02:03 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Business Technology: When Change Is Inevitable, Embrace It

There are signs that this extraordinary profession, which in 35 years has mutated in profound ways at breathtaking speeds, is simply in the midst of another massive overhaul, Bob Evans says.

  • Large-company CIOs are the most optimistic about adding new IT workers with the primary objective being the need to drive business growth, says a survey from Robert Half. Businesses in the following states were found to be the most likely to add staff: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Three-quarters of all respondents said they need Windows NT/2000/XP administrators, followed by Cisco network administrators and Check Point firewall admins and SQL Server managers. The point: The sky isn't falling; it might have rained pretty darn hard, but the sky is still up there.
  • A growing number of universities and colleges are realizing they need to revise their thinking about computer-science requirements to give their students broader, more well-rounded educations: Ohio State's Stuart Zweben, chair of the computer and information-science department, says there needs to be a greater emphasis on how computers affect businesses operations, as well as on communication and collaboration. When it comes to imparting that wider perspective, "I don't think most schools do that great of a job," Zweben says. "We don't do it here." Others insist that broader view must not be limited exclusively to business, but rather the impact of technology on all types of organizations, from helping researchers find new drugs, or designers make sleeker cars, or police solve a crime. "The one thing that's more important now than before is having an understanding of the application's domain," says Gerald Engel, a University of Connecticut computer-science professor.
  • And at Carnegie-Mellon University, "We're teaching our students the ability to work in teams, helping them develop communications and interpersonal skills, so they can communicate with those who aren't necessarily as tech-savvy," says assistant dean of undergraduate education Mark Stehlik. My colleague Eric Chabrow put it this way: "This interdisciplinary approach might be the salvation for computer science and could eventually attract a different breed of student than from an earlier generation. 'The students who come in want to do more than just hack,' Stehlik says. 'Some students have political designs; they're interested in greater issues that confront society: security, privacy. We're seeing students who are extending the notion of computer science.' "
  • That, I think, is the proper perspective. IT isn't dying; it's evolving, growing, and becoming more ubiquitous. And as it changes--which it has always done and will always do, no matter how much we wish it might just level off--so will the worlds of business, medical, and scientific research, music, movies (think about the origin of that word and what it will mean to young children as they grow up and ask, "Why do they call it a 'movie'? Did there used to be 'stand-stillies'?"), education, communication, and every other facet of our lives.

    Change is indeed constant, and we would all do well to embrace it.

    To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Bob Evans' forum on the Listening Post.

    To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

    2 of 2
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
    2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
    While 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
    Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
    White Papers
    Current Issue
    Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
    IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
    Twitter Feed
    InformationWeek Radio
    Archived InformationWeek Radio
    Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of September 25, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
    Sponsored Live Streaming Video
    Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
    Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.