Close your eyes and imagine if your top technical individual contributor within software infrastructure, cybersecurity, software development, and data center operations all came to you tomorrow and, each for his/her own reasons, gave notice that they were leaving your company. How would you feel?
Certainly, your IT organization would survive, but would it be a major loss in IT corporate knowledge, creativity, resilience, and operational capability? If your answer is yes, then you might want to consider new ways to motivate and retain these key technologists throughout their careers, including establishing an IT Technical Fellow career track.
What is a technical fellowship program?
The concept of “technical fellow” job titles for extraordinary and experienced technical professionals has been around for many years, typically for individuals working in the product/mission and R&D sides of their organizations. The IBM Fellows program, for example, was started in 1962 to promote creativity among the company’s “most exceptional” technical professionals and is granted in recognition of outstanding and sustained technical achievements and leadership in engineering, programming, services, science, design and technology. The Boeing Technical Fellowship program began in 1989, and these engineers and scientists help set Boeing technical direction. Microsoft, NASA, and Mitre, among others, also have these types of programs for their best and brightest technologists.