What's in an IT Manager's portfolio?
July 11, 2012 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: He's applying for a job with the title "IT Manager" and is asked to include a portfolio. What kind of portfolio does an IT Manager have?

We're both in IT and neither of us have ever had to supply this. The company is quirky and not IT-related, and I'm inclined to think its either a missed copy-paste, or some sort of "do you know how to have fun" test. We're stumped. IT Managers don't keep portfolios... do they?

(I've googled this and I'm having problems with the results because apparently "IT Portfolio Manager" is a thing.)
posted by Perthuz to Work & Money (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If the company is artsy, It's possible the job posting was mirrored after a non-IT job, and the language regarding a portfolio was included by mistake. I'd call HR and ask for clarification.
posted by politikitty at 1:35 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd call but maybe they expect you to take pictures after LARTing or of specific PEBKAC incidents.
posted by iamabot at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'll nth the 'work in IT, never heard of that'.
posted by anti social order at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2012

I guess they just want what you have done and your experience.I am an IT guy who actually has a Management of IT degree and has never heard of a portfolio for this position.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:48 PM on July 11, 2012

Best answer: As a practical matter, anything that could be in such a portfolio would be contracted work for hire for the friend's previous employers. In other words, it would be illegal, or at the very least questionable and unprofessional, for the friend to show it to the new employer since the friend don't own the rights to the work product.
posted by saeculorum at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2012

Best answer: I would ask. That could be anything from a mistake to a dumb personality test thing to actually wanting code samples or a list of past projects relevant to the job.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:09 PM on July 11, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all - the company is artsy, which is why I suspect a copypaste mistake. Because they are, I floated the idea that he could throw something funny together - soft-focus shots of the product on a bear skin in front of a roaring fire, or shots of him enjoying the product. Maybe a few handwritten haiku praising it. It's a great job for him and anything that might help him float to the top of the pool is a good idea.

Of course, that's also the sort of thinking that usually gets me in trouble. Thanks for the note about contracted work, saeculorum. I don't think it's his intent to share any of his previous work, but I'll make sure he knows.
posted by Perthuz at 2:09 PM on July 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm voting for paste-fart.
posted by rhizome at 3:43 PM on July 11, 2012

Best answer: Now that you say it is an art-related company, I'd conclude the same thing as others above. However, to me, an IT manager may not be the head of all technology in a company, but rather could be the top of a group which manage a suite of applications. (Often, these are arranged by business function.) So if I were to see that without context, I would interpret as an oddly-worded way to say "what business group/functional group of applications did you manage?"
posted by Metro Gnome at 7:11 PM on July 11, 2012

Best answer: For those who have worked the IT in creative industries the concept of providing a portfolio might not be entirely alien. For example, if you have worked at a company that does websites for marketing campaigns you might be able to feature several of those in which your work has contributed to the success of a project. I agree with those who say you should check to see if this is a mistake and ask them specifically about what they are looking for. If they do indeed want a portfolio approach then I would look to use a combination of an image and a descriptive paragraph to describe each piece of work. The description could probably be lifted from your resumé and the image could be a screenshot or something more abstract. As saeculorum suggests, I would be very careful not to violate the confidentiality of your previous clients/employers as you do this. If you worked on a document management system then you could show a picture of a library or a screenshot which shows just a couple of fields for example - no need to show what the finished product looked like.
posted by rongorongo at 12:19 AM on July 12, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. He's decided to get clarification, despite the my best efforts to get him to take stupid photos. If it turns out they genuinely want some sort of portfolio, I'll see about getting an a post in here for future searches.!
posted by Perthuz at 6:23 AM on July 12, 2012

If he's done some very complex cabling jobs (e.g. tidied up rats' nests or installed very neat cabling) he could include that too!

Dust bunnies are another thing to consider.
posted by titantoppler at 7:03 AM on July 12, 2012

Best answer: I work in IT and I keep a list of all the large problems I've solved or projects I've completed. I'm not very good at updating it, but I would call it a "portfolio," I suppose.

I'd be interested to hear how this turns out.
posted by MonsieurBon at 9:51 AM on July 12, 2012

Response by poster: Update: He called the HR department and asked. The reply was "A portfolio of your work", and pressing for detail or context was a dead-end. He ended up putting together a brief presentation describing some of his proudest work and included a couple personal projects relevant to the industry but not his direct line-of-work. I'll mark best answers as best I can. Hopefully the thread will still be open if he gets the position and I'll post another update then.
posted by Perthuz at 4:11 PM on July 16, 2012

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