Why we are “in IT”

The world is a changed place from the one our parents once knew.  Technology is advancing at a staggering pace, and IT professionals are the people who can best assess and make use of these advances, on behalf of our employers. We, who are in IT, can play a critical role in improving the business of our employers and we have a responsibility to communicate this to our employers and the broader business community. This will not be an easy road and in fact, in light of the historical context of the current competitive and economic situation, it may be our most difficult and most important task ahead.

The aftermath of World War II left almost every industrial country in the world at that time in shambles. Every major industrial country but one, had its industrial capabilities severely crippled by the devastating bombs that the Axis and Allies dropped on each other. Although we grieve the loss many soldiers to that war, our homeland was spared. The significance of this fact is often ignored when discussing the source of our post-war economic prosperity. Although we had our post-war struggles (Viet Nam, soaring interest rates in the 70’s and a number of cultural awakening movements), the United States fared far better than the rest of the world throughout the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties.

We were riding a wave of world-wide demand for products that only the United States could provide. That ride has come to an end, or at least it isn’t going to be as easy as it was. The world has rebuilt itself, reeducated itself and is ready to compete. United States businesses and professionals are facing significant competition from those in the European Economic Union, India, China, Japan, and many other places.

How will we compete now that the rest of the world is able to do what we can do? Presently, our economy is not well and we are becoming afraid of risk—a necessary ingredient in innovation. How do we turn things around?

We must turn our brain energy toward the future and take risks–we must innovate. We are no longer the only show in town. We must be the best show in town. This means that to ensure a prosperous future for ourselves and our children we are going to have to give the world something better. We must seek to provide the best services to each other as well as to the other nations of the world. The best education, the best effort, the best ideas, and the best work possible. If we don’t, someone else will.

We educators and students at the Globe Education Network schools owe it to ourselves and each other to do the best work we can.  Our success is not automatic. We are required to work not just harder but smarter. Our children will measure us in how well we take upon this challenge and how significantly we improve the world.

If you are interested in a slightly different analysis, I encourage you to read the following article: “Losing the Competitive Advantage? The Challenge for Science and Technology in the United States” by Matthew Kazmierczak in an official publication of the American Electronics Association 2005. http://www.aeanet.org/publications/IDJJ_AeA_Competitiveness.asp

We are not just in IT for ourselves, we are in it for each other, our nation, and the world.