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IT Know-how not enough for Future Workers

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Anticipating market shifts and their severe impact on IT careers and their evolution are a definite passion of mine.  This stems from my days as a college teacher as I always wanted to make sure my students were best prepared for the industry today and for the longer term. You don't want to be in a situation where BOOM! - no job or you are experiencing unsettling career uncertainty; sweating the changes. I know the feeling after the Dot Com bust. Have a look at the blog post with the Maria Klawe interview since she talks about some of this change but from an educational, global, and societal vantage point.

I've seen huge shifts over the course of my career-so there's dramatic market change and we work like crazy to keep up. Well there's a really profound one ***happening*** now that affects you as an IT professional. And this change will have lasting effects on your career and on the broad strokes in industry. We have to move from pure technology and adjust our focus to be very business centric and relationship oriented. It's becoming more about business process, strategy, governance, and compliance.  I don't believe that I'm he only one saying this, as I find this message supported in my interviews and travels.  Read my comment to John's post where the deep thinkers such as McFarlan are stating this case. See John's post

Are you and your team ready for this future vision? Are you putting the right career growth paths into place for yourself and your team? An interesting article in Silicon, quoting Gartner, signals the end of the "techie": http://management.silicon.com/careers/0,39024671,39154129,00.htm

I met with a senior IT manager, and she related how her job has changed significantly to a very business orientation, and expects this to continue. It was a bit shocking to her since her focus for so long has been very technical. In a discussion with another IT manager where I was asked for advice on his best career choices, I suggested getting a Masters in Business rather than one in IT. I find many of my colleagues now opting for the same path-MBA rather than MSc. How do you see this in your jobs?

I love the way the article captures the change "Some will be bolstered, some will be carved up, some will be redistributed and some will be displaced...IT professionals need to act now by assessing and building their business-specific, core-process, and industry knowledge ".  According to Diane Morello, VP of Research for Gartner, in five years, midsized and larger companies will have 30% smaller IT departments. Moreover, there are four major trends predicted by Gartner in the article: "Jobs in technology infrastructure and services will decline in end-user organizations but grow in service, hardware and software companies but many of these jobs will be in developing economies. [Maria talks about this offshore component too in our chat.]

Business intelligence, online consumer services and collaboration will grow in user companies, systems integrators and consulting companies.

There will be opportunities in process design and management in terms of competitive business processes, design of process automation and operational processes.

Relationship and sourcing management will gain ground, demanding strengths in managing "intangibles" and managing geographically distributed parties with different work outcomes and cultures..." [You will hear this echoed with Maria.]

What are your thoughts on this trend and what are you doing to prepare? What does this mean for IT workers? I would be interested in your opinions.

Stephen

Comments
  • Stephen,

    Great post and I agree whole heartedly. I saw an article at infoworld today that compliments some of your points on our need to adapt to the changing environment. It some of the management gurus are changing their tune then we really need to pay attention. The article “Why IT gives business a competitive edge” http://www.infoworld.com/article/05/12/05/49FEcompete_1.html?source=NLC-TC2005-12-05 talks about how many of these gurus that were turned off IT just a few years ago are getting bullish on IT as a source of competitive advantage. Even Nick Carr, one of the famed people that even wrote a book or two on the death of IT is taking a softer approach. He recently adapted his point of view in an InfoWorld interview, “Carr says that IT might matter -- in certain cases.”I haven't changed my mind about the core of my assessment," says Carr, "which was that as IT becomes standardized and cheaper and better understood, it becomes harder to sustain a competitive advantage." The comments in this article highlighted some of your key points about the need for IT folks with relationship (human) and business skills. I haven’t captured them all here as it is an extensive article, yet I thought this quote said it very well “ Nick Carr was half right," says Tom Davenport, Babson College professor and management guru. "You've got to combine IT with smart people and good business processes that are supportive of a distinctive capability the organization has.". To be a leader in IT you need to understand how to implement process, your business and be able to relate to people. So does this mean we have to come out behind the computer screen :=)

    You can also check out “Nick Carr takes the middle path: http://www.infoworld.com/article/05/12/05/49FEcompetecarr_1.html?source=NLC-TC2005-12-05” for a good read.

    John

  • Professional credentialing at a profession level like in medicine would resolve this. Will such a thing exist ever here?

  • D. Mark, there is government legislated certification now akin to those found in other professions. It's called the I.S.P. or Information Systems Professional designation from the Canadian Information Processing Society. I got mine in 1991. There's more information at this link:
    http://www.cips.ca/standards/ispcert/

    Thank you,
    Stephen

  • Here’s added support to get your I.S.P. Having a broad base including in business plus an ongoing commitment to professional development is part of the program. This ensures meeting not only the technology but the business needs and know-how for IT professionals.

    Recently the international Network Professional Association recognized the I.S.P. as an entry path to their CNP [Certified Network Professional] designation. And there is a recent press announcement from the Ontario School Boards about special recognition of the I.S.P. for those seeking advancement. Have a look at these links to find out more.
    http://www.cips.ca/news/media/news.asp?aID=2148
    http://www.cips.ca/news/media/news.asp?aID=2157
    http://www.cips.ca/standards/ispcert/

    If you have any more questions, I would be pleased to answer them.

    Thank you,
    Stephen

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