Re: IT Education vs Training
Just because you own a car doesn't mean you take mechanics classes so that you can maintain it - you outsource the maintenance.
A common challenge in this conversation is confusing the user with the professional.
I absolutely agree that I, as an automobile owner, will find benefit in "outsourcing" my automotive maintenance needs. The alternative being [a] doing it myself, or [b] hiring a personal automotive mechanic -- neither of which are economically viable solutions.
However... I still expect the mechanics who work for my chosen outsourced provider to have the skills necessary to perform their jobs. As I've commented elsewhere, if I take my SuperDuty Diesel Truck into an automotive shop and the mechanic/technician on duty can't figure out why it doesn't have spark plugs, we're all in a big heap of trouble.
The same analogy applies to IT. A computer USER... a business productivity worker... an information worker.. whatever you want to call them, has absolutely no need to understand the workings of the computer network. They click on an icon and magically the document gets transported from the disk drive of the server to the application on their desktop and the world is a great place for them to be.
But, if that event does not happen as expected, the Help Desk Operator on the other end of the phone call (email, IM, whatever) had better have a solid grasp of how networking works, from the server, through the switch, cabling, software, protocols, etc., all the way to the desktop, if they're going to be of any use to that user whatsoever. If the only thing that HDO can do is follow a pre-written diagnostic checklist and the problem is not one of those "pre-defined" situations, the problem doesn't get solved.
Now.... as an employer, I have a need to provide certain technology support services to my employees so they can deal with technology issues that fall outside the scope of their job duties. It's irrelevant whether I hire a full-time employee and put them at a desk in the workplace, or I higher a service-provider to take those calls. I still have the need, as a business owner, for exactly the same level of competence and service in meeting the needs of my staff. If the person tasked with solving that problem is incapable of solving the problem, I have a bigger problem than just the inability of my IT worker to perform the tasks of an IT worker: Now I also have an information worker who cannot perform their job either (through no fault of theirs).