Episode 211 – Broaden your Horizons and Stay Flexible with Paul Boag

 In Podcasts

Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Paul Boag. He is a leader in digital transformation and user experience design thinking. Through consultancy and training, he helps organisations make better use of technologies.

He is also author of five books including “Digital Adaptation” and “User Experience Revolution” as well as being a speaker on user experience design and digital transformation.

In this episode, Phil and Paul Boag discuss the importance of taking a multi-disciplinary approach to what you do. Paul repeatedly provides examples of how to do this and demonstrates the positive impact it can have on your career.

They also talk about the evolution of machine learning and AI. Paul explains how soft skills, being a good salesperson and staying flexible have helped his career.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

(5.17) TOP CAREER TIP

Broaden your horizons; think outside of your immediate discipline. When you familiarise yourself with other tech and areas of business, communicating and working collaboratively becomes easier. You end up with the knowledge and vocabulary you need to understand and be understood better by others. In the podcast, Paul and Phil discuss how to do this without becoming overwhelmed.

Being a generalist is not a bad thing. For example, Paul specialises in UX, but can still write code. This enables him to understand the principles used to create the systems he is working on.

 

(8.43) WORST CAREER MOMENT

During the 90s Paul worked at a .com. When it looked like it was about to go bust, the senior management decided to turn it into an agency. They came up with a list of people to offer jobs to. But, they did this without consulting the staff. That clandestine approach caused a tremendous amount of hurt. Surprisingly, even for those that got a job out of that process.

This negative experience taught Paul the importance of being open and transparent with his staff. He is now a far more empathetic person.

 

(12.10) CAREER HIGHLIGHT

Paul’s career highlight was helping a frozen ready meals firm grow their e-commerce sales by several thousand percentage points. They specialised in delivering these meals to elderly customers. Paul provides several examples of why this project turned out to be so exciting and interesting to work on.

During this section, he clearly demonstrates why you need to think beyond your discipline if you want to become a truly successful IT professional

 

(16.38) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T

Paul loves the way you get hired to do one thing, only to find that a couple of weeks later the job changes and you are doing something completely different. It is very exciting especially for the creative people who work in IT.

 

(19.29) THE REVEAL

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Nothing, because Paul does not actually see himself as an IT professional. You can find out why by listening to the podcast.

What’s the best career advice you received? – Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – Don’t stop working, never stop hustling. Paul explains how this advice led to his burning out, during the .com boom.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Paul would focus on developing smart devices. He is particularly interested in enabling users to interface invisibly with the technology.

What are your current career objectives? – Paul wants to build longer-term relationships with some of his clients.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? – The ability to sell, being able to sell ideas, himself and his vision.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Interacting with other people. Learning from and teaching them.

What do you do away from technology? – Paul likes to travel.

 

(26.12) FINAL CAREER TIP

Stay flexible. You never know where new technology will take your career.

 

BEST MOMENTS

(5.19) – Paul – “Think outside of your immediate discipline, this will turn you into a better collaborator.”

(10.06) – Paul – “Be honest and transparent with your staff. The clandestine approach always causes untold damage.”

(21.29) – Paul – “Get the work-life balance right, if you don’t you will soon burn out.”

(27.09) – Paul – “Stay flexible. Careers never go in the direction you expect, so you need to be prepared to adapt.”

(27.18) – Paul – “Focus on those soft skills as much as possible. Your collaborative and business skills are the ones that stand the test of time. ”

 

ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.

 

CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philtechcareer

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/philburgess

Facebook: https://facebook.com/philtechcareer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/philtechcareer

Website: https://itcareerenergizer.com/contact

Phil is also reachable by email at [email protected] and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com

Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer

ABOUT THE GUEST – PAUL BOAG

Paul Boag is a leader in digital transformation and user experience design thinking. Through consultancy and training, he helps organisations make better use of technologies.

He is also author of five books including “Digital Adaptation” and “User Experience Revolution” as well as being a speaker on user experience design and digital transformation.

 

CONTACT THE GUEST – PAUL BOAG

Paul Boag can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/boagworld

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulboag

Website: http://boagworld.com

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