1.7 ICT and the Professional - Computing and ICT in a Nutshell

1.7 ICT and the Professional
In this section you must be able to:
• Recall the personal qualities and general
characteristics necessary for a person to
work effectively within the ICT industry and
as part of an ICT team.
Jobs in ICT
There is a whole range of jobs in ICT:
• Analysts & Designers
• Programmers
• Quality Assurance
• Technical support
• Sales and Customer support
• Network managers
• Team managers
• Directors and top-level management
Expected and Required Skills
When selecting a new employee, you might look for:
• Technical skills – Office, VB, C++, etc.
• Personal skills – communication, team-player, etc.
• Academic qualifications – e.g. A levels, degree
• Professional qualifications – e.g. Microsoft, Cisco, etc.
• Experience – having lots of jobs isn’t necessarily good,
• Interest
• Initiative – taking risks or going beyond call of duty
• Location – I.e. where they live
• Commitments – mortgage, family, etc.
• Salary expectations
How do we know?
We can assess these qualities in a variety of ways:
• CV – curriculum vitae
• Letter of application
• Application form
• Aptitude or practical test
• Personality test
• Interview
• Reviews and observations (for existing
Why do employers bother to interview applicants?
• To assess their ability to do the job
• Will they fit into the organisation?
• Do they have good communication skills?
• Do they display an appropriate degree of enthusiasm?
– One employer appointed the most and least keen applicants;
who do you think stayed longest?
• They can employee techniques for unnerving applicants or
testing them under pressure:
– Phoning people up before the interview
– Asking strange questions
– Joint interview with other applicants – “Why are you better than
Testing Applicants
You can test applicants with:
• Exams – e.g. EU administrators sit two written
papers before any interview takes place
• Practical tests – e.g. programming something,
or analysing/debugging existing code
• Psychometric testing – spatial, verbal
reasoning, mathematical skills, etc.
• Personality tests – the Inland Revenue gives
tests which appear to ask about preferences but
assess consistency of response
Can you test for every quality?
Some qualities are easily tested:
• Design skills
• Problem-solving ability (albeit on a limited number of
Some things can be determined at interview:
• Communication skills
• Reaction under pressure
Some things have to be taken on trust or from references:
• Initiative
• Professional/industrial experience
• Management skills
• Interests and other personal qualities
Why Communication Skills?
Why are good communication skills required?
• To elicit requirements from customers
• To communicate requirements to the project
• The project manager will need to communicate to
the developer what needs to be done
• The developer and testing team need to liaise to
ensure the quality of the product
If there are not good communication links:
• It’ll be like Chinese Whispers!
• The product won’t be what the customer required
Most Valued Qualities
Most people value:
• Initiative – taking a risk and going beyond the call of
High-achievers value:
• Networking – making links with other professionals
• Diplomacy
• Self-management
Low-achievers most rate:
• Presentation skills
• Knowledge of company/business
Professional Bodies
• Provide training and guidance
• Define roles – e.g. BCS ISM job descriptions
• Entry by exam or accredited degree
• Examples include:
– British Computer Society (BCS)
– Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
• There are also unions, although membership is
low for computing and ICT professionals
ISM – Industry Structure Model
Version 3, introduced in 1996…
• Defines various roles:
– Technical
– Support
– Management
• Specifies the requirements for each one:
– Background
– Experience
– Training
• Is “a mechanism for applying quality control to the
practical experience and training of ICT practitioners”