Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Chowda Chat: Dean Fossella

Beantown Web introduces a new service called "Chowda Chat" which features a conversation with an influential member of the Greater Boston technology community. The purpose of "Chowda Chat" is to provide Web technology professionals with information to help advance their careers. The format involves three questions and responses followed by one final thought.

The inaugural issue of "Chowda Chat" presents the thoughts and observations of Dean Fossella, Chief Technology Officer for a Division of
Thomson Learning, a $2 billion provider of tailored education, training, reference, and assessment solutions to organizations and higher education institutions.

1. How has India affected the marketplace for Boston area Web technology professionals?

"India is a good place for getting work done that is well documented and well managed. That is really an important statement if you think about it. This means that as outsourcing increases, and it’s not just India – look for China, the Philippines, and even Vietnam – the need for Project Managers and Business Analysts increases. Architects, Project Managers and Business Analysts are in increasing demand as outsourcing is more prevalent. Architects because design needs to be in-house in order to maintain interoperability with other systems, technical oversight and technical strategy, Project Managers because you need control of the project in-house and Business Analysts because an organization needs to define it’s own projects."

2. What is the one skill or characteristic that you find most lacking in candidates you interview?

"Business skills are most often lacking in technology candidates. The technology supports the needs of the business, just like marketing, selling, finance, etc… The more business skills (analysis, strategic thinking, innovation, financial knowledge, etc…) one possesses the better decisions one will make for the good of this business."

3. What strategy would you suggest to someone who wants to gain experience when just starting out?

"Look to gain skills that bring you closer to customer needs. Go on sales calls, learn about the market, strive to understand the customers and how they use your products and/or services."

Final Thought: "Business needs drive technology requirements. Knowledge of business, customers and markets will separate you from other technology candidates. The most in-demand Web technology professionals will deliver a 'value proposition', not just a 'wow factor.'"

Thanks Dean for providing our readers with a business perspective on how technology professionals can focus their energies by learning non-technical skills that add value to an organization.