Six Challenges for Working in Corporate IT

I love Tech Twitter. It’s why I’ve stuck with Twitter for more than 15 years. The resources generously shared by my fellow software developers and engineering managers help me learn, grow, and stay current in the industry.

However, Tech Twitter covers the latest technologies, startups, and young fresh companies. I work in corporate IT, and Tech Twitter doesn’t comment too much about life in regular businesses.

I find working for a business unit extremely rewarding. There’s nothing better than rolling out a system and solving problems for our business partners.

Here are six things a developer needs to understand for success in corporate IT.

You have to be okay working with legacy code

Every company has tired old legacy code. When I started my career, I had to maintain code written in COBOL and RPG III. At my current company, we support undocumented Lotus Notes databases. Everyone dips their toes in the legacy code so everyone can dip their toes in the new stuff.

You have to be okay with interruptions from operations

Help desk support tickets are a fact of life for any production system. You need to understand that supporting the business means stopping greenfield development and fixing production bugs.

You have to be okay with meetings

Corporate IT answers to the business. The business needs to explain its needs, and that happens in meetings.

You have to be okay with delays

Every IT person is stretched thin with their volume of work, and functional teams don’t prioritize projects the same way. Your blocker is a low priority on another team’s to-do list. That means you wait until others can help resolve your issue.

You have to be okay with buying off-the-shelf

Executive leadership knows the track record of IT. Despite how much we’d love to write that fantastic tool ourselves, there’s a strong business case for purchasing existing applications.

You have to be okay with learning on your own

Training for every part of your job won’t happen in corporate IT. Undocumented systems designed by people who left the company years ago are yours to understand. You must have a sense of adventure and self-learning to find your way around those systems.

Written on March 7, 2022