good Information Security person should keep in mind 99.9 % of the time you do not make money. What IT does is help the person who makes the money

7.Master the Basics #2 - You need more than Tech Skills

Obviously you have to understand the appropriate technology if you work in IT. If you work in Software development you have to know how to code. If you work in Networking you have to know how to configure Network Devices. But the base skills and knowledge are not enough for a successful career you need other skills too.
What are these other skills? The other skills you need ;people skills especially communication skills and Critical thinking skills. Let me explain using a really simplified example. A project has a technical issue with a Vendor application. Ok so first you identify the problem (Tech Skills), then you talk to the Vendor confirm the problem and work out any options to fix the issue plus cost and time (People skills, Tech skills, Critical thinking skills), then you prioritize the options and decide which one you support and why then you explain to the System owner and ask them to decide on which options they prefer(People skills, Tech skills, Critical thinking skills). Finally you implement the option you agreed on (Tech Skills).