What IT Professionals And Bridge Builders Should Have In Common with Tom Gilb
Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Tom Gilb, the author of ten books and hundreds of papers on requirements, design, project management and related subjects. His ideas on requirements are the acknowledged basis for CMMi Level 4, which were based upon his pioneering book, ‘Software Metrics’, where he also coined that term.
Tom has lectured at universities across the globe, and has been a keynote speaker at multiple technical conferences. In 2012, he was named an Honorary Fellow of the British Computer Society.
Tom joins Phil today to discuss his extensive business journey, his outlook upon the analytical approach to solving problems, and why the future of IT may lie in adopting an engineering approach.
(4:08) TOP CAREER TIP
Always try to volunteer to help people who may be facing a challenge. Gain permission to help, make friends and learn along the way. Even if you aren’t always successful, you will mark yourself out as a useful colleague.
(9:08) WORST CAREER MOMENT
Tom tends not to think of his career in best or worst terms, but there have been scary moments. The most memorable involved his being asked to solve a complex problem by Israeli rocket scientists. Tom succeeded, despite his reservations, and was rewarded by having his computer confiscated!
(14:15) CAREER HIGHLIGHT
Working in India, Tom was able to convince the workers there to increase the quality of their workmanship instead of selling themselves as the cheapest. Soon all the workers were accredited, and competing on a global scale, which in turn changed the face of IT services in India, which became a leading force.
(19:20) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T
We need to do better in terms of failure rates when it comes to IT projects, which often leaves our clients disappointed. By adopting engineering principles, we can increase our agility and reduce the failure rate to rubble. It’ll take time, but it is incredibly exciting.
(22:42) THE REVEAL
What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Being a typical nerd, Tom was attracted to IT because of the technical challenges and opportunities.
What’s the best career advice you received? – No matter where you are career-wise, study. Keep on educating and training yourself.
What’s the worst career advice you received? –
What would you do if you started your career now? – Invest in learning basic skills, hone them in practice, and be more open and alert to the prospect of radical change.
What are your current career objectives? – To ensure that all the lessons learned during his long and varied career, can be taught and disseminated to the next generation.
What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Quantification – the ability to quantify any critical variable, and any other value.
How do you keep your own career energized? – Always make sure you’re having fun and doing the things you love.
What do you do away from technology? – Tom is an avid reader on all subjects, and tries to read around 35 books per year, as well as studying and absorbing history on television.
(42:11) FINAL CAREER TIP
Select the guiding books you read very carefully. There are far too many IT books out there, containing poor advice. You can filter out the not-so-helpful ones by looking for authors who use case studies and proven data that resulted in successful outcomes.
(4:44) – Tom- “I would use a combination of persistence and intelligence and creativity, and I would solve the problem that nobody else could solve”
(7:58) – Tom - “Where others give up and say “It can’t be done”, say “Well that sounds like an interesting challenge””
(17:53) – Tom - “I was able, with simple observation, to participate in building up the whole Indian IT economy”
(22:33) – Tom - “There are still this 95% of people who persist in treating a large IT system as though it’s a programming problem”
(33:38) – Tom - “You need people and books to help ideas survive”
ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organizations to design, develop, and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.
CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:
Phil is also reachable by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com
Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer
ABOUT THE GUEST – TOM GILB
Tom Gilb is the author of ten books, and a specialist in requirements, design and project management. He has acted as keynote speaker at technical conferences around the world, and in 2012, wwas named an Honorary Fellow of the British Computer Society.
CONTACT THE GUEST – TOM GILB
Tom Gilb can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms: