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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

   

Information Technology : Diversification

The size and reach of the information industry has generated innumerable spin-offs. Some of these are:

Consultancy

Systems analyst and designers can ultimately become independent consultants. Their work involves advising prospective users on whether a system would be beneficial to their operations, and if so, which computer would best suit the requirements of their company. Considerable experience of the IT scene, plus specialist knowledge in a sphere like commercials banking or retailing, or an industrial or educational area, is essential. A group of professionals can also open their own consultancy organization and provide services like feasibility studies, hardware or software selection, software development, data processing, and other computer-linked services.

Those services are generally categorized as consultancies, for which appropriate fees are charged. Clients may be the government or companies in the public or private sector. Work is in major areas of development, including software engineering, communications, and strategic planning for computerization.

Computer Education

Computer professionals with an aptitude for teaching can make this their full-time career. This is an important function, and could involve

  •  training personnel in organizations in end-user computing;

  •  training student aspiring to career in computers; or

  •  training computer professionals in advanced technologies.

  • Employment opportunities would be as computer instructors in training institutes.

Technical Writing

This work involves writing technical manuals, especially for mini and microcomputers. It requires the ability to describe complex processes in clear, succinct and unequivocal terms, as well as a thorough understanding of both, the capabilities and limitations of the machine and its functions. Manual writers must know much more about the subject than do the people for whom they are writing. Written material can be for print or for 'screen dialogue', and must be user-friendly to be easily understood by amateurs and experts. Technical writers may be employed by manufacturers, consultancies, or companies with large computer installations. They can also work freelance.

Knowledge Engineering

A new and fast growing area of work, this involves the application of 'expert systems' to commerce, industry and service sectors. A knowledge engineer designs computer systems that are normally associated with a human expert-for example, medical diagnosis or industrial safety systems.

Network and Communications Specialists

They support the local area networks which allow computerized stations to communicate with each other. Networking has become a means of integrating both, computer applications and business functions. Work this area covers networks design, implementation support, and management. This is predicted to be a big potential growth area, and suitable staff are in short supply.

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