Information technology is defined as the process in which the storage and transmission of data takes place which includes management, implementation and installation of computers in universities, business and other firms (Chang, 2011).
Information Technology compromises of three components. One of which is the effective remedies to manage knowledge, data and information. The second is the implementation of the solutions to the management problems and finally, the organizations in the companies which compromises of IT professionals (Montealegre, 1997).
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History of Information Technology
In the late 90s, the phrase information technology was not known to many people except for those that worked in hospitals and banks. Since then there has been a shift towards “paperless” workplaces and computer technology, information technology has advanced to households. Information technology is an industry which incorporates the use of computers, software programming and networking together to store, transmit, and retrieve information. It also has the function of protection of data.
In the previous years a degree in IT was not recognized and computer programming and software development was left to mathematical engineers and computer scientists. However, in the 21st century, most of the children knew how to operate a computer. IT departments of various businesses have now moved to using employee work stations as a system of information storage rather than the previously used storage tapes controlled and operated by one computer.
Various theories have been used to understand the nature of IT and its role in the structuring of organizations. One can view technology both as being constructed and enacted by human agents and as having institutional properties that constrain and enable human action (Montealegre, 1997).
Popular Skills of Information Technology
Information technology is a vast field and thus it consists of a number of skills in which a person can acquire knowledge. First, the most important skill acquired is Computer networking. It deals with linkage between different computers or devices. It is a sub category of telecommunications, information technology and computer science. Different examples of networks are WLAN (wireless LANs), LAN (Local area network) and WWAN (wireless WANs). The jobs that can be acquired in this field are Network Administrator, Database Administrator, Project Manager etc (Ince, n.d.)
The second type of field is Information security which can be defined as information protection and avoiding access to unauthorized individuals, disruption, destruction and disclosure (Garg, Curtis, & Halper, 2002).
Linux is an operation system that runs on Linux kernel. Although it started off in the form of personal computers it now has a support of many corporations such as IBM (Kirby, 2000).
Demand for IT
The demand for IT personnel is and has been for a very long time now on the rise. IT industry started off with massive recruitments from all IT universities. This was a time when people even without an IT or computer science back ground could enter the market; demand exceeded supply. However, now times have changed. Due to the massive demand for IT and advancements in this field, specialization matters more. A college degree in these times has proven to be far less effective than it used to be. Today, IT industry has progressed to such an extent that merely knowing the basics or taking a course may not guarantee complete understanding of the field. The gap between real experience in the IT field and college courses has increased and continues to do so.
Employers today have an immense pressure to recruit individuals who can make a sizeable contribution to the organization. The issue of work experience which once used to be minute has now become a necessity for recruitment (Sharp & Shieff, 2007). Work experience is essential for students to understand and appreciate the IT industry. Industry experience enhances an individual’s skills. Work experience is a stepping towards a professional beginning (Pauling & Komisarczuk). The importance of work experience can be seen by the effort of many academic institutions to make it a part of the curriculum. Virginia University carried out a program where a work experience of 150 hours with selected employers and an experience of 300 hours with a major employer was required to be completed by the students (Pauling & Komisarczuk). Such a system can ensure relevant experience for students and a recruitment strategy for employers.
Degree and Specialization
In order to understand the limitations of a degree one needs to ask oneself a simple question; who does not have a degree today? The answer to this question would be that almost everyone has a degree today. A degree fails to perform the function of differentiating able and qualified individuals from the pack due to the wide availability f degree. The matter is aggravated by lesser jobs, global recession and the increasing tendency of institutions to cut down costs. In fact with the advancements in the field of Information Technology, courses have changed. People taking courses in universities are not only fresh graduates but also experienced individuals looking to go further in the field. This makes it more crowded and competitive for individuals to get a job in this industry. The case against a degree being the sole indicator of person’s abilities is strengthened by the examples of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both of whom were drop outs from Reed College and Harvard respectively.
Organizations today are faced with responsibilities of social development such as technological innovations and also globalization. Anticipation of such changes and a complementary working environment is essential to compete with other organizations (Govaerts, Kyndt, Dochy, & Baert, 2010). The working culture has changed over the years and young individuals should be able to adjust to these changes. Employee recruitment and retention is greatly dependant on the ability of individuals to adjust to this work culture. One has to take into account the importance of an appreciative learning environment and also abilities such as leadership skills, creativity and learning attitude. In fact these features are not only important to get a job but also to retain a job. Due to the constantly changing trends in IT industry degree may not be able to allow you to survive in the industry without the presence of these traits.
Getting a job today is even more difficult due to economic factors such as global recession and also the demand of corporations to hire highly qualified individuals. This matter is even more important in the IT industry since it has shown to progress and innovate at a greater rate than other industries. Colleges and Universities cannot incorporate these innovations in their courses at the same rate as they take place. Academic institutions can also not inform students with the particular work culture and environment of specific organizations. Such information can only be gathered by real time experience and not only through a degree. Factors such as work experience, ability to adapt to the working culture and the limitations of today’s degrees all advocate the fact that only a degree may not be enough to survive in the IT industry.
Chang, D. Y. (2011). Achieving a Coordination Framework of Strategy and Information Technology. Advances in Hospitality and Leisure .
Garg, A., Curtis, J., & Halper, H. (2002). The challenge of information security: a wake-up call for all businesses. Emerald Group Publishing .
Govaerts, N., Kyndt, E., Dochy, F., & Baert, H. (2010). Influence of learning and working climate on the retention of talented employees. Journal of Workplace Learning .
Ince, D. (n.d.). network computer. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from Encyclopedia: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O12-networkcomputer.html
Kirby, S. (2000). Free to choose: the real power of Linux. Emerald Group Publishing .
Montealegre, R. (1997). The interplay of information technology and social milieu. University of Colorado .
Pauling, J. W., & Komisarczuk, P. (n.d.). Review of Work Experience in a Bachelor of Information Technology. Emerald .
Sharp, G., & Shieff, R. (2007). Work Experience: THE PERKS AND PERILS FOR EMPLOYERS. Emerald .
Tipper, J. (2004). How to increase diversity through your recruitment practices. Industrial and Commercial Training .
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