Inspiring Success

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November 14, 2016

Who is a Technologist?

By Charles Eaton

CEIn my last post, I argued the case for teenagers – young people who today are in their middle school to high school years – as the generation that ultimately can close the tech skills gap in the U.S. market. That is if we can inspire them to start pursuing tech careers now. I called this mission “educating the next generation of technologists.”

“Technologist” is not a term we hear often in the technology industry. We hear labels for people who work with technology such as “IT workers,” “coders” or sometimes “techies.” But “technologist” is not as common a category in business.

But it should be, because it’s a label that applies not only to the day-to-day work of people in companies of all shapes and sizes across the country, but to a broad spectrum of industries – not just those that create software and build hardware.

So, who is a technologist? Technologists have diverse interests and multifaceted personalities, but most share these five traits:
  • A Technologist Thinks Strategy First
    The first definition of “strategy” is a “plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.” Technologists favor strategies before tactics – i.e., actions and activities implemented to achieve an objective. Rather than a reflection of values, this intellectual sequence is a simple acknowledgement of the way most technologists are wired. Before they start working with technology or put technology to work, technologists step back and plan.
  • A Technologist Has a Passion for Solving Problems and a General Curiosity
    Technologists don’t see problems as obstacles to avoid; they consider problems opportunities for solutions. Their innate curiosity leads them to confront challenges even when they are not obvious. And their willingness to take initiative drives them to explore ideas, options and scenarios as a means of identifying and designing constructive solutions.
  • A Technologist Sees Technology in a Constructive Context
    Technologists appreciate that, in the broadest sense, technology is a tool whose value is determined by its application for the benefit and assistance of people – whether in their personal or professional lives.
  • A Technologist Believes Tech Is about Humans, not Hardware
    Technologists see gadgetry as solutions that serve people. No gadget has value unless it helps a customer, colleague, citizen, patient or any other type of person a technologist may encounter during a career. Technologists believe the measure of a job well done is the benefit the technology solution brings the people who experienced the problem.
  • A Technologist Values Respect, Cooperation and Collaboration
    Technologists maintain a positive, helpful disposition on the job and in relationships in or out of the workplace. They respect their employers’ codes of conduct, appreciate the contributions of colleagues and understand that going rogue isn’t the best way to analyze a problem, execute a strategy or implement a solution in a business context. This is the reason a technologist’s standards of behavior do not tolerate racism, sexism, ageism or any other approach that demeans others inside or outside an organization.
Now, why do I believe today’s teens are suited to become tomorrow’s technologists? That’s my next post.