Jun 23, 2006 (10:06 AM EDT)
Building Tech Talent Through Extensive Professional Development

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

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The best way to understand someone's position - whether it's their take on a particular topic, or their role within an IT enterprise - is to spend some time in their shoes. Literally.

That's exactly the management strategy Sun Microsystem's CIO, Bill Vass, takes when it comes to professional development within his IT organization. The requirement that every new staffer rotate into a variety of different IT roles is a strategy Vass learned during his seven-year Federal career stint that included serving as CIO at the Pentagon and the Department of Army.

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Simply, anyone hired into Sun's IT department, which numbers about 400, is given a choice of two professional development tracks. One is the 'specialist' track, geared toward helping an employee develop a plan to specialize in a particular technology such as operations (OPs), enterprise resource planning or honing a tech skill such as service- oriented architecture. The second track puts the staffer into the Information Management Group (IMG) within Sun, focusing on more of a generalist role that can directly lead up to the principle, director and vice president management levels within IT.