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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default To switch career fields or not? (Federal Service)

    Hello all,

    I currently am in a IT Specialist (INFOSEC) position, working as a IA employee. I have 1.5 years of federal service, not counting 4 as military prior to this as well as 4 years as a contractor in-between the two. I'm currently a GS 13. I have an opportunity to make a lateral move and switch competencies into a Project Management billet. I've been working for the past year as an IA employee but also serving as the PM on a few projects and I'm being offered the opportunity to make the change to the PM role officially.

    I'm torn on what to do, I fee like the PM role could potentially have more upward mobility with my organization or even others but I also know that the IA career field is thriving and a great place to be, especially in the Federal Government. I have a BS in IT and an MBA and I was even planning to begin my doctorate in IA in the spring of 17.

    Any thoughts on if making this move would be wise or not in terms of long term career potential? I have many years of service ahead of me so I want to make a wise decision.
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  3. Member CyberSecurity's Avatar
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    #2
    I'm almost in the same boat as you and looking at where you go to school, we may know each other considering the location and our careers. I'm a former 6 year navy vet, working IA as a contractor for the past 2 years, and about to take a gov position I've initially turned down a few times before. Taking it now even though it's a pay cut due to the long term benefits.

    My opinion would be to stay federal since you plan on obtaining your doctorate. I've seen a few GS-15's with their doctorates be offered SES positions so it's only a matter of time before you're in that boat. However on the other side of things, the PM position could easily be better than staying gov but seeing the PM's I work for (Overworked and stressing all the time trying to keep the customer happy), i'd say the best bet would be to look for another gov position if you are getting bored. I'm sure you're competitive enough for a gs-14 position as a pm somewhere.
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  4. Went to the dark side.... Moderator networker050184's Avatar
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    #3
    I think you'll have plenty career opportunities either way so probably not a big deciding factor there. What do you enjoy more? Do what you love!
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    If you are going to get a PhD in IA...why would you switch out of your field? If you strongly want to switch into PM, I would STRONGLY reconsider going back to school.

    Also, PMs are sort of that dime a dozen but IA and cyber require specific skill sets.
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  6. Senior Member Cyberscum's Avatar
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    #5
    PM with INFOSEC is a great and rare combo. I say switch to PM and get your PMP.

    Is the PM still IT sector, if not I would stay IT but that's just me. PM work can be stressful and if its a project that your not interested in it makes it that much worse.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TechGuru80 View Post
    PMs are sort of that dime a dozen but IA and cyber require specific skill sets.
    Exactly

    PM's tell people what to do who know how to do the job. PM is extremely overrated.

    This is the classic case of the pop singer wanting to be an actor and the actor wanting to be a pop singer.
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  8. Senior Member
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    #7
    TechGuru - You nailed it in terms of IA and Cyber requiring more specific skills and it is in more demand that's why I am apprehensive to switch, especially since I was even planning to begin an Doctorate in IA/Cyber

    Cyberscum - I already have my PMP.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Doing both roles now I can say they both have perks and drawbacks. PM you get a lot of FaceTime with the customer, visibility within my organizational leadership, get to work on releases and see things completed. IA can be interesting and exciting because of how it is constantly evolving but aspects of it can be very dry too such as validating STIG's on countless systems over and over..

    It is matter of weighing which one I enjoy more and which one I feel will allow for more upward mobility long term within my organization and the DoD, since I have 20+ years of service ahead of me still.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    ZX bottom line is that you are happy and are going in the direction you want to. Who cares about us....

    With that said I would rather just be a manager rather than a PM, at least in my organization. More stability, pay, bonus and usually manager and senior manager in our organization allows you to manage folk while performing the work. They don't look kindly on non working managers unless they are director our higher, at that point you are more strategic / tactical.
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  10. Senior Member
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    #9
    As a project manager, you'll have a lot more upward mobility. And when you retire from the GS position in 20-30 years, you'll have that management experience that could enable you to land a CTO position in the private sector. As a tech, you can only go so far. Management is where the real money is at.

    But ultimately, it comes down to which you will be happier doing. Personally, I would stick with the tech position, because I wouldn't enjoy having to talk with people all day long. I'm much happier just putting my head down and doing my work. But everyone is different.
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  11. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #10
    Another vote for project manager position. With your credentials and pursing your DSc you need to get out of a specialist position and into management. Unless of course you desire the technical aspect more than management Another word of advice is to keep all your options open (even private industry).
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  12. Senior Member Moon Child's Avatar
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    #11
    I would stay federal. My father worked for the government doing Accounting for years. Great pension, great union, got seniority pay raises, excellent job security.

    I would love to have a Government iT job one day, your a lucky guy. My father I think was like GS 13 doing Accounting.
    ... the world seems full of good men--even if there are monsters in it. - Bram Stoker, Dracula
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