Want to be a university CIO? Educause 'Pathways' website shows how

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The higher education IT group Educause launched a website this week that shows workers how to advance in their technology careers, whether they’re eying the C-suite or more-specialized roles at their institutions.

The “Pathways” tool lets users select from four career paths: information security, information technology, innovation and teaching and learning. The site’s pages are laid out by early, mid and advanced-level career stages, each listing sample positions and salaries. Pathways explain at each career stage which skills workers should prioritize, like project management or technical certifications.

The site offers a long-term view for new workers, but is also designed so users can see where their experience might apply to a new opportunity in a different field, Educause Director of Professional Learning Veronica Diaz told EdScoop. When Educause recently surveyed higher education staff on reasons they might leave their position, 34% cited “branching out.”

“It’s not clean, there’s a lot of messiness and crossover, but I think that’s good for the professional to see all the different opportunities and options and what kinds of skills are available to them and things they maybe don’t get to do in their current roles but they would get to do in other areas,” Diaz said.

The site also includes links to professional development resources and job postings. Some members of the Educause community are serving as “mentors” for the pathways, ensuring information stays current.

Diaz said that originally Educause was going to name the pathways after the senior leadership IT roles at universities, like “chief information officer” — but not everybody wants to take on those roles.

“There’s a stigma if you’re looking at the CIO pathway and you don’t want that, you may not see yourself or identify with positions that are lower at earlier career levels,” she said. “Also compounding the problem is that there are some technical expertise areas within that pathway that pay very well and require very senior high level credentials and experience and some people want to become technical experts or technical leaders without becoming CIO.”