by Sean McBride
Plante & Moran, PLLC is an IMA Member
What are critical competencies for today’s technology professional? It’s a great question — one that comes up frequently as organizations seek the right talent for their evolving IT efforts. When we evaluate the most effective technology leaders and practitioners in action, six key competencies stand out for top-notch technology professionals:
- Business analysis
Technology for technology’s sake is an expensive dead end. Those who are adept at applying technology toward business opportunities are heroes in today’s marketplace. Aligning IT with organizational goals leads to measurable results, so the technologist who is skilled in business analysis will typically thrive in an organization that has a mindset of continuous improvement.
- Customer service
For most entities, technology is service (not a product). Accordingly, those with a customer service mindset are likely to be a better fit than a “techno-jockey” who writes custom code behind closed doors. This is a noteworthy shift as cloud providers continue to commoditize hardware and software; effective technologists are more service-oriented and focused on successful implementation.
- Creative problem-solving
Given the plethora of available technology and customized applications, the former solution-builder competency is being replaced by a creative problem-solver. Seek the person who can fully diagnose the root causes of an issue and deftly apply existing technical remedies and proven solutions.
- Change management
As technology exponentially expands, many folks feel threatened and unable to keep up. User adoption of new technology systems is too often an overlooked success measure. IT professionals who are competent at facilitating change while coaching people and organizations forward continue to become increasingly valuable.
Gone is the “island of IT” cost center that covertly maintains your mysterious technology systems. In today’s world, collaboration with internal business units and external providers is an absolutely critical competency for a successful IT partnership. Expertly utilizing the knowledge and energy of others maximizes the output of any IT team and is a hallmark trait of effective technologists.
- Lifelong learner
Today’s technology becomes rapidly obsolete. The only certainty is continual evolution. Adaptable, quick learners who aren’t afraid to shed legacy technology are the kind of folks with whom you want to work.
Many people jump right to professional certifications or product expertise when measuring technical capability among potential candidates. While hardcore technology experience and specific system knowledge are certainly valuable, the personal competencies listed above are arguably of greater importance for today’s technology professionals.
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