Another career change question!

My Profile: IT Professional : Total experience 15 years, 10 years in IT department of a major global Bank Passed CFA level 1 in Dec’07, CFA level 2 candidate. I have 2 options, Option 1: Continue in IT career, till I passed all 3 levels of CFA (hopefully in 2009) and then try to get into a FO related job. Option 2: I have an option to transfer to a business area controlling job , where the job is to manage the projects mainly related to new products/systems rollout for global market areas. My question is does option 2 bring me nearer to my ultimate objective of a FO job. Please provide your valuable feedback

this is a tough one - 10 years is a long time to spend in IT if you don’t actually want to progress there. Best plan is to ask the deparments you’re aiming for the question directly. Don’t beat around the bush - ask them for specifics on what they are hiring and what you need to do to get from where you are now to where you want to be. You can talk to HR but best to talk to the guys in charge. You may already know them from your existing contacts in the bank. You will probably drop several rungs in salary, but if it’s what you really want then it can be worth it. Also, look carefully at your skill set - do you really have the drive, killer instinct, ability to think on your feet, ego, confidence, ability to bluff & bull s**t, etc to compete?. "FO"s a very broad term and covers a hundred differnt roles. Need to narrow it down to what you want. IT project dev & implementation is a long time frame business - methodical planning & implemtation over many months, but trading/dealing is a completely different game - 1 day is a long time. Nothing lasts for than a few days. A plan lasting more than a week is rare. Need constant results/feedback/wins every day or so. It’s a whole different world. So, if you are really cut our for that sort of environment, the fact that you haven’t committed suicide after 10 years in IT would ring alarm bells for me. If you are on the BA/process mgmt/QA/implementation/project mgmt side of IT, then the chances are probably slim. It’s just too big a change for someone to take you on as a trainee at your age - probably. Certainly in a big bank environment. If you are on the pure programming side then you might have some quant ideas which you can develop. Depends on your interests and how you can develop your ideas. Talk to the quants in your bank and see what they’re doing. One plan might be to jump ships - get out of the big bank and get into a smaller shop where roles aren’t so clearly defined. Much easier to switch deparments and pick up skills. I was a lending mgr at Citi and left to go to a much smaller shop and it changed my life - got into IB, running IPOs, VC deals, all sorts of things. Never looked back. Main thing is to talk to lots of people and narrow down what your real strenths and aims are. The right job is out there waiting for you - you just need to figure out what is right for your skills and needs… cheers…Sorry I can’t be of more help.

I 'd go with option I. That way you minimize the risk of failing the exams the way I see it. Once you have your charter you might get access to the internal job market (of that firm you’re with right now).