Terry White, an author who I have referenced in this blog recently wrote a web column entitled “What’s Your Case?” that resonated with me. This question is spot on. The answer to it has power–and according to Terry White, sometimes this power is lost to many in the IT profession.
When I was a computer science graduate student at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota, there was a professor who was well known for asking students, “What’s your problem?” He had a dry sense of humor and some students would be taken aback by this question, but he was actually a very friendly man. We learned that what our professor meant by this question was that if you are a computer scientist, you should have a problem that you are trying to solve. A computer scientist without a problem is a mere programmer.
Similarly in information technology, all too often we encounter otherwise talented individuals who cannot or will not do the work required to build a business case for their proposed work. According to Terry White, learning to build a business case, whether it is calculating a return on investment (ROI) or showing that a project is required for compliance or legal issues or showing that the project is required to avoid substantial operational risk is what differentiates a technician from an IT professional. IT professionals accept that they are operating in a business context and they adapt and integrate themselves into that culture.
Computer scientists need problems to solve. IT professionals need business cases to prove. Those who have neither will have little chance to get the sponsorship they need to get the work done and even less chance to advance in their careers.
At Globe Education Network colleges, we train IT professionals.
You can read Terry White’s article at: http://cxo-advisor.co.za/category/newsletter/-terry-white-column