IT Planner: 5 Steps to Better Job Security - Page 3

: Lose without Losing Control">

The dot-com bust and the ensuing IT job cuts largely killed off this "stupid users" attitude, but surprisingly enough, remnants of unprofessionalism remain.

"CIOs are finding that incoming IT professionals are more technically savvy than ever before but very weak in interpersonal skills," said Brady.

Essentially, many IT professionals are blowing their job security on the small stuff: dotting their is, minding their ps and qs, and not speaking in only "ones and zeros"—or tech-ese—to business departments.

"Youve got to practice your interview skills," Brady said. "These CIOs we spoke to were shocked by how diminished these skills have become. Résumés and cover letters should be airtight and match the description of the job you are applying for. You should be researching the company beforehand."

Poor communications skills were at the top of CIOs lists of concerns about incoming recruits.

"You need to build your communications skills," Brady said. "This is especially true if youre in the millennial generation, and youre used to e-mailing and IMing all of the time. Its concerning for CIOs to have people in their organizations who are afraid to pick up the phone and interact face to face to represent the department to business."

While IT roles in the past were not communication-­­centered, it is the professionals who excel in this area who are already in the greatest demand and will continue to be as IT becomes more central to organizations.

"More and more, it is these communicating roles that are slated to grow," said Brady.

Step 2: Lose without losing control

For as a long as the IT department has existed, much of its role has been to prevent bad things from happening—avoiding security lapses, network breakdowns and faltering desktops.

IT responded to this dictate by exerting as much control as it could over systems.

"How do you prevent bad things from happening became How you prevent anything from happening," Jeffrey Mann, a Gartner analyst, told eWeek.

"Wed put technical controls in that got in the way of people doing bad things—they couldnt go there. Its become a crutch, though, where people expect that if something was bad, theyd be warned," Mann said.

Mann shared an anecdote about a traffic engineer in a small town in the Netherlands who found that when he got rid of all traffic lights and street signs, people drove more safely; average speeds declined, and there was less traffic and fewer accidents.

"In effect, fewer guardrails led to better driving," Mann said. "In IT, a lot of these rules indirectly hurt help desks. In the future, well be moving a lot of the other responsibilities back to the users."

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