Skills for IT/communications

This is a classic employment environment for the Analyst. It can be also a highly stressful environment as there is total dependence when a system goes down and it is your responsibility to get it up and running as quickly as possible.

Time is always the challenge for the IT/communications consultants. They are being constantly asked to meet deadlines which, due to the complexity of the technology, can only be speculative, or based on an intelligent guess.

Its workplace

'Technology rules. OK.'
More and more we see technology taking centre stage in business. We see organisations gaining a significant increase in market share because of the adoption of smarter technology. The competitive edge was not necessarily achieved through product development but through leaner and a more customer-focused service, facilitated by IT systems.

I am currently recruiting for staff who can aid the development of mobile and contactless payment systems. Technology using mobile scanning is potentially giving cheques a new lease of life and a more secure payment platform. I am deliberately treating IT and communications as inseparable partners as they are interdependent.

IT has become the operational backbone of most organisations. If the IT system crashes the organization cannot function. This is manifest when legacy systems within retail banking fail and customers cannot access their accounts. Many of us will have experienced those intolerable delays at airports when the airline has to revert to manual boarding due to the failure of the IT infrastructure and we know that technology can drive a plane, so to speak, safer than the experienced and skilled pilot.

Technology development is fast-paced and in fact so rapid that it does not know its own destination. Social media, for example, is topical but has yet to gain serious traction within the business community. However, that may change in the near future.

If you are considering IT as a career you will need to be highly analytical. The level of 'geekiness' will depend on the area in which you decide to apply your aptitude. A career path in IT and communications means you need to specialise and gain expertise in a specific area. You can choose development, testing, infrastructure or security and within these categories you can become an expert in particular systems. The majority of experienced IT and communications executives work on a contract basis and train themselves. Companies rarely now have a schedule of regular training courses and as most contractors work for themselves they normally upgrade their skills on the job.

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