Geek Isn't Good Enough

There was a very interesting survey on CIOInsight a few weeks back that has some implications on how software startups should do business. The gist of it is this: 55% of the CIO's interviewed said that they're more likely to hire IT professionals who have superior business skills and knowledge over those with superior technical skills. In an even more compelling statistic, 79% of the CIO's surveyed stated that they were more likely to promote IT professionals with superior business skills over those of superior technical skills.

What does this mean for the entrepreneur and the startup employee? If a CIO is looking for people that are more capable in a business capacity rather than in a technical one, what will your client or boss, the presumably non-technical CEO, be looking for?

Here's what I'm getting at - your technical skills can get you far, but it is the business skills that make you desirable to the executives of businesses small and large. Anyone can learn to program or reformat a hard drive, but -

  • Can you solve a problem that is a thorn in the firm's side?
  • Can you manage a project that has numerous, intricate components?
  • Can you communicate your ideas in a clear and simple way?
  • Can you demonstrate how your initiatives are contributing to the bottom line of dollars and cents?
Geek isn't good enough! In order to survive in the business of Information Technology, you have to understand that it is not unlike any other business - it comes down to decreasing costs or creating profit for the individuals and companies that you serve.