Today, more than ever before, we are seeing the power of Information Technology at work. Beginning 27 years ago when the good people at CERN shared Tim Berners Lee’s invention of HTTP with the world, the uptake of the internet has become fundamental to 21st-century life. The advent of the mobile internet and ever-faster connections has changed the way we live our lives. IT Professionals have never been more important.
Still, many people don’t know exactly what IT workers do, exactly. You wouldn’t hear a surgeon or dentist described as, ‘Something to do with medicine,’ and yet, ‘Something to do with computers’ is often how professional IT workers have to describe themselves to explain their jobs to lay people.
But, in the same way that medical professionals have come to have hero status due to the Covid-19 pandemic, IT professionals need more recognition. There are the people who ensure that we’re able to work, communicate, shop, and play games without leaving out homes.
What do IT Professionals do?
There is a wide range of careers within IT, covering all aspects of human-computer interaction. Here’s a brief list of some of the specialisms available to people who want to pursue a career in IT.
Any website you visit will have been put together by a web developer. These are multi-skilled professionals who combine knowledge of design and user behavior with the technical skills to create the website itself.
Behind the look and feel of a website, there is some functionality. This is the code that lets the content writer create a blog post that gets displayed on the website, takes your contact details and turns them into an email for the sales department, or that programmed the AI chatbot which answers your questions. More details on the skills you need to become a backend developer here.
Any website sits on a web server, and a server admin takes care of it. They make sure that there’s enough bandwidth so all visitors can get to our site, ensure that the servers are backed up so if something happens we can quickly and easily get the site back up and running, and they keep the servers in top shape by applying patches and updates as they’re needed.
We’ve all heard about the threats to our computers from things like ransomware, phishing, and DOS (denial of service) attacks. Cybersecurity specialists are there to prevent things like that from happening. They’ll make sure that the right antivirus software is installed on our servers, and that our firewall is secure enough to prevent attacks.
Are you viewing this website on a mobile app? If you are then an app developer created the software that you’re using to view it. App developers are specialists who work on coding software for mobile devices like phones and tablet PCs – while development techniques tend to be the same no matter what platform a developer is working on, there are many different languages that are used to create them.
Then there are software developers who work on the applications that you use on your computer, or access via the cloud. As with web developers, they may be specialists who look at only the part of the software that the user deals with (User Interface or UX developers) or they might work on the processes that go on behind the scenes. A ‘full-stack’ developer is one who works on everything from front end through to the back.
Websites and software generate a lot of data, and a business analyst is a person who will make sense of that data for the company. A business analyst will take the raw data and manipulate it so that it helps the business to make decisions; for example, is most of a company’s new business is coming from one geographical area, that’s the place they need to recruit more salespeople.
If your business uses computers or the internet in any form, then IT professionals are important to your continued success. As we said before, these guys can often be the unsung heroes of a company. The impact that a salesperson can make on a company is more tangible; you can see the zeroes on the end of the contract that helps you quantify what they’ve done for the company. It can be harder to quantify with IT.
Hiring the Best
Unfortunately, as some companies have learned the hard way, hiring the wrong IT talent can be catastrophic. For example, in 2009 a bug in the software caused the London Stock Exchange to shut down – twice. The result was billions of pounds in lost income, and lives were ruined when guilty secrets were revealed in the Ashley Madison hack.
While mistakes happen, there are things you can do to improve your chances of hiring the best person. One of those is to choose a recruitment agency which specializes in recruiting IT professionals. Regular agencies struggle to understand the nuances in IT roles, you don’t want a list of candidates who are, ‘something to do with computers’, you want a list of people with the right skills and experience to deliver for your company.
The best aren’t always in your backyard, though. If you’re set up to allow IT professionals to work from home, then you can hire the best talent from anywhere in the world. Technical staff are a real driving force in the world of remote work, creating a raft of tools that make collaborating and communicating easier. Tools that we’re all making great use of right now, as we wait out the worst of C-19 in our home.
Check out this review by Sharon Koifman, DistantJob’s Founder, about some of the most useful tools for remote working:
We know that if you’re not technical yourself, that hiring IT professionals can be a daunting task – let us make it easy for you. We’ll find the best people who are not only qualified and experienced but also know how to deliver while working remotely. We handle all the paperwork of hiring someone who works overseas, and we can do it fast, too. If you could use some help, get in touch today.