Tuesday, July 10, 2007


So exactly what is an IT professional?

I run across too many individuals who think they are IT professionals simply because they are in an IT organization...

in the 80's when I entered IT, 95% of all folks in IT knew how to program. Today, if it is 20% within any large enterprise, you are doing well. With the invention of governance, the emergence of the Internet and so on, many folks who were graphics artists, project managers and business analysts all of a sudden were reorganized into the IT department. Over time these folks got it twisted and began to think that they are somehow IT professionals.

The funny thing is that everyone has an opinion on what an IT professional is nowadays. Some will even argue what the word professional means. One could say that a professional is someone who gets paid. I guess this makes the baristas at Starbucks or the high school dropout who flips burgers professionals which makes the word professional meaningless.

If you ask folks in India, they may say that a professional is a member of a profession which implies things like codes of ethics, licensing, etc which of course filters out the folks at Starbucks but also filters out most IT professionals. Maybe a professional is someone who puts on a monkey suite and speaks in cliche phrases that average humans don't understand, kinda like most CIOs in large enterprises. Maybe a professional is someone who is a huckster and great at spreading bullshit that is rapidly consumed in the blogosphere. I wonder if this makes folks who read my blog professionals?

When you make coffee without getting paid you're an amateur coffee maker. If you do it for a living, you're a professional coffee maker. That isn't "utterly meaningless". Professional musicians don't have codes of ethics. They get paid. That's what separates them from amateur musicians. And the world oldest profession still has no code of ethics, which begs the question of what really is the world's oldest profession?

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