Turning Our Backs On Tech

Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

Turning Our Backs On Tech

  • Comments 4

Or perhaps the growing shortage of Chief Information Officers (CIOs). All of a sudden I've been getting copies of or links to this column in Fortune by Geoff Colvin. According to some sources there is a shortage of really qualified CIOs in the US. I can't say that I am surprised.

Being a CIO (I was one once in a small scale and without the title and pay check) requires a difficult mix of skills. Sure you have to be tech savvy but you also have to be business savvy and people savvy. Geeks who work best locked in a dark room coming out only for pizza, Jolt or Chinese takeout need not apply.

The column says a few things I have been trying to say.:

It isn't coding in cubicles anymore. Those jobs really are going offshore, and they should be. The jobs that remain are more demanding, higher paying, and multiplying fast - if only there were people to fill them.

This is a problem and companies, especially high technology companies have to have a hand in fixing it. They have to show people, especially students that there is a future, a bright, fun, exciting future, in computer science and information technology. But parents and teachers have to get involved as well.

Spread the word - "Companies big and small desperately need well-rounded IT experts."

  • You (the collective of education) have to make up your minds.  Either there's a bright future, or offshore is going to kill the industry.  There are plenty of bright people that think they have no interest in being CIOs, and just want to be developers.  A lot of these people later discover they wouldn't mind being CIO, but never try to enter the industry at all because they've been told developers have no future in the US.

  • Education has to take their lead from industry. It is not up to education to decide what the needs are but to understand them. A lot of the problem is the main stream media making a big deal about outsourcing and not providing a balanced perspective.

  • Every CIO I've ever known was an idiot. The position doesn't require any technical skills at all.  If I'm a bright technically inclined high school senior, why major in a field where "Those jobs really are going offshore, and they should be"?  If this is true, then what is the entry level position for all of the "demanding, higher paying" CIO jobs?  Why major in computer science or math, when you need "people savvy" and "business savvy"?  Do youself a favor, major in business or marketing and party on the weekends.  That way you'll get those all important "soft skills" that management types think are so important. (and they think they are important because that's all they have).  When your systems go down, you can call a meeting and talk about it using all the correct buzz words, but you won't actually be able to fix it.  I can't tell you how many projects I've been on where I was the only one doing any actual work, but the meetings were full of people with "people savvy" and "business savvy" wasting my time.

  • I think that a CIO without a technical background is going to often look like an idiot. Just because a lot of people seem to be hiring idiots or non-technical people to be CIOs doesn't mean it is a good idea.

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