What skills should i get to start?


im a system administrator and have some ideas and small amount of money to spare.
Despite i am a tech guy, i actually have a problems learning programming(trying a few times with deplhi then with python). I understanding the basics like OOP, logic constructions and data handling, frameworks, can write a simple shell and python scripts etc. but just can't apply it to real world and honestly doesnt enjoy it. As a kid i am always been more interested in liberal arts so may be i just choose a wrong career.

So right now i just give up with programming and looking for skills i need to successfully manage a remote team. Obviously i should learn project management, HR skills, sales, marketing.
Recently i am figured out i dont enjoy administration anymore(5 yrs of experience) and more interested in management. I like technology field and won't leave it so i just trying to get a job as sales in IT company to a get a hands-on experience in selling IT stuff. Should i abandon technical skills(as we know they expire very fast) and move completely to learning management? What should i learn? Is it wise to leave a tech job and become a sales for example?

Any recommendation appreciated. I am from Russia, so only internet considered as valuable source for learning.

Sales Management Learning Skill

asked Sep 24 '10 at 00:15
8 points
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6 Answers


Management courses are designed to train middle management in large companies, they offer very little value for somebody who want to found a startup.

This goes for most of the skills you listed, you'll probably have a team of less than 10 (probably more like 3-5) people when you start - you don't need HR skills to manage 10 people, you also don't need much project management if those are smart people who can get things done (and if they are not you will fail anyway).

Sales and marketing are highly important, but the exact nature of those skills is completely different between fields (example: for a $40 software product sold on-line those are mostly SEO/SEM and maybe social media, for a $4,000,000 product it will be "traditional" salespeople who "hunt down" potential customers).

So my advice is - if you really want to do your own thing just do it, it will be difficult, it will be stressful and you will feel like you don't know what you are doing (but there's nothing you can do about it) - just keep your expenses to a minimum and be ready to change plans if your first idea doesn't work.

On the other hand, if you aren't very motivated to do your own thing and you just want a management job - try to get a management job at a large company, you will not have the motivation to "suffer" all the hardship of running a startup if all you want is a management job.

answered Sep 26 '10 at 20:19
1,569 points
  • Nice answer, +1 – Rem 13 years ago
  • I agree. My main concern is i can't leave my job because i have bills to pay and don't have much money to hire a few full-time people. So right now i trying to get experience that would be useful in startup(preferably switching my career in those fields and work for sometime as sales or project manager for example) and hire on outsource someone to do the actual job with my savings i can risk and my free time. Getting VC funded or get a loan from a bank is hard in my country(high interest rate and stupid demands from "VCs" such as profitability and 51% in company). – Coolface 13 years ago
  • @Andrew - I've started a software company alone while working a full time job (I work on my company nights and weekends) and I can tell you that most of what I learned about selling software before starting is irrelevant, highly exaggerated, lacks important details or just plain wrong - you can learn more in one month of doing than in a year of learning (also, the correct thing to do in a small company is often the opposite than in a large one), so, if you want to start a company - just do it - but it will cost more then you think and be profitable later then planned - so have some reserves – Nir 13 years ago
  • @Nir - Are you tech or business guy? Who is more important as one man startup? Right now i have serious dilemma: from one standpoint i am a tech guy but don't enjoy it anymore at least as sysadmin and lost motivation to learn more about tech stuff. And from other standpoint i am as most tech workers is introvert and not sure how good i can work with people but i'd like to try. Also if i want to switch my career to non-tech stuff it would lead to smaller paycheck(as a base salary) and smaller money i can spend on my startup. – Coolface 13 years ago
  • If i wouldn't learn more about tech stuff i became outdated and can't get a work then but right now i am studying mostly business stuff. So this is also a career dilemma too because as i say before i can't leave my job. – Coolface 13 years ago
  • @Andrew - I'm a software developer, if I were you I would try to outsource or use freelancers to create the product (no employees, no expenses you can't stop and since you are a tech guy you can evaluate the results they give you) and concentrate on marketing (put up a web site, drive traffic to that site, convince those people to buy). – Nir 13 years ago


I just started to read "The E-Myth Revisited" http://www.amazon.com/E-Myth-Revisited-Small-Businesses-About/dp/0887307280/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285346818&sr=8-1 Which kinda deals with exactly this topic. How to start a business as a tech-guy. It is very interesting to read.

answered Sep 25 '10 at 02:20
Dennis Kempin
121 points
  • great! Thanks for the book. – Coolface 13 years ago
  • +1 I read this too and it was a great help. – Joe Doyle 13 years ago


What skills should i get to start? 1) The single most critical skill, IMO, is time-management combined with advanced 'power-user' computer skills.

  • Are you using AutoHotKey (or any macro program) to make everyday tasks easy and automatic?

2) I enjoy programming, and agree with you that it is not for everyone. In addition to management have you started to learn Internet marketing?

  • Dive into social networks, but NOT just because everyone else is.
Good Advice = You could focus (every day) on developing your unique ideas, and
doing original things that you truly enjoy. :o)
answered Sep 26 '10 at 13:49
This Is Fun
41 points
  • 1)I actually don't believe in time-management.Read some books about it but just don't get it. Though i am young and my job leave me a plenty of free time so maybe it's just for now. I don't use any automation tools because i don't have anything to automate actually. I spend most time just reading and rarely work from home, but i can say i am a power user and use scripting at work. 2)Not now but surely plan to. Right now i need to focus on one thing at time and this would be project management. Thanks. – Coolface 13 years ago


I think it's a great idea to try out a sales job to get some new experience. You also might look at a pre-sales engineer job, too, since it is a type of sales job, but leverages technical skills as well.

answered Sep 26 '10 at 15:37
659 points
  • Thanks, that's exactly i am trying to do for now! – Coolface 13 years ago


Andrew, If you have a clear idea for a Startup, then don't waste time on trying to acquire some skills before the start. Just do what should be done to start. Go That Way, Really Fast. You will learn a lot more this way. If you fail, you'll start again with more knowledge and experience. It is, if you want to start a business.

If you want to apply for a good job as an employee then yes, you should have certain skills beforehand to sell yourself successfully.

answered Sep 26 '10 at 19:41
352 points


This depends on what you want to start. So go take a basic business class to see if business is even interesting to you. There are many people that do well with technical skills, many that do well with other liberal arts skills. In my experience enjoying what you do for work is a key factor in personal success. I suggest though you read more on job boards and job descriptions rather than a site dedicated to starting a business unless you have questions around that.

answered Sep 24 '10 at 04:31
John Bogrand
2,210 points
  • I am interested in business for sure just right now i dont have proper ideas and lack of funding. So for now i cant leave my work, i just trying to switch a little to get experience that would be good for my future business and pay my bills. Also i looking for what i need to learn in my free time because i should learn more technical stuff to stay relevant in my position and in the same time i want dedicate more time to learn about management and business. Thanks for reply. – Coolface 13 years ago

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