Being a Network Engineer: Better MGMT/leadership opportunities? Big-4 vs Telecom

Hi Guys:
I need some career counseling. Being a Network engineer, where do you think are better career opportunities (growth/training/perks/stability)?Big-4 vs Telecom industry vs Retail vs Banking?

I am already an established Network engineer with 10+ years of industry experience, 5 of them with an existing telecom giant. Just this year, started assessing my short and long term career goals, and felt passionate to transition to IT strategy roles. The process might take 3-5 years, provided I make the right moves with the right employer at the right time. I am 34 at the moment.

IT strategy means different to different sectors. Some focus more on business side of IT than the innovation aspect of it. But keeping role definition constant, what do you recommend?


*** Being a network engineer, does one have better chance of progressing into executive roles in the Telecom industry (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) or in the Big-4 (Deloitte/EY/KPMG/PwC)? Keep in mind, I am not looking for mid-life career change. I am not giving up my field, just trying to climb up the ladder, Engineer->IT management->IT Leadership. So, the objective is to follow a path to AD->Dir->VP->CTO->CIO.

I dont know how much value/visibility does a network engineer get at Big-4 as he/she might himself/herself be an expense to Big-4 who rely on revenue from Tax/consulting/audit. Will they let a NE transition to AD/Director role, or growth opportunities and better options are only limited to employees in tax/advisory, not in IT?

On the other hand, being a network engineer in the telecom industry, I feel, you are an integral player driving the profit/revenue, even though you are doing the same work as you would have done working at the Big-4. I feel, you are valued more here.

Dont you think, these varying degrees of importance and visibility also play a role in career growth and indirectly define how long, if ever, it would take to transition to a strategic role?

I dont think, one can land to a leadership role before getting management exposure/experience first. Authority, designation, people and Profit&Loss management seem more important over perks in the long run. But at this time, title with "manager" seems the next first step. I understand, one doesnt become a director overnight, and mostly its a gradual path;but what would you suggest should one accept if I get an offer of IT Manager with Big-4 vs an offer for the same role from Telecom? I dont want to take on a role blindly only to realize I am 2 step backwards now.

Thanks for your time and guidance!

Comments

  • dead_p00ldead_p00l Posts: 136Member
    Personally I have seen more growth potential in the telecom industry. I have friends who have excelled and shot up the ladder in the banking world. Big-4 and retail even though they seem stable I haven't seen a lot of potential for advancement. Probably not the counseling you were looking for just my observations from almost 20yrs in the industry.
    This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the
    beauty of the baud.
  • usman4673usman4673 Posts: 115Member
    dead_p00l wrote: »
    Personally I have seen more growth potential in the telecom industry. I have friends who have excelled and shot up the ladder in the banking world. Big-4 and retail even though they seem stable I haven't seen a lot of potential for advancement. Probably not the counseling you were looking for just my observations from almost 20yrs in the industry.

    Bud: Your input is very welcome. I am myself, kind of biased, in the favor of telecom, when it comes to transitioning of a network engineer into management and leadership roles. The the BIG ask is "transition of a network engineer into IT MGMT/leadership." Now the big question is "whether telecom sector supports an NE more than Big-4/Banking/etc for further advancement?"
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