Career advice: Moving to the public sector

Premier 100 IT Leader Robert Krestakos also answers questions on certifications and acting on suspicions

Steelcase CIO Robert Krestakos Ask a Premier 100 IT LeaderRobert Krestakos Title: CIOCompany: Steelcase

Krestakos is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to

What does it take for someone who has been consulting to the public sector in the area of project management to move into the private sector? Project management, by its nature, translates pretty well from the public to private sector, so you have the advantage of having transferrable skills. What may be very helpful for you is to get solid representation from a placement agency or a recruiter. Recruiters are frequently used in the private sector, with the fee for the agency usually paid by the hiring company. Two suggestions if you decide to go this route: First, find someone who represents you to multiple employers and has a strong network of contacts that can help you get access to as many potential employers as possible. Second, select someone that gets to know you as much as possible and can also be a good adviser for you on finding the company that is the best possible cultural fit for you.

Given limited time and money, are certifications an effective way to give your career a boost? Certifications can be an effective way to boost a career, for a few reasons. There are too many certifications to list here, but many certification programs are quite highly regarded, and being able to place one of them on your resume could definitely accelerate your career. You get the best value from the better-known and better-regarded certification programs in the various sectors of the technology industry. And there are other considerations. As the leader of an IT organization, I highly value people who build breadth across multiple disciplines. In other words, if you're in one technical discipline, such as database administration, consider a certification that takes you into a new area, such as network design.

Another benefit from a certification can be the opportunity to build your social network by interacting with other students in the class. And you should also look for insights from your classmates that you can bring back to your own company. That can prove to be a bigger career boost than the certification itself.

I strongly suspect a particular help desk technician of being behind a string of petty thefts in our offices. I'm not a manager myself. What should I do? You need to be cautious and make sure you get the right parties involved. You should have a talk with your immediate manager and voice your concerns. If you're not comfortable naming the person you suspect directly, point your manager in the right direction and ask him or her to loosecurity department, you should consider getting it involved also; if not, you might want to turn to the Legal or HR department. But by no means should you confront your co-worker yourself in any way.

Read more about it careers in Computerworld's IT Careers Topic Center.

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