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Roles and responsibilities in information technology Fundamentals of Information Technology Session 1.

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1 Roles and responsibilities in information technology Fundamentals of Information Technology Session 1

2 Development and use IT systems have two distinct major phases in their lifecycle –Development This refers to any activity that is required to bring a system to the point where it is ready to be released for public use –Use This refers to the operational deployment of a system in a real world setting

3 Development and use In reality, there is often some overlap between these phases. This overlap is often referred to as piloting. This is where a system is released to selected users with the understanding that it is probably not yet in a fully functional state (e.g. bug and logical error free)

4 The development lifecycle The development phase of an IT system is called the development lifecycle The are several ways of representing the development lifecycle – the most common is the waterfall model This model has a number of distinct phases

5 Roles and responsibilities Some roles and responsibilities pertain (roughly) to different phases of the development lifecycle

6 Roles and responsibilities Other roles span across development phases

7 Roles and responsibilities In smaller companies, roles and responsibilities are often combined into generalist positions A generalist is somebody who can perform several roles competently (e.g. systems analysis, design and implementation)

8 Roles and responsibilities Some IT roles are related only to use rather than to development or support

9 Creative versus technical roles IT roles are considered to be either creative or technical Creative roles are connected with design issues and visual (interface) factors. They include: –Web designers –Graphic designers –Multimedia producers Creative roles require strong problem-solving skills as well as strong visual/perceptive skills. In some roles (e.g. graphics, animation and video production), strong artistic skills are also required

10 Creative versus technical roles Technical roles include –Programmers –Database developers –Network engineers These roles generally require strong analytical and logical skills Understanding the extent to which you are creative or technical will help you choose an appropriate role in information technology for yourself

11 Hybrid roles Some roles are both creative and technical and require both creative and technical skills This includes such roles as: –Web developers –Systems analysts –Multimedia programmers However, it is unusual for individuals to have well- developed skills in both the creative and technical spheres

12 Management roles The main IT management role on the development side is the project manager Project managers require a strong understanding of all stages of development They need to be able to speak the language of analysts, designers, developers, and testers The best project managers usually have hands-on experience of two or more disciplines (e.g. analysis, design, programming) They also have strong management and other soft skills

13 Hard versus soft skills Every role in IT has its own set of hard skills (e.g. the ability to build programs in Java or C++ or to build web pages in XHTML and CSS) However, all IT roles require a range of soft skills. These include: –Organization of self and others –Communication (written, spoken) –Problem-solving –Group/teamwork –Time-management Soft skills are often referred to as transferable skills because they can be transferred between positions and roles. Having good transferable skills considerably improves your chances of employment (What use is a programmer that cannot write documentation?)

14 The importance of teams Primary amongst the soft/transferable skills required by IT professionals is teamwork Almost all IT professionals work in teams. On large projects teams can have hundreds of members which are sometimes spilt into smaller sub-teams

15 Professionalism in IT The British Computer Society (BCS) is the overseeing professional body for IT professionals BCS membership –gives you industry recognition of your qualifications, skills and experience through recognised accreditation –provides education, training and professional guidance –improves job prospects by providing career guidance –provides opportunities for networking with fellow professionals Students can join the BCS, gain valuable knowledge of the industry and make useful contacts from day one of their course

16 Finding yourself a role in IT What do you need? –A degree - The better the degree the more interest you will get from employers –Experience – Any kind of IT experience will help you. Part-time work, internships, work experience (e.g. Graduate Talent Pool), voluntary work, work-related study (year 3)Graduate Talent Pool –Direction – It is important you identify where your strengths are during the foundation degree and develop those strengths –Knowledge of the job market – Get to know where jobs are advertised The IT Job Board CW Jobs BCS Birkbeck Careers –Determination – The IT industry is not as easy a place to find jobs as it once was, but there are still plenty of jobs there for those determined to succeed

17 FIT Session 1 - Activities Now do –Activity 1 – Roles and responsibilities in IT

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