In this day and age almost nothing in our day to day activities is untouched by technology. Most communication in business is rarely done face to face in relation to virtual communication for instance: customer communication with banks, household bill payments or retail markets giving options for payment to consumers via mobile phone or cards. A large number of our current students have grown up alongside technology if not having actively interacted with screens from primary school.

Technological disruption in various industries has demanded the uptake or inculcation of technology into the way people do business whether it is for communication purposes, distribution or operations, as well as expecting the consumer to take a hands-on approach in how they partake in services from providers for instance, the airline ticketing process. Considering most, if not all of us, use technology from the time we wake up to when we get back to bed, we are aware that it is here to stay.

The potential for growth in the industry can also be seen through the Government of Kenya’s investment as reflected in the 2017/2018 budget, where close to KES 15.6 billion is allocated to the ICT sector. In addition, according to the 2017 Economic Outlook by Deloitte, Kenya’s internet connectivity has increased by 25% in the last 3 years, with fibre optic connectivity accounting for nearly 97% of underground internet connections, therefore boosting connectivity in Kenya and the world. Cloud computing and broader IT services markets have also benefitted from the modernization of the public and private sectors.

The quick espousal of technology from home, to cars, to class, to office and business, gives a good indication of the importance of a career in the IT industry. So as an APT and IST major student, what skills can give one an edge over others in this fast-growing field?

Skills required of successful IT professionals:

Analytical skills: This is essential in problem-solving which is a major part of a career in IT, where one is required to look at problems from various angles, analyze them and provide/recommend the best solutions available.

Interpersonal skills: This goes against the stereotype that technology professionals are unsociable people who like to work alone or with technology only. Technology is now a big part of how business is done through various departments, and therefore professional in this field need to know how to comfortably listen, speak and explain solutions to their others in organizations.

Focus: IT professionals who can concentrate on a task or work on solutions to problems without getting distracted will be more valuable than those who are not.

Multitasking: While we spoke of being focused on a task, it is also important as an IT professional to multitask. In most roles, IT professionals will be asked to troubleshoot or help out with an issue internal or external to the organization. Even if one is working on a specific project, various other requests may come up that would need to get addressed.

Proactivity: Technology can be viewed as both a good thing and a bad thing in organizations. It can help save time when used effectively, but also slow things down if people don’t know how to use its tools or if it’s not working well. A functioning help desk can solve a lot of these issues and contribute to the output of the organization.