Versatilists – is that really a word?

If you are going to send out our picture we want to check they are the right ones

ComputerWorld has an article on the changing skill requirements for ‘IT’ people:

The most sought-after corporate IT workers in 2010 may be those with no deep-seated technical skills at all. The nuts-and-bolts programming and easy-to-document support jobs will have all gone to third-party providers in the U.S. or abroad. Instead, IT departments will be populated with “versatilists” — those with a technology background who also know the business sector inside and out, can architect and carry out IT plans that will add business value, and can cultivate relationships both inside and outside the company.

I’m assuming that the newly invented word – “versatilists” – is trying to overcome some of the negative connotations of the more commonly used word – “generalist”. At least that’s my assumption, because the word is never really defined. To be honest I think it’s a terrible word, but I do think that they have a point.

As IT becomes more grown-up it is bound to become more business focussed and less technology focussed. As the technology starts to get out of the way, the purpose for the technology will come to the fore.

The only issue I think I do have is with the time-scales – 2010. From where I am sitting the tide has already turned and people with business understanding are the ones most sought after already. Perhaps I’ve just built a perception because my job is already a “versatilist” job, I have no statistical evidence to support my theory.

Another interesting element from the article was the pronouncement that many of this set of IT people will come from education backgrounds other than IT. In my experience this is, again, already the case. Even though I work in an IT services organisation I know very few people who have an IT educational background. The dominant group are people with old school engineering backgrounds (mechanical, civil, etc.).

4 thoughts on “Versatilists – is that really a word?”

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