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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Specialties within the Computing World.

     Nearly every job field has it's area's of specialties. Information Technology is no exception!

 I knew when I took on my current job that I would be responsible for the tasks of many different specialties within the field. I feared that I would be responsible for everything, and those fears have come true. 

   It is true that for the most part all aspects of computing are inter related. Everything revolves around the Computing Device, you know - keyboard, mouse or other input device, a screen to display the info and some sort of processing power with the ability to store the info for later use. Or some combination of the above.

   Anyway, this is in response to an aggressive individual I have recently dealt with, in my failure to assist them completely they yelled "how can you call yourself an IT professional if you don't know how to do (obscure hardware task)" to which I plainly responded, "I do not call myself an IT professional, you do! I am a Web Analyst and Developer" 

   Even my own description of myself describes two different specialties. 

   After a quick explanation of the various roles available within the field, and a request of them to change the oil in my car - "you drive a car, so you must know how!" - they did not understand that I have never performed the task requested, nor I have been trained to do it.

   I just used a very KEY word: "Training". I devote a majority of my day to my chosen specialties, but have no ambition to learn others. Is this not true for most people in most industries?

   So please remember, when you are talking to someone who deals with computers, it is rare that you find one that truly does it all, and even more rare that they enjoy it all. We have our likes and dislikes and every time you ask us to help with a problem outside of our chosen specialties, those of us that can't say "no" end up having to sometimes put hours of learning and research to help you out. 
   
   In the event that you don't know the computer person all that well, here is your simple measure: we usually excite easily, so:
  •  If we offer an answer with a smile and without any hesitation, we probably know and enjoy this specialty. 
  •  If we like this specialty, but have not yet learned how to do what you ask, we will be all over the chance to learn and will probably thank you for the opportunity. 
  •  If we tell you we must get back to you on it, we don't know anything about this specialty, and usually don't want to! Keep track of how long it takes for us to resolve your request, if it is within minutes, we just Googled the problem, and you probably could have too! If it takes us hours or even days, you know that we are doing tons of research learning a topic we are not interested in. Or hoping you become impatient and figure it out on your own despite how bad that makes us look.
Alright, I must apologize, I wrote this from a defensive view point. But I believe that my points are valid for nearly anyone in any job field, am I wrong?

I would love to hear from all sides of this one, are there any true computer gurus out there that think I am a whiner? How about persons with little computer literacy, do you also think I am a whiner? But really, I want to hear from those individuals in any job field that agree with me in that it is much better to do one thing perfectly than it is to do many things poorly!