In this section, we have reviewed the many different categories of individuals who make up the people component of information systems. The world of information technology is changing so fast that new roles are being created all the time, and roles that have existed for decades are being phased out. That said, this section should have given you a good idea of the importance of the people component of information systems.
- Describe the role of a systems analyst.
- What are some of the different roles for a computer engineer?
- What does the CIO do?
- Describe the job of a project manager.
- Explain the point of having two different career paths in information systems.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of centralizing the IT function?
- What impact has information technology had on the way companies are organized?
- Why would an organization outsource?
- Which IT job would you like to have? Do some original research and write a two-page paper describing the duties of the job you are interested in.
- Spend a few minutes on Dice or Monster to find IT jobs in your area. What IT jobs are currently available? Write up a two-page paper describing three jobs, their starting salary (if listed), and the skills and education needed for the job.
- How is the IT function organized in your school or place of employment? Create an organization chart showing how the IT organization fits into your overall organization. Comment on how centralized or decentralized the IT function is.
- What type of IT user are you? Take a look at the five types of technology adopters and then write a one-page summary of where you think you fit in this model.
- Rogers, E. M. (1962). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press↵
Sidebar: Are Certifications Worth Pursuing?
As technology is becoming more and more important to businesses, hiring employees with technical skills is becoming critical. But how can an organization ensure that the person they are hiring has the necessary skills? These days, many organizations are including technical certifications as a prerequisite for getting hired.
Certifications are designations given by a certifying body that someone has a specific level of knowledge in a specific technology. This certifying body is often the vendor of the product itself, though independent certifying organizations, such as CompTIA, also exist. Many of these organizations offer certification tracks, allowing a beginning certificate as a prerequisite to getting more advanced certificates. To get a certificate, you generally attend one or more training classes and then take one or more certification exams. Passing the exams with a certain score will qualify you for a certificate. In most cases, these classes and certificates are not free and, in fact, can run into the thousands of dollars. Some examples of the certifications in highest demand include Microsoft (software certifications), Cisco (networking), and SANS (security).
For many working in IT (or thinking about an IT career), determining whether to pursue one or more of these certifications is an important question. For many jobs, such as those involving networking or security, a certificate will be required by the employer as a way to determine which potential employees have a basic level of skill. For those who are already in an IT career, a more advanced certificate may lead to a promotion. There are other cases, however, when experience with a certain technology will negate the need for certification. For those wondering about the importance of certification, the best solution is to talk to potential employers and those already working in the field to determine the best choice.