For years, business executives have expressed frustration over the less than satisfactory financial and strategic contribution from the information technology organization. A frequent and critical theme most commonly cited as the cause is: disconnect between the IT function (its people) and "the business". While this perceived disconnect is being attributed to many gaps such as business knowledge, leadership, effective communications, relationship building, and credibility, the underlying theme is universally tied to the absence of skills and competencies that lie outside of the technical arena.
IBM recently conducted a study of 2,500 CIOs that shows there is a focus on developing the future IT business professional: converging interpersonal skills and business acumen with technical skills. As well, the Society for Information Management's current IT Workforce research initiative reports that while both technical and non-technical skills are important, the skills most critical to retain in-house and most sought in new mid-level employees are non-technical skills such as project management, business domain knowledge and relationship skills.
A study conducted by Jerry Luftman, Society for Information Management (SIM) VP Academic Affairs and a Distinguished Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, School of Management and Associate Dean of Stevens' Information Systems Programs, in 2007/2008 revealed "that companies are looking to hire IT employees who have more than just technical savvy saying they want "people who can demonstrate interpersonal, management, and industry skills."
In fact, the survey found that companies want employees who can demonstrate ethics and morals, oral communication and the ability to more effectively collaborate with their business partners, and that such individuals are in short supply.
In summary, the global competition, baby boomers retirement, and decreasing enrollment in our universities reassure us that there is a mandate for change to advance IT as a viable profession. With the demand for an integrated skill set of technical, business acumen and soft skills, there is concern among business and academia on how to retool the IT professionals, current and next generation, with these skills and offer a career path in IT relevant to their personal success.
To address these concerns, the Association of Information Technology Professionals has made a call to action to deliver the professional development programs required to meet the current and future needs of the IT professional, the new IT business professional.
AITP's Strategic Plan champions professional development training and the educational needs for the IT professional to help them thrive and advance their career today and for the future.
Educational Workshops for IT Business Professionals
Our industry research as well as the practical experience that CIOs are sharing with us supports AITP's conclusion that critical business and personal soft skills training is very much needed for beginning or advancing a career in IT. The CIO Surveys we studied show that the top ten skill sets most in demand are ethics & tolerance, problem solving, communications (both oral and written), team collaboration, project leadership, decision making, managing expectations, business growth, business analysis, and project planning and budgeting.
The AITP Programs Committee has been researching third party professional development programs that can be delivered effectively by AITP and provide continuing education for the IT business profession, not only for our current IT professionals but also for the next generation of professionals (our K-12 digital natives).
That's why AITP recently partnered with the Heart of a Champion Learning (HOC), a training series that includes instructor-led courses based on 10 key core values crucial to the IT professional's personal success and to mastering IT alignment with business for corporate growth and success.
The AITP HOC pilot which includes 4 chapters, one from each district, was launched in June. The pilot is scheduled to end in July and the AITP Programs Committee will be evaluating the results and reporting the outcome in August. Based on positive results, the AITP Programs Committee will recommend to the Association Board, a full launch to all chapters. The Committee will also continue to identify valuable programs that can be delivered effectively by and differentiate AITP as the voice for "the Association of Professionals in Information Technology".
In summary, the Association reason for being is to champion an investment in the human element of IT. AITP is focused on you, the individual professional, and our purpose is to help you achieve personal success today and tomorrow. Since our inception in 1951, the Association of Information Technology Professionals has believed that the best way to serve our profession is to protect the careers and advance the talent of our members.