How to Change Current Attitudes Towards Careers in IT

| February 26, 2009

There is a huge opportunity to utilise technologies in a creative manner to enhance customer experience and profitability.


The most successful business leaders today realise that an effective IT team is a competitive advantage.

Put simply, IT can – and should – enable organisations to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and drive productivity; three critical elements in any business strategy. In many businesses however, IT is still viewed as a support role and IT workers are treated as support staff.

Despite this, IT workers are expected to be business-savvy, communicate effectively with a range of stakeholders (both internal and external) and possess up-to-the-minute technical knowledge. This means their skill set needs to extend beyond the technical and include process skills (such as project management, for example) and business skills (such as communication and presentation skills).

If all businesses are to reposition their IT teams to drive competitive advantage, then they need to equip their staff with a skill set that takes them into the business world and extends beyond their technical and administrative roles.

If the industry takes this approach, then IT can become a serious career option that will enable Gen Y – remember, that's the generation that has a transient approach to jobs – and future generations to make a long term commitment to the IT industry.

There's still a lingering perception that IT careers are boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure it's a cliché, but technology does pervade the activities of our day-to-day lives. Facebook and the iPhone have a huge following with younger generations; these all require the development of applications which are built by Generation Y. Yet, while they use the technology, they don't see how they can build a career through it.

Microsoft's Sharepoint is an example that bridges the technical with creativity. Those developing in Sharepoint can work with all parts of the business to build new ways for workers to collaborate.

But a career in IT doesn't need to be a lifetime of coding. For example, project management skills give developers the ability to influence management and understand how their project contributes to the broader business goals. Business skills equip developers with the ability to present confidently and negotiate with decision makers.

Today, more than ever, there is a huge opportunity to utilise technologies in a creative manner to enhance customer experience and profitability; two areas crucial to business performance.

IT does play a critical role in any organisation and businesses need to invest in their team accordingly. Now is not the time to lay the blame at the feet of skills shortages or tough economic environments. The importance of IT remains the same; it's a strategic component of any business and the industry's commitment to skills development needs to reflect that.

David Gage is Dimension Data Learning Solution's (DDLS) General Manager. He is responsible for the financial and strategic direction of DDLS and the growth of its training, which covers three core areas: Technology, Process and People. Prior to his role at DDLS, David was General Manager for Licensing at Dimension Data. David has more than 12 years experience in the IT industry and has held a variety of roles during his nine years service within the Dimension Data Group which included founding and acting as General Manager of Australia's first online distributor, Express Online.



  1. MikeM

    February 26, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Is IT relevant to project management?

    In many businesses however, IT is still viewed as a support role and IT workers are treated as support staff.

    Perhaps rightly so. Some decades ago I used to run courses teaching geologists, anthropologists and medical researchers how to write computer programs. I have never heard of a successful course to teach computer programmers to become geologists, anthropologists or medical researchers.

    It has been common practice to look to the ranks of information technologists to provide project managers. I am not sure that that is the best thing to do. Research suggests (I can't find links right now but computer nerds know this is right) that information technology attracts a particular personality type classified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test as INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking and judgemental, for what the Jungian theory behind it is worth).

    They can be difficult to manage and are not obvious candidates as effective project managers. Furthermore, many projects – think building and highway construction, drug commercialisation and restructuring failing enterprises) have little or nothing to do with IT.

    While the discipline of project management emerged (painfully) from the information technology sector, today, courses such as those endorsed by the Australian Institute of Project Management are highly unlikely to start by teaching students how many bits there are in a byte.

    MikeM was an IT project manager for a number of years, but moved to a different job before he was found out.

  2. foggy

    March 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm


    INTJ-interesting.despite this trait, these people are the support staff.because obviously

    mostly the businessman does not know a thing about IT,and needs them to cater to his

    various business requirements.but what a staff!they are not in the category of the other office staff;because IT is a very, very especial section, and they have a special status

    even if they practically are a support staff.

    i reiterate, that i see nothing wrong in a school/college student;who takes up an IT

    course with no intention of making it his career.after graduation he is free to pursue

    higher studies in geology, –  medical or whatever he desires to become.there are many part time

    courses available and the opportunity for online studies seems to be tailor made for

    such students.