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The Revolution of the Stereotype “IT Guy”

Throughout BILT (Business and Industry Leadership Team) and KSA (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities) meetings, it’s become abundantly clear that IT employers are putting more emphasis on the need for what we in the industry call “soft skills” but after the CCN’s most recent webinar with NetApp’s Matt Brown, Infrastructure Business Relationship Manager for IT Business Applications, calling them “soft skills” may actually lessen their true value in the look of the future of your basic “IT guy.”

The significance of communication –
Being able to talk to a business-minded person in “their language” isn’t just a secondary “soft” skill, but rather a critical business skill that educators should start instilling into their students with as much importance as a technological ability. Brown mentioned that with technology constantly changing, students often relearn or continue learning technology changes on the job, so possessing both a base technology understanding with additional business skills like communication, knowledge of the business, etc. keeps the individual IT personnel relevant.

Transitioning back away from “just taking directions” –
Brown went on to talk about changing the role of the usual IT responsibility from “ticket taker” to being more engaged in the goals of the business. He mentioned that over time IT specialists “became so good” to responding to issues that being a “firefighter” in the industry is what most IT employees are now known solely for. And the role has shifted from collaborative within a business to just a hard-to-engage “guy in the back room waiting for the light to turn red” or even just an afterthought when businesses plan out the goals of their strategy. This should not be the case.Tech-Support1

IT departments’ need to become more proactive instead of “reactive” in their approach to technology –
“Everyone’s job in IT should be innovative,” according to Brown. But now most IT departments are just overwhelmed with putting out fires, they do not have time to be imaginative. IT students entering the business world can be the start to changing this perception of the “introvert” personality type that most IT professionals get labeled to instead an added value to a new kind of business model.

IT shops can no longer simply deliver what customers say they want –
Businesses may not be able to communicate or don’t know what they want.  New graduates entering the IT workforce should know that it’s essential to understand the customers’ situation.  If you can answer that, then you can give them what they really need. This creates a new kind of trust and confidence between the usually separate business enterprise structure and the IT department.

Today’s IT shops must also further use the advances of technology to be able to deliver new services –
The business world needs bold creative thinkers who question “why are we doing it this way when we should be doing it that way.” IT students that can look at things differently and are confident in giving a new innovative methods may quickly learn their vital worth as the world of technology continues to shift in the coming years.

Technology is always changing, so the role of what the stereotypical IT professionals should too and IT students entering the business world today can be this forefront to breaking the mindset of how the world currently categorizes the “IT guy.”

To listen to Matt Brown’s “Transformative IT” webinar in full, click here.

Additional webinars on various topics are coming soon in the spring. To be notified, click here to get on our mailing list.

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