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Author Topic: Career Spotlight on IT  (Read 951 times)


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Career Spotlight on IT
« on: June 08, 2012, 11:55:31 PM »
He had to always keep tapping me on the back of my head. I was a hardware technician then and he was my non-technical boss, pushing me to perform. I used to make a few mistakes here and there diagnosing the PC, or rather the massive ancient PC that resembled a mini refrigerator. It was 1996, the times when Dar was bustling with internet caf?s and running one was prestigious. Most of the graduates from the University of Dar es Salaam were running one. There wasn?t any trace of IT guidance or IT examples set - yet.

So, I started up an internet caf?. It worked well, but then the trend faded and everyone needed internet connection at home and office, so I took up an agency of an ISP. With the explosion of the internet, came so many other tit bits: associates wanted web designs, so I web designed too; they called me on my brick-look-a-like cell phone late hours in the night for advice on how to browse or fill an online American lottery form, sometimes even how to input data on Microsoft Excel and so forth. I was jack of all! I was propelling within the darkness of the starting ages of information technology. Anyhow, so what are you going to learn from my experience?

Street-wise or as a University graduate, we all have talents. Talent is the soil on which career grows. IT has many branches of talents, actually more than all the other industries put together. Each industry needs IT and IT has evolved into many sub branches to support the non IT industries, which confuses a newbie into falling for a high category like ?I want to be an IT manager? only later to find out it takes years in University and gruesome hours of work experience on the field to turn into an IT manager.

IT has very logical and analytical ground rules, not hard or rocket science, having a bird?s eye view of the world around us. Attach an idea that will add value, make the process easy, more accessible and reachable, cost effective and more productive and it will form a new IT branch.

IT goes to industry standards and political decisions. As soon as President Obama announced new health care reforms, the IT industry gained $13 billion in software and jobs commonly known as the IT Rx.

Software designers get paid online at where lots of professionals buried in the warmth of their houses with those powerful state of the art laptops are clicking away at large amount of codes that power a massive website, major databases ? all used by corporate and medium-sized companies.

Marketing professionals use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; which in turn are used for job hunting, business networking, sales contacts, deals and broadening horizons. For all those people with their heads buried in their handheld devices in public places, I know of salesmen closing on deals worth up to $100K using social networking websites.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, we are seeing it will be the time that banks go online; schools post their homework on email and discussion boards; internet bandwidth infrastructure nationwide will be used for high definition TV viewable on your PC / TV / mobile with the 200 channels option; WiFi hotspots will be everywhere and powerful handhelds will replace laptops which in turn will replace desktops.

Moreover, kiosks will be selling bandwidth and online banking vouchers and we will have our own local Paypal account for online purchasing (a Tanzanian is on its way to achieving that). Already advanced Oracle SAP programs are replacing excel sheets, free voice over IP (VOIP) is replacing long distance calling; wires are being replaced with wireless; everything is being connected to everything. Even Google latitude can track a blackberry owner to his geographical position anywhere in Tanzania already!

And so it is true that in the old times of bytes, DOS and 3 ? floppy days we had only IT technicians and in today?s gigabyte days we have IT software technicians and IT hardware technicians who report to an IT Manager who also outsources web designers, data input clerks, project assistants, data inventory clerks, PABX technicians, electronic technicians, network technicians, power electricians - for all of whom IT is a firsthand knowledge.

Under each of the above specialist areas, there is again a branch out. Under software technicians, you have some who specialize in Java, Symbian, PHP, Databases, C++, Dot Net and on the hardware, you have them broken down into: monitor technicians, PC technicians, laptop technicians, mobile, handhelds and networks technicians. Even with IT Managers, we have ones who specialize in projects, processes, support, business and administration, while on the data clerks end we have ones who come from different occupational backgrounds like engineers, insurance brokers, librarians, accountants, religious scholars. Meanwhile, network technicians have been divided into IT and telecom and further divided into types and methodologies of networks, depending on which network topology is more dominant. In the market at the moment, it is Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks Operation Center (NOC) principles which is leading.

In markets more evolved than ours, we have technicians specialized in cabling and wiring who run their own businesses and are hired. The future of the market is outsourcing professionals and sticking to what your core business model is. If you are a telecom company, you are supposed to sell airtime and not take care of customer service and IT, so you will outsource the IT and customer service management to a company who in turn will break down their processes and outsource other professionals who in turn will third party contract further, therefore enabling a cable specialist to be hired as a self owned businessman.

This isn?t far away from our times. It?s already happening to a few amongst us who network themselves well and have their roots firm on the ground and it will spread to us all, provided we are willing to achieve a piece of this action. We just have to realize what is it we are supposed to specialize in; get into the minutest details of our daily work lives and see what we do best and develop it to the demands existing.

Best of luck! More to come about how to specialize and what to choose in the next issue.

By: Mr.Mustafa Mohamedali Bhalloo