HU’s Government Technology Institute turns IT professionals into leaders
Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s Government Technology Institute (GTI) rewires IT professionals.
IT professionals are “wired” for technology. But the same professionals often need rewired when they are promoted to management positions.
No matter how tech savvy IT professionals are, the most capable IT employees – and their organizations — benefit significantly by investing in their employees’ leadership and interpersonal skills needed to succeed in management. That’s why Harrisburg University’s GTI has been educating, or “rewiring,” IT leaders since 2011.
“Most people in IT leadership positions are very capable and are in tune with technology. But, many haven’t been provided education on the fact that, in leadership positions, it’s less about technology — and more about communication and interpersonal skills,” said GTI Director Charlie Gerhards. “We emphasize that an IT Manager’s role is different than a technologist’s role. It’s less about servers, and more about people.”
The only one of its kind in Pennsylvania — the GTI offers Chief Information Officer and IT Manager Certificate Programs to enhance the management skills of IT professionals working in the public and private sectors. The Institute also presents numerous technology summits and seminars at HU throughout the year.
On June 9, 35 IT professionals graduated from the GTI’s IT Manager Certificate Program. The graduates joined more than 200 GTI alumni. With support from partners, such as Accenture, Deloitte, KPMG, Unisys, Cisco, and vmware, HU professors and industry experts helped mold participants into IT leaders.
For two days a month during the past 10 months, participants of the IT Managers Program learned what it takes to effectively manage an IT department, while working together on a cumulative capstone project together. This year’s project involved an open data and data analytics study to benefit the city of Harrisburg.
Graduate Howard Eckman said he noticed the program naturally shifted his thought process.
“Your brain starts to be rewired in a way, where in your engagements with other people, you start to steer toward things we discussed and worked on here over the past 10 months,” said Eckman, who spoke to fellow graduates June 9. “If you are engaged and in tune with what is going on, you will walk away with the tools you need to succeed.”
Participants hold high-ranking IT management positions within various state agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Education, State Police and Office of Administration.
GTI alums include Rosa Lara, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Jim Weaver, Pennsylvania’s Chief Technology Officer and Erik Avakian, Chief Information Security Officer.
Others include school district, county and other municipal IT leaders. And more professionals from private industry also are enrolling in the program, which HU President Dr. Eric Darr said pulls the best from its participants.
Graduates walk away from the program with a unique skill set, but they also face great responsibility, Darr said.
“You’ve joined an elite group of graduates whose number only will continue to grow. It’s an alumni base that has great respect, but also great responsibilities. Continue to give back to the program, and those around you,” he urged graduates on June 9. “Today is about celebrating you. Next week, it will be about what you can do for others.”