hard-to-replace talent in financial IT: tech^dnlg^mgmt@@ #GS

What’s valuable and hard to replace in financial IT? Is it

1) technical know-how or
2) management skill or
3) domain knowledge?

I feel managers usually earn more salary. The more hands-off, the more salary. Problem is the political skill required, which I don’t have. Leadership is a combination of technical, domain knowledge and ….what I call people skill.

Technical and domain knowledge is real “knowledge”. These are like history or geography knowledge — if you know it, then everyone agrees you know it. If you don’t know it, you can’t pretend for too long (like Emperor’s new dress). As you can sense, I’m a big fan of tech and domain knowledge.

In GS, tech know-how is considered easily replaced. Find a fast learner. Throw him into the water and he becomes an expert in 6 – 12 months. I took 1.5 years. In other I-banks, tech know-how helps you keep your job. If you are the only system expert then employer won’t touch you.

In GS (my department) , 2) and 3) make a valuable combination. They feel such a person is hard to find. If necessary they would keep such a “manager” and replace all the hands-on developers under him. They believe this manager can then train up a new crop of developers.

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