Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Posted by: George R. Koscho, CDP - 2003 AITP President
As stated in my January/February article, I have selected the theme for 2003 to be "A year of personal growth and professional development.” I would like to dissect that statement and explore how we as AITP members can accomplish personal growth and professional development.
Let me begin by asking what is a "profession” and what are "professionals?” A "profession” is defined by Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary as "A calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.” A "professional” is then "one who is engaged in one of the learned professions and who conforms to the ethical standards and standards of conduct of that profession.”
I think, based on these definitions, few could now argue that Information Technology is not a "profession” and that those of us who are Information Technology practitioners are not "professionals.”
Please notice the reference to "ethical standards and standards of conduct” in the definition above. As the premier Information Technology professional association AITP has both a Code of Ethics and a Standards of Conduct and they are prominently posted on our Web site. I won't spend a lot of time quoting them here, but I highly recommend that you visit our Web site and read them at your leisure. There are two statements in the Standards of Conduct that I will quote, however;
- In recognition of my obligation to management I shall keep my personal knowledge up-to-date and insure that proper expertise is available when needed.
- In recognition of my obligation to my employer I shall make every effort to ensure that I have the most current knowledge and that the proper expertise is available when needed.
These statements address the need for life-long learning, not only within our profession but also in broader terms so that we remain current as to what is occurring in our chosen profession. We should also absorb knowledge on current events and other important areas of the world so that we remain knowledgeable and productive members of society.
How do we do this? Well, you can stay at home and watch "Reality TV,” but I have never seen much personal growth there. You could turn off the TV and read the newspaper or a good book on a subject that provides additional knowledge. You could also attend an AITP chapter meeting and other seminars and events that will provide you with personal growth.
My mother used to tell me to learn something new every day of my life. I have found this to be a sound piece of advice and I would therefore like to pass it on to you. Before you retire each night, try to think of what new thing you learned that day. If you can't think of anything, try opening the dictionary to a random page and find a word you didn't know before and memorize its definition.
In conclusion, you can enhance your personal growth and professional development by taking an active role in the activities of your chapter and by attending AITP meetings, seminars and conferences conducted by AITP chapters, regions and the international association.