Steve Rubinow, CIO at Thomson Reuters, concluded this after assessing his career path.
Rubinow started as a university professor with a PhD in chemistry, and worked in a succession of business technology executive roles in food manufacturing, car rental and finance.
“These are all totally different industries,” he says. “You know what? I am in the information business. What I do is make sure information gets from point A to point B. As we consume it, we store it properly. Those principles are very similar from industry to industry.”
Rubinow decided to shift from the academe and hard sciences when he was in graduate school.
“Everyone knew how to use a computer,” he says. “I thought that if I focused more on IT and less on chemistry, my career opportunities might be broader because every company uses information technology and not every company uses chemistry.”
As a chemistry major, he studied the scientific method, advanced analysis and problem solving. “These are skills needed in every company, so I started to steer in that direction.”
There is always so much you can do to determine your career.
A job that combined chemistry and IT, like working for a chemical or pharmaceutical company, was the objective. “Of course it did not work out that way,” says Rubinow. “I never worked for a chemistry company.”
Rubinow regularly conducts a “skills inventory” of himself. “What can I offer a potential employer in terms of general skills? What is less in demand these days? What is most in demand? I am constantly in marketing mode, thinking of my personal brand,” he says. “I have been doing that for many, many years.”
Related: The brand called CIO“CIOs who don't create their own personal brand will have one created for them by peers and users… and it may be less than flattering,” says Marcus Darbyshire of Gartner.
An experience in graduate school cemented this perspective.
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