All employers want you to have a basic understanding of the technology being used in whatever area of the Information Technology (IT) field you go into; however, the most important skill has nothing to do with computers or networks. Tammy from the Industrial Credit Union put it succinctly. “Communication skills are a priority. Someone with tech skills are a dime a dozen.” What employers are looking for is someone with skills and the ability to communicate. Communication skills are key to a successful career in IT.
In most fields of IT, you will interact with customers or clients on some level. Whether it involves pitching a product, making a presentation, or helping them diagnose and fix a problem. Though a career in IT can be very enjoyable and challenging, we are primarily in this field to make money. As an entrepreneur or employee of a corporation, we must do as Chris Powell, from Western Washington University, suggested and ask ourselves, “How can I add to the bottom line?” It’s more than making the client happy with fancy words and a smooth voice; it’s about communicating the information they need in a way that will be understood. Our ability to do that is key to making the client, and in turn ourselves, profitable.
Unless you are a lone entrepreneur, you will have co-workers or be in a position where you have to manage others. We must be able to get along with others and be able to work as a team. Being able to communicate with co-workers is important to effectively doing our jobs, but we must also be able to communicate with and work with difficult co-workers. Of all the speakers we had in our IT Ethics class, the most bitter was Harlan from Retrotech. As warning of what to expect with co-workers in our future career he said, “You’ll work with dickheads.” His statement was admittedly rather crass; however, there is some truth to the statement. I’ve worked at a number of jobs over the year’s sense I graduated from High School, and from time to time I’ve run into co-workers that are more than difficult to get along with. The one thing that has helped the most has been being able to communicate with them in such a way as to learn what it is that they need and learn how they operate. There’s a reason people are difficult and being able to communicate with them can be instrumental in possibly exercising that information from them or at least learning the most effective way to work with them.
Unless you own your own business, you must be able to get along with the boss. Your boss may be good at managing others and making business decisions, but they may not know much about computers and networks. Harlan, from Retrotech, said that when dealing with his manager, he has “to walk on eggshells with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.” He told us about a co-worker that was hired and promoted above him. This employee cut a lot of corners and majorly screwed up one of their servers before up and quitting. He just couldn’t understand why this...