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Chaz Blogs It's all about the eXperience!

”FOR THE BELIEVERS, IT'S TIME TO BECOME EVANGELISTS.”  YES I DO MEAN TO HAVE CAPS LOCK ON FOR THIS POST, BECAUSE I AM SHOUTING!  AN ARTICLE IN THIS WEEK'S INFORMATION WEEK “SPEAK UP FOR THE IT CAREER” REALLY HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD ABOUT THE IT PROFESSION.  I NORMALLY THUMB THROUGH I.W. AND TOSS IT IN THE TRASH.  BUT IN THIS CASE, THEY CAN'T BE MORE RIGHT.  THERE IS AN ACCOMPANYING BLOG ON THEIR SITE FOR THIS ARTICLE.

Okay, I'll calm down a little bit, but mostly because the all caps is killing me.  This article says a lot of what I've been thinking about the IT profession for a long time.  When did IT stop being the “it” profession?  We do cool... very cool things.  We make the world go round, don't we?  Why then has it become so out of fashion to be in IT?  Outsourcing?  Global competition?  Ah but now I am repeating a lot of what is in the article.  Go read the Oct. 3rd issue page 35.  I don't need to rehash the whole thing.

Instead I want to use this space to challenge IT pros.  Especially those with kids.  Have you told your kids what you do?  Have you told them so that they think it is cool?  No, never mind cool, have you told them so they think it is important, interesting, life changing?  Have you taken time to point out that every day things in their lives were planned, designed and programmed by people just like you?  NO?  Why the hell not?  Don't you believe what you do is important and interesting?

Does your kid realize that a person like you planned, designed and wrote that cool XBox video game, the cell phone mechanism used to “Text” their friend, their Tivo?  NO?  Maybe that is why the enrollment in IT related college majors has dropped off the chart.  Maybe we need to give ourselves props for the cool things we do.  Yeah so maybe your invoice report generator or GL application isn't a video game.  But you need to relate in kids terms.  Do you still get a kick out of delivering exactly what somebody asked for or even better, what they need?  Do you love listing the endless manual processes you have laid to rest via automation?  Me too.  So why not get young people charged up about it too?

Now let's take on outsourcing, the IT community's biggest cry of defeat.  Shut up!  We're Americans damn it.  Don't cower to the pressure of cheap labor.  Innovate.  Find ways to reduce cost of service that protect a healthy salary and your job.  We need better tools... faster.  We need to be more flexible and adaptable.  We need to reevaluate what it is we do.  Yes a lot of us get a high from writing cool code, but there is way more to IT than programming.  We have failed in the past as a community to provide the right answer for the problem.  We always try to impose IT as the solution.  We need to step back, be objective and look at the whole picture. 

I repeat, it isn't all about cool code.  Sometimes it's about being a conduit between business and technology.  It's about understanding business needs and providing the right combination of solutions.  Which can be manual processes, packaged automation processes and custom developed automation processes.  It is not all or nothing.  The lack of good advise and the lengthy time it takes to implement custom solutions has lost the trust of American companies.  It has inflated the cost of home grown IT shops.  We need to work smarter and closer to the business than ever before.  Don't be afraid to offer a non-technical solution.  Imagine yourself as a doctor of technology.  Don't always right a prescription for back pain when some moderate exercise will do the trick.

Bottom line, we need to work together as a community to save our profession.  Like it or not it is up to you and I to revitalize interest in IT in America.  How will we do this?  Start small, start with the kids in your life and start with your current job.  IT isn't just programming it is Information Technology.

--chaz

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2005 4:31 PM Other , Management | Back to top


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