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Ten Steps to Reinventing the IT Professional

(ARA) – For years, information technology professionals enjoyed the Midas touch: Everything they touched turned to gold. Business leaders needed their knowledge, expertise and skills and were willing to pay just about any price to get them.

Times have changed. The business conditions that initiated the information technology spike -- the Y2K nonevent and the bursting of the dot-com bubble -- were deemed unable to sustain the flood of IT prospectors seeking fame and fortune.

“In the past several years, we have witnessed the transformation of the IT profession,” says Andrew Trestrail, vice president of Kelly IT Resources, a business unit of staffing company Kelly Services. “But the profession should emerge from this experience with a stronger sense of purpose and mission. The experience has rewritten the rules for what it takes to succeed.”

These rules include a new set of skills and motivations that IT professionals need to recognize in order to succeed and prosper in today’s more conservative operating environment, says Trestrail:

1. Business Insight -- IT professionals need to free themselves from the functional myopia and try to understand the business and cross-functional responsibilities of other departments. Technology solutions must be analytically, creatively and strategically developed and deployed. Businesses can no longer afford the luxury of investing in technology for the sake of technology.

2. Financial Discipline -- Those who succeed in today’s corporate world demonstrate consistently that they can manage the corporate resources. They have been entrusted to improve the business. And through the shrewd practice of financial analysis, they must prove an adequate return.

3. Innovation -- IT professionals traditionally have shined when it comes to unleashing their talent for creative and innovative solutions. These skills have not diminished. In fact, applying technical knowledge to a broader set of abstract business challenges still holds the prospect for creating sustainable leverage in the marketplace.

4. Systems Integration -- Businesses can no longer afford a patchwork of IT systems that optimize individual components of the business. Instead, solutions must bridge technologies and systems.

5. Teamwork -- IT professionals must view themselves as a consultant to the business. “Companies who call on Kelly IT Resources want people who can deploy a broad range of cross-functional skills, analyzing business conditions, recommending, implementing and managing technology solutions, and cooperating with all segments of the business,” Trestrail says.

6. Versatility -- In today’s environment, technical aptitude alone will no longer suffice. The successful IT professional will have to demonstrate a broad portfolio of cross-functional skills, aptitude, insight, context and experiences that can be combined in various ways to create business value.

7. Management Aptitude -- IT workers are no longer just highly sought after programmers. Very few organizations are hiring entry-level people anymore. Everyone is hiring at a higher level -- they want experience. IT professionals need to understand project and contract management.

8. Customer Orientation -- Once armed with a solid awareness of organizational culture, goals and objectives, the IT professional must demonstrate keen problem-solving skills. This involves the blending of technology in a way that improves business processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

9. Communication -- For many years, IT professionals worked in their own functional silos, often speaking their own language that few in the organization could recognize. This won’t wash in today’s business climate. They must be effective communicators, able to translate the technical aspects of their job easily with others.

10. Interpersonal Skills -- In addition, successful IT professionals understand that they no longer will be measured solely on their competence, but also in accessibility, accountability, affability, flexibility and reliability.

“As IT professionals have witnessed the severe peaks and valleys of demand for their services, they have had to reinvent themselves to be more marketable to prospective employers,” Trestrail notes. “Those that understand how the job is changing -- both in terms of demands and expectations -- will be better prepared to attract attention.”

For their part, as businesses demand more versatility from their IT workforce, they must commit to identifying, hiring and advancing people with both the requisite IT skills and an improved understanding of general business dynamics.

For more information about Kelly Information Technology Resources visit www.kellyIT.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content




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