“BICSI-ing” the Future of Information and Communications Technology
By Don Hennessy, RCDD, NTS, WD, RTPM, PMP, LEED AP BD+C
Attending virtually was, however, not without its sacrifices. I missed being able to personally interact with other ICT professionals from around the world, renewing old relationships and developing new ones. And there is still no substitute for the ability to leisurely walk the exhibit hall to check out product offerings and discuss new technologies and solutions for problems. Direct in-person interaction with a product specialist is still the best way to explore advancements in technology.
But I digress…
As I alluded to before, this year’s virtual conference was packed with educational tracks including audio/visual, data centers, intelligent buildings/smart cities/internet of things, wireless and distributed antenna systems, and more. While it was fun to be able to explore a number of these offerings, I found one to be particularly engaging: ICT Professional Development.
While the exact definition of information and communications technology (ICT) is debatable, its importance to all facets of business and society is undisputed. ICT is sometimes used interchangeably with IT (information technology); however, ICT is generally used to represent a broader, more comprehensive list of all components related to computer and digital technologies than IT. Some definitions go wider still to include antiquated technologies such as landline telephones, radio broadcasts, and television transmissions, though I tend to focus on the digital sphere. While there is no single, universally accepted definition for ICT, I think it is safe to categorize the term to mean all devices, networking components, systems, and applications that work together to allow us to interact in the digital world.
For such a wide range of potential career paths available to ICT professionals, I am shocked by the industry’s recent difficulties enticing and educating the next generation of tech leaders to pursue ICT consulting as a career. A session led by Trevor Kleinert called “Educating the Current & Future Generations in the ICT Industry” particularly resonated with me. Here are some key takeaways from the presentation:
As the skills needed to manage technology and telecommunications converge, the number of potential career paths continues to expand. Areas of popular ICT specialties include:
Today’s successful ICT job candidates do not necessarily need an advanced degree. Professional certifications in a number of career tracts are enough to satisfy employment requirements.
I am also concerned about the diminishing number of mentors. The current talent pool of ICT instructors continues to decline. However, BICSI still manages to offer a wide variety of ICT courses taught but our industry’s most competent and experienced leaders. We must maintain a support structure to serve ICT candidates. This support should come from many sources including professionals, colleagues, individuals as well as friends and family.
Finally, our industry must be cognitive of the cost of achieving goals and objectives financially and personally. There must be economic incentives coupled with a healthy work/life balance to support this next generation of ICT professionals.
In conclusion, I believe it is incumbent upon us to ensure the future of the ICT industry by finding, encouraging, supporting, and training our future replacements. Without our individual dedication to this cause, we are putting the future of ICT best practices at risk.
Don Hennessy freely shares knowledge gained through his years of experience managing numerous high- and low-voltage electrical work and construction projects as part of fulfilling ESD’s mission to improve society through the built environment.
Contact us to learn more about how ESD can help solve your technology and other built environment challenges.
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