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Computing & Information Services Newsletter
 Don't Tell Mom That I'm a Doctor, She Thinks I'm an IT Employee

According to the "The Bussiness Sectors that the Families Wish to Encourage their Children to Work" survey of Bilişim International Research Co., the IT sector, which is a combination of computer and Internet sectors, comes first with a percentage of 30% in the ranking of the families, the second ranking sector is the medical sector with a percentage of 22%, and the third ranking sector is banking and finance sector with a percentage of 20%. It is very likely that the stereotype boasting expression "…ne doktorlar ne mühendisler istedi…"of the Turkish parents about the distinguished professions (such as doctors and engineers) of the male candidates willing to marry their daughters, will now, undoubtedly, include the IT employees as well. Who are these 'IT employees' and what kind of characteristics become evident when looked at their skills, personality profiles and levels of information?

The standards of American Statistics Institute emphasize the fact that the types of IT workers are not restricted with programmers, system operators or technical support employees; if the value that the employee adds to the field of information technologies is more than 50%, then this employee should be regarded as an IT employee as well.

The IT sector of Turkey is a rather 'young' one, and this fact manifests itself on the employees of IT sector, which are very young as well. According to a survey of the Power magazine, Internet and IS sectors have the youngest employees in senior executive positions. It is very likely today to come across a 30 year old person occupying the position of a general manager. When we consider the fact that the age of graduation from a university is 23-24 in our country, the young CEOs apparently seem to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they possess rather than the extent of experience they have in their fields. Majority of the specialists working in this sector say that rather than having a package of years of experience, the IT employees distinguish themselves with such skills as adaptability, ability to take risks and ability to follow up emerging advancements and innovations in their fields.

Not only the executive officers of IT sector must possess the assets such as being innovative and being curious about learning new things, but every employee working in the IT sector should have such qualifications. Superonline Human Resources Director Kaan Böke thinks that IT employees should not work 'tactically', that is working within the boundaries of predefined tasks, rather, they should be working 'strategically', which means that they should be fully concentrated on researching and exercising their initiatives. Strategical working requires one to possess technical knowledge/skills, and, moreover, a curiosity to explore and learn to keep their knowledge fresh and up-to-date, and an ability to readily adapt themselves to the unpredictable or the unknown, which are outcomes of innovation.

One of the main characteristics that the IT employees share is that they are educated people. Majority of them are graduates of undergraduate or masters programs. Surprisingly, not only the graduates of computer or electrical/electronics engineering departments are recruited for the job openings in the IT sector, but also graduates of statistics, mathematics, chemistry departments of Arts and Sciences Faculties and other engineering departments are hired for the IT related positions.

Unfortunately, our country is importing instead of exporting technology, therefore IT resources available in Turkish are not sufficient to meet the neeeds of those people who would like to learn about the latest information in this ever evolving sector. Inescapably, people have to know at least one foreign language (especially Engish) to keep up with the latest technology news.

Beside all these skills and expertise required, surveys reveal some other interesting results about IT personnel. 'IT workers' generally have a withdrawn, intuitive, meditative and critical personality. They generally tend to disesteem titles and positions. Since IT employees are young and inexperienced, they are more likely to question the status quo and take a stand against rules and regulations to a certain extent. Generally, they would like to specify their own list of criteria and priorities about a job, and they tend to stay indifferent against rules/procedures .

Up until now, we have talked about individual characteristics, soft skills; as for the technical knowledge, hard skills, we can say that the broader the scope of IT sector is, the more diversified the hard skills are. In the survey "Human Resources Survey for IT Sector" , Ali Yazıcı and Ali Arifoğlu treated the subject of the skills generally demanded by the companies. The outcome of this survey may demonsrate us the technical profile of employees in the IT sector. According to this survey, the most important professional skills that the employers seek in employees are as follows:

a) Running the operating systems and administration of computer systems (Unix and NT based)
b) Sound knowledge of communication/network technologies and network administration (LAN, WAN, TCP/IP and other protocols; Router/Switch and Internet/Intranet)
c) Object programming and systems (Delphi, Visual Basic etc.)
d) Running VTYS and developing applications on it (Oracle relational VTYS, SQL etc.)
e) Internet/web site administration and using tools for developing sites (Frontpage, CGI/Perl programming, HTML etc.)

And what about motivation? What are the factors that enhance IT employees' dedication to work or the satisfaction they get from their jobs? When talking about motivation, the first name that comes to mind is A. Maslow. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, first and foremost satisfaction that people long for is the satisfaction of physiological needs, which correspond to monetary satisfaction in the bussiness world.

According to a survey about salaries, the starting salary of a new grad dealing with networking or system administrating is $1500-1750 on the average (according January 2001 USD exchange rates); this amount is higher than the starting salaries of new grads in other departments such as sales, marketing or finance. If we suppose that IT workers are relatively satisfied with their salaries, we can move on to next steps on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The next steps in this hierarchy correspond to concepts such as safety needs (safety at work, fair working conditions), social needs (relationships with colleagues), esteem needs (achievement, application of skills, being appreciated), self-actualization needs (creativity). Sarah Prost, in her article titled "IT Talent Looks Beyond Money", argues that: "IT Companies are moving beyond compensation to attract employees; they offer not only competitive salaries but challenging work environment and extensive training." To draw IT employees is no more easy as F. Taylor's suggestion about incentive system which depends on in his time-motion studies. In this respect, Human Resources Managers and all other executives has a lot to do, which I will try to explain in the article that will appear in the next issue. How about you, the IT employee who has just read this article, could you see yourself in this picture?


1) Kılıç M., "Bizim Çocuk Bilgisayarcı", Hürriyet İnsan Kaynakları, 17 Sep. 2000, No: 204
2) Bilişim'99 Conference - Bilgi Teknolojilerinin İytiyaç Duyduğu İnsan Kaynağı Panel notes
3) Bilişim'00 Conference - Sabah İşte İnsan Teknoloji Meeting notes
4) "Power Dergisi", Jan. 2001
5) Yazıcı A. & Arifoğlu A., "Bilişim Sektörü İçin Bir insan Kaynakları Araştırması", Türk Bilişim Derneği - Bilişim Dergisi, 2001
6) Ebscohost Data Base

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