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What Should I Teach?

By ITInstructor ·
What is the most important soft skill and technical skill for IT professionals to have? I teach at a small community college and this info help me prepare classes in the future?

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Most Valuable depends on definition

by junkmail In reply to What Should I Teach?

If you have a job, the most valuable skill is troubleshooting ability. You need to be able to possess/collect information from a wide range of sources, analyze it, and pinpoint likely areas of conflict.

If you're looking for a job, the most valuable skill is writing your resume to highlight whatever technology is hot at the moment in the field you want to work in.

Too many job interviewers and screeners look for an exact number of years in an exact corner of a specific field. This is stupid for most positions, but it's what happens when people who don't know much about what they're doing have hiring or screening power.

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Highest Piority Skills = People Skills

by krlayne In reply to What Should I Teach?

One skill that is both soft and technical that you should try to pass on to your students is for them to enhance their people skills. I dare say that most I.T. people are pretty proficient in what they do, with various levels of talent. But one skill that is severely lacking in most technical persons I know is people skills. With a piece of equipment/software invariably you will work out what is wrong with it and fix it. People are not so easy to fix or understand. It is vitally important that you acquire the skill of dealing with people. They will be your customers, employers, employees and co-workers. Patience with those who depend on us to keep their systems running, for those who hate all things computer, for those who had a bad weekend and come to work and take it out on the poor PC and you the technical support. The ability to express and present yourself before others. The ability to just say no and enough is enough without being rude. Poeple skills are vitally important to technical persons. These things come naturally for some people but for most they don't. The same way you teach your students the technical stuff ( you will get plenty good advice for that here. These guys are great!) encourage them to go to similar classes that help enhance people skills (Dale Carnegie courses I can recommend). We will spend plenty money becoming qualified. Spend a little enhancing those people skills. They will differentiate you from the rest of the technical pack.

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by Clockwerk In reply to Highest Piority Skills = ...

I will have to agree with this as one of the most important skills to have as an IT Professional. When all is said and done, I would say that 80% of the job is fixing the user first and 20% technical know how. It takes a very special skill to make the customer happy that his/her system is pooched beyond all recovery and will be down for the next week waiting on parts.

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People Skills

by TprattBP In reply to What Should I Teach?

Too often IT thinks in terms of the inanimate objects of the network, but the network does not exist without people. The satisfaction of the "internal" customer" should be paramount. That is not to say that the "customer is always right". He/she is often wrong (internal & external customers), but they should not be made to feel that they are wrong. With proper people skills, empathy, teaching ability, patience, etc., IT will gain advocates rather than adversaries on their networks.

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TprattBP is right!!

by m_pact In reply to People Skills

I have been a network admin for 10 years now. Too many "IT Professionals" let the "power" they have go straight to their heads. It has been my experience that most techs find it easier to say no, than to assist and help the end user. After all, the end user is what keeps your organization going.

I have seen a lot with the attitude of "Well, we have always done it this way." That, in my opinion, is the worst thing to ever think or say. So, I recommend teaching first what TprattBP suggested and then teach the "Out of the box" fundamentals.

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2 b silent

by taurusnl In reply to People Skills

Al the time when I talk to technical IT persons, they start finishing my sentences. Just be silent or ask questions that might make things clearer. And don't start typing on my keyboard while standing against me. At least ask if you may sit in my chair to operate the PC

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by ixias In reply to People Skills

I have a sign next to my desk "They don't know what they want until you give them what they don't want." "Even if it's exactly what they asked for, it is probably not what they needed." The purpose of the sign is to remind me to be patient. Most end users are not analysts. It's my job to figure out what is really needed and make any adjustments later if they can not tell me when they ask. After all, if they could do it in addition to their own job what do they need me for?

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What you could teach,

by d.sorrell1 In reply to What Should I Teach?

Student techs need to end up with a wide range of pratical skills for the hands on work, they should be able to recall what parts of a pc do what and how they generally connect. Information of web sites to go to when in need of advice or drivers should be given and collected by students. Every day during break, set a delibrate but small fault on a pc and send the students to find it and correct it. One of the things i find students forget is how work inside and how to plan their connections properly, eg ide channels etc. Students looking to go in to the technical enviroment these days will need to have a bit of server understanding even if its only the principles of DHCP DNS and AD. If possible to set up A nt4 or 2k domain for students to get an idea on then do so. Give your students as much of a range as possible as they will not all want to be in exactly the same area of it. Encourage individuality by setting assignments that are to work out budget based plan, design and builds - students who know most about IT will usually find more for their supposed budget and an range of equipent rather than the less knowledgeable systems who may spend more on individual components for unknown reason and have the basics for task. DS 23 UK

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Definitely a wide range of skill sets.

by mgoldner In reply to What you could teach,

The area of IT is so dynamic and evolving, that it is impossible for anyone to know all there is about it. What we can hope for it so give the students a good basic understanding of how the PC works, some basic programming (VB6) for scripting, principals of DHCP, DNS and networking. Ad and linux are important, but as they continue to evolve, I feel that this too should be on a basic level. What the students need most is to be taught how to identify a problem, then to have a good idea where to start to look for the solution. With that basic ability, their opportunities are endless. While they will have to pay their dues to get experience, there are more than enough positions for any competent Techie.

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IT Needs Process Management

by killinlj In reply to What Should I Teach?

I think that in order to be successful now, someone contemplating a career in IT managment should consider learning about IT process management. THere are several reasons. We have traditionally been very good at the technical whiz-bang and innovation, but our technical focus on how we produce things has been lacking for some time. For example, work output that each IT process (e.g. like Change/Release Process) produces has an impact on the others. It is important to maximize the overall IT function through these processes. It will lead o simplification of work steps and produce a coordinated effort that will yield improvements to the corporation bottom line. The best way to manage IT organizations effectively and profitably is to understand the processes required to manage an IT shop. Then make sure your organization is following them using metrics. There are several frameworks out there to help like ITIL, CoBIT, CMMII, and others. I would suggest looking into these for certification, and ideas as to where you should focus next. - Larry Killingsworth, Manager Global IT Process Devlopment, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.

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