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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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Customer Service and Problem Solving

by piratetoolz In reply to What Should I Teach?

An IT professional must have the necessary customer service skills in order to effectively serve his or her user base.

For technical skills, one should always have a firm grasp on problem solving. Too many times there are so-called professionals that don't have basic problem solving skills. These are people that hurt us in the eyes of our users and coworkers.

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Bang On

by alfmars In reply to Customer Service and Prob ...

Customer service is the biggie. We've all heard the saying "If we didn't have users, we wouldn't have problems", but without users we also wouldn't have jobs.
Problem solving skills should be (but often aren't) a given.

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Too true

by piratetoolz In reply to Bang On

Customer Service can sometimes make up for a lack of troubleshooting skills. If the user goes away FEELING like they've been helped, thats good. If they go away feeling like they've been brushed off, or worse, mocked, they may regret even coming to IT with the issue.

There is an aura of contempt surrounding IT in a lot of places...contempt both for and by the IT personnel. A good end user relationship goes a long way towards running a smooth IT shop.

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2 Skills

by dchilders In reply to What Should I Teach?

1.) Fanatic customer service commitment
2.) Basic and strong fundamental understanding of TCP/IP.

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Business Acumen plus technical savvy..

by Matthew Moran In reply to What Should I Teach?

I authored, The IT Career Builder's Toolkit (Cisco Press) - - and discuss this issue in great detail. Additionally, I have sat on advisory boards for numerous colleges and technology training programs. It is an issue that is near and dear to my heart.

My book project started in a discussion forum similar to this. Post DotCom bust (2001) I wrote an article titled, Why Technologist Must Learn To Speak Business - published by Power Media Group.

In it, I identify three steps (and skills) that technology professionals can take to make their solutions more relevant. The resulting discussion and feedback from hundreds of technologists - identifying areas they struggled or felt unsure of - let to the Toolkit.

While some categorize this as a shift in the IT industry, it has always been my belief that careers in IT (as with virtually any industry) require a constant refinement and growth of numerous skills. The challenge for the IT professional is two-fold. One, the industry tends to draw highly technical individuals who enjoy getting lost in the technology and who, for that reason, tend to pull away from the soft (less defined) skills. Two, the pressure to be "on top of their game" often forces technology professionals to feel there is not enough time to focus on anything but the technical skills.

I understand the dilemma. I am a working consulting - currently developing an Access front-end to a SQL Server back-end for analysis and reporting. I also write scripts for server and desktop deployment and maintenance.

The fact is, however, that it can be done. In fact, technology professionals tend to learn better when they have the more holistic idea of how their technology work impacts the business they serve.

Additionally, there are key concepts in learning that can help people adopt new technologies without the time/stress involved. Part of this involves understanding and identifying similar or like elements of one technology to another. For instance, symantic differences aside, most programming is very similar in control constructs, base functionality, objects, classes, etc. - and when learning a new language rarely is one starting from scratch.

In any case, I believe technologists must define their learning needs - not based on their current technical deficit alone but on an assessment of their overall career skills - communication (written/verbal), project development, project management, technical, professional networks, etc..

Matthew Moran
The IT Career Builder's Toolkit

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The 2 hardest skills to find...

by NickNielsen In reply to What Should I Teach?

Hard Skill - Analytical thinking

Soft Skill - flexibility and adaptability

In all of my jobs, the primary reasons I was hired were my fault isolation (analytical) skills and the flexibility I learned while in the military.

If you can teach your students to reason through problems using existing knowledge and data, they have a good chance at getting good jobs. If you can also teach them to roll with the punches that life and work will throw at them, they will succeed at those jobs.

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IT Teaching experience

by djedje70 In reply to What Should I Teach?

I have had an experience teaching IT in comunity college and have discovered that the body of knowledge is not pratical enough to let student become operational after their courses. The curiculum gives them just a theory based approach on IT subject and does not help students sustain their knowledge after finishing their classes.
The best approach (my view) should be focusing on small individual / groups projects that help students understand the why and how to apply their learning skills and give them a potential interest in the IT field later on.
For students to get a part time job while in school, a basic practical of learning theory would be a plus since entreprises do not spend time training the new comers.
What teaching??
General knowledge about IT management
Small IT project (basic desktops management)
small iT project (basic network management)
SDLC concepts
Human skills (meeting , communication and problem solving processes)
==>When the students are invested then they can get deep knowledge on specific matter like (programing, ecommerce, wireless etc)

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I agree with this

by masinick In reply to IT Teaching experience

I got a solid Computer Science degree from Michigan Tech a long time ago, (back in 1979). I think that I was in the second graduating class of full time Computer Science students. Prior to that, our courses were computer coursee in the Math department. By the time I graduated, it was the Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, and we had our own legitimate Computer Science degree.

We had excellent theoretical classes and some good, solid programming classes. The one thing the main program lacked were some group projects. There were a few classes in the simulation laboratory that emphasized individual projects, but at the time, the only group programming project was in the business department, where an advanced Cobol group project was taught.

Two or three years after I graduated, I visited the university during their famous Winter Carnival, and I got a chance to speak with the first full time professor in the Computer Science department. He asked me what the most helpful course was for me. I had to tell him that the Advanced COBOL project in the business department was the most useful class for what I had to do on the job, even though all the theory we learned was also useful. He sighed, and said that he had been making that argument to the curiculum committee for several years but had little success. The business department put their course together because that was a need they saw in business. They were right.

You have to know some theory because you have to understand the principles of computing, but you also have to know how to effectively work on projects, both individually and as a team. You have to know how the pieces of a project fit together, and you have to communicate about the details.

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Products change - Education stays the same

by AndeAnderson In reply to What Should I Teach?

For Soft Skills the new people need to learn Customer Service skills. The customer is not always right. How to present themselves to their customers. Documentation procedures and methods for the jobs they are doing (Project Management).

Technical Skills. I don't see basic skills being taught anymore. There are some IT Professionals who do not know what a command line is. Everyone is being taught Specific GUI's and Operating Systems. It doesn't matter what computer or operating system is used, they are all basically the same, except for the terminology and the amount of support available.

Computer Hardware is constantly changing - teach how to be flexble and attentive to new technologies. You never know when you'll need to be able to apply that new technology. VOIP is a good example at this time.

For Example: My daughter had a College Professor teaching her Basic Programming who did not know what a USB port was or how to use a USB Thumb Drive. The Professor only knew how to use an Iomega 100Mb Zip Drive. So, my daughter did not think too much of the class and considered it to be a waste of time and money.

Her perception of this Professor destroyed what should have been a good foundation for programming. That applies to the business world also. Their perception of your ability will make or break your career.

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Teach What You Know

by PSU-Curt In reply to What Should I Teach?

I've been a part-time Adjunct Professor at both the Undergrad and Masters level for several years. The thing my students appreciate most are my "real world" experiences from industry. Academia just does not prepare them for the business world.
For soft skills: The most important thing you can teach your students is how to THINK!
The ability to THINK a problem or assignment through to conclusion; to analyze and consider all aspects of the issue before taking action.
For hard skills: It depends on their career goals, but I would strongly recommend good business skills. The IT industry, with few exceptions, is still concerned with the "business of doing business". I have found over the past 30+ years in IT that a solid understanding of business concepts provides a definite advantage to your career.

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