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A Formal Education Equals a Good Manager?

publicado por Garrett O'Brien

In an article in Brazil’s O Globo, titled Bons gestores de TI são uma raridade no mercado, Fláviá Rodrigues notes the lack of good IT managers and points to the colleges beefing up their curriculum to accommodate the demand. The shortage is accounting for a loss of $45 billion to the Brazilian economy ($US 26.45 million).

According to Case Technologies, the account for the shortage is…

  • The IT market is still not widely known in Brazil
  • Many in computer science and IT are dropping out early as they can start making a geed paycheck rather quickly but in the long run, find themselves lacking enough skills
  • Lack of a foreign language skills, especially English

They also mention there is also the matter that technology basically changes frequently (which is almost every 18-24 months)…

One of my colleagues in Brasil Marco Ribeiro notes “that business schools are not able to train good managers, as even to many of our area and there will always be the eternal dichotomy vs. technology business, unfortunately. It seems that (is) an ‘arm-twisting.’ If anyone ever understands that the dichotomy does not exist, then you will see good managers.

He continues, “In the article Mr. Luiz Felipe Castro said: ‘I have interviewed IT managers who earned R$6.000 (US$3.545) and had not completed higher education.’ Is that (because) he thinks (this is) too much?? Ownership does not qualify the manager, but background and experience. Contrary to what he quotes, many of our colleagues have masters, PhD or MBA and not always result in good managers.”

Marco has some good points. But I feel we need to broaden this view by stepping back a little more. Discernment — and lack of discernment — differentiates the wisdom each of us has (or doesn’t have). We all know very wise children of 7 years and fools of 50, 60, 70 years…. Background and experience is only part of the equation, discernment another, education yet a third, innovation and will power yet more. A good car mechanic does not make a good car driver – just because someone knows the intricacies of IT, does not mean he or she can manage a department, or be a good project manager. Good mangers, in general, happen to be very good not only with the subject matter but with people as well as with discernment. These are not skills usually learned in any college – some may learn these skill with community involvement within the college community but this the exception more than the rule.

Myself, I have had more than 40 clients in the last 19 years – some clients I worked with for only a few weeks while some had retained my services for a few years. Many times I am sought to provide clarity and leadership to an HRIS project. My education? Have completed 2 years of college — in economics, not IT. Yet, many times, I will find myself standing in front of a group of executives and directors, all have advanced degrees and they are seeking my experience, knowledge, innovations and wisdom on the complexities of their implementations. This is NOT to condemn any education — but to say I do give everything I do everything I have. This also provides a point that education can only go so far – it cannot condition the thinking process beyond the classroom, cannot provide experience, can provide only minimal real-life situations at best, cannot teach you the skills needed to deal with people effectively, cannot teach to think outside the norm, and cannot teach discernment beyond the text book. The person has to have a desire, will power, and a vision in order to overcome anything – it is the basis of every successful endeavor. What many people do not realize is that 80% of the companies now on the Fortune 500 were started by someone that had a dream and an education that many would consider lacking. The most infamous in the past 35 years is Microsoft – both Paul Allen and Bill Gates left college to start a small company based on a dream to have a computer in every home, that company is now known as Microsoft.

As well intentioned is the article of Fláviá Rodrigues, a better look at the desires of the workers as well as the market is needed. The dynamics of any industry cannot be isolated to one contributory cause of failure – and when in very dynamic times as Brazil is now, seeking a solution does require thinking outside the box. For any field of endeavor, the lack of resources is not necessarily the result of official training. The willingness to allow innovation as well as provide a work environment that is more compelling to remain than to leave is vital to retaining a workforce. If a person is not compelled to stay, does not matter what your education — you will leave. If compelled to stay, the employee — and depending on the fertility of the environment – and all within the company will prosper.

The article does note some reasons why many leave. But as I usually say in a circumstance like this: you can’t fix a flat tire from inside the car, you need to get out of the car. Many times I have seen executives and managers approach a business problem by trying to resolve it from inside the car — the scary thing? They think they are outside the car!

Any market can create an attraction to bring more resources into it – to keep a healthy workforce, the market also needs to learn to compel those resources to remain, rather than go someplace else. If students are enticed by the concept of making a quick dollar and leaving classes too soon – maybe students that have returned could educate his classmates that, as green as it may appear on the other side of the fence, it is only because you haven’t seen the dung that keeps it green.

As to the 3 items Case Technology notes, here are my own thoughts – and I would be more than happy to hear from anyone for their views as well (I understand Portuguese, just not at a level yet to write properly)…

  • The IT market is still not widely known in Brazil – promoting an interest in the IT market through marketing and advertising is the best means to overcome any unknown by playing on dreams and visions of a better future.
  • Many in computer science and IT are dropping out early – would not returning students would be a wealth of experience and wisdom for keeping students in classes until completed properly? Students are anxious and ready to move forward, sometimes can be like trying to restrain a dog that has seen a cat. Technology students and teachers alike have to be taught to think exponentially not linearly, which also means teaching methods for technology must change as well.
    • Students need to realize that the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years, and translate this into something they can relate to…
      • List 10 in-demand jobs of this year that did not even exist 6 years ago…
      • Inform them that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study…
      • Most students entering college were just born when the first text message was sent – today more messages are sent in one day than there are people on earth…
      • Globally, this year along we will generate more information than we have in the past 5.000 years
    • Teacher have to realize we are preparing students –
      • for jobs that don’t yet exist…
      • to use technologies that haven’t been invented yet…
      • to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet
  • Lack of a foreign language skills, especially English – I believe this is already being addressed in the schools, especially English as a necessary second language? But no one can wait for a 12 year child to gain competition in the market now… Are the Universities and Colleges including this language necessity? If not, there is much value being lost and is more expensive to Brazil NOT to have this in the curriculums than it is to have in the curriculums of the Universities and Colleges. Proficiency does take a few years and fluency several years – unless highly gifted… This also creates a high demand for translators until the coming generation has mastered English. Reaching outside of Brazil for Portuguese speaking resources that also speak English is an option but not very lucrative, doesn’t means it is impossible. Maybe a collaboration with reputable international recruiting agencies such as Michael Page and Robert Half Technology would be beneficial???

To end this posting, want to present video that talks about convergence, globally… Everything in this video is verifiable through source documents at most major libraries… The creators of this video are Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Jeff Brenman. All 3 have been highly involved in educating our technology educators. Dr. Scott McLeod’s group, Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) is the ONLY professional group in the USA that is focusing on educating our education administrators (teachers) in teaching students for tomorrow. Maybe this will provide some ideas to assist the brain drain created by students leaving too early in this education process? Feel free to contact me for more information….


Garrett O'Brien é consultado por implementações SIRH pelas empresas e as empresas (Fortune 100, 500 e 1000) desde 1991. Seus clientes anteriores incluem Lubrizol, ADP, Case New Holland, a Cushman & Wakefield, MAHLE, Honeywell International, Sodexho, e muitos outros localizados em os EUA Garrett é • Editor e escritor de 4 blogs mundiais focada em SIRH e gerenciamento de projetos, que são lidos em 160+ países • Exec VP para EUA CGServices enfocando multi-fornecedor, o sistema de multi-linha para sistemas HRIS • membro do Conselho de Gerson Lehrman Group Conselho, o que ajuda a instituições dos líderes mundiais se reunirem, engajar e gerenciar os especialistas em uma ampla gama de setores e disciplinas. Garrett se concentra em SIRH global Garrett está trabalhando em alguns projetos em Brasil. Um deles é focando as melhorias necessárias na gestão de projetos, especialmente as fases mais iniciais. O outro projeto se concentra no uso de tecnologia dentro do sistema de ensino para melhorar a educação de tecnologia para estudantes e professores. Ambos os projetos serão locais no Brasil, mas será global em perspectiva. Atualmente, o Sr. O'Brien reside em o estado de São Paulo e funciona a partir de Home Office. Não hesite em contactar-lo diretamente no LinkedIn ( ou por e-mail ( twitter: @thehrisworld @hriscareerworld @thw_research @thwrn_news

Garrett O'Brien



  • Hi Garrett,

    Great article, very significant !


    • Obrigado Alex!

      Aprecie seus artigos sobre risco e segurança. bom trabalho!

      um abraço

  • Hi, Garret,
    Congratulations for the article. Translates and should be teaching in the area of technology. Managers need concept and also of talent.
    I wrote a few posts around the same theme. if you want to read:

    The most was the part where you said that teachers must be prepared to teach students for tomorrow.


    • Obrigado Alexandre!

      Fico feliz que você encontrou o valor neste artigo!

      Não tenha lido seus artigos – ainda!!!… Vai dar-lhes uma leitura muito breve…

      Os professores devem estar mais avançados na sua aprendizagem com a tecnologia, mas não são, infelizmente. Pode explicar a expansão das escolas focadas principalmente no computador e usando o software?

      um abraço

    • Garret,
      Gostei muito sim. Vou pesquisar sobre o assunto (ensino utilizando computador e software) vejo que isso não é muito disseminado no Brasil e quando é, tem muita politização e pouco resultado para os mais interessados (estudantes: jovens,adolescentes) não agrega muito valor ao conhecimento. Faço parte de uma organização não governamental que é engajada no ensino de jovens e adultos ( a proposta é promover a igualdade de oportunidades e um dos projetos é justamente este, oferecer acesso à tecnologia agregando valor e preparando para o futuro. Falta patrocínio, mas, vamos chegar lá, quando esse assunto (educação) for melhor entendido e entrar na pauta da sociedade brasileira.


    • Alexandre,
      eu gostaria de ter mais informações sobre esta organização. Você tem um link ou algum outro material para me enviar?
      Sugiro também que você divulgue este material para toda a rede do TI Especialistas (me desculpe caso já o tenha feito), mas acho que pode conseguir ajuda com esta divulgação do projeto.
      abç, Mônica Evelise

    • Mônica, obrigado pela dica, eu não fiz ainda porque achei que seria inadequado em um site de tecnologia, vou lançar um artigo sobre responsabilidade social e trabalho voluntário. Eu atuo nesta organização desde 2006 como diretor de tecnologia. É uma organização simples, que recebe recursos da prefeitura de uma pequena cidade do interior de SP. Hoje, dependemos da verba da prefeitura, mas, a idéia é agregar patrocinadores ao projeto e desenvolver um centro de referência da juventude, preparando os jovens para o futuro. Como o Garrett citou. A idéia é a mesma dele, ensinar para o Futuro. caso queira me enviar e-mail ( podemos conversar mais sobre o projeto, a fundadora e idealizadora do projeto chama-se Ana Silvia, eu fui aluno do projeto e quando conheci achei que seria a chance de fazer um trabalho social voluntário, me engajei na causa.
      Escreva-me por email para conversamos mais.

  • Garret,

    I loved the article and have pretty much the same mind in many aspects of it. No matter how much the formal education evolves, there will always be a lack of knowledge, but more important than that for me is this section of the article:

    “This also provides a point that education can only go so far – it cannot condition the thinking process beyond the classroom, cannot provide experience, can provide only minimal real-life situations at best, cannot teach you the skills needed to deal with people effectively, cannot teach to think outside the norm, and cannot teach discernment beyond the text book.”

    I would like to add something more to it:
    No classroom will provide you with the emotional maturity that comes with time and experience. For this you cannot have jumps…

    Best Regards,
    Mônica Evelise

    • Great article!!!!!!!!!!
      Marco Ribeiro is a great professional, and is very nice to see some of his ideas developed here!
      Best regards,

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