Gabriel John Schofield
Behind every great organization is a great IT leader. Gabriel John Schofield is that person at Symphony Asset Management, a boutique, cutting-edge capital investment management company situated within San Francisco’s booming technology and business scene. As director of application development, he is responsible for the daily development, integration and support of the firm’s operational and analytical systems. And when he’s not working with diverse professionals across his firm, Schofield is involved with industry groups that define and maintain financial messaging and data standards.
Q: What are the most satisfying or challenging aspects of working in the industry?
GJS: The pace of change can be relentless: clients have become more demanding as the distinction between business and consumer applications has blurred. At the same time, sectors like healthcare and financial services are grappling with increased regulation and the shift to the cloud, while the general ubiquity of data have created new privacy and security challenges.
Q: What might surprise people who are considering IT?
GJS: The degree of career specialization and the shifting demand for particular skills. To stay relevant, you need to take a lifelong approach to learning. I was able to earn multiple graduate degrees and certificates — in business and finance, not just IT — without interrupting my career.
Q: What makes for great IT leadership?
GJS: The ability to collaborate with business leaders, align IT goals with business objectives, facilitate interdisciplinary discussion and draw on a strong network of peers.
Q: Any advice from “the trenches,” so to speak?
GJS: Focus on business outcomes, always clarify assumptions that you make about business requirements, structure projects in order to deliver incremental business benefits, and communicate with your stakeholders frequently.
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t in IT?
GJS: I considered medicine, but the series of career decisions that led to IT seemed very natural. I’ve been lucky to enjoy an engaging, challenging and intellectually stimulating career.