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Not only are the type of jobs we do changing, the locations of work is changing too. When Britain changed in the 19th century from an agricultural to an industrial society, more and more workers were forced to move from farm work into towns and large industrial centres. The advent of communications technology is now starting to reverse this trend. There is no need for much of the work of an organisation to be done at a Head Office in a city; it is often more economical for it to be done in a more remote area where office rates and housing are cheaper, and employees can be paid less. Results of data processing can be transferred to wherever they are needed via a telecommunications line.

In fact, many large companies such as some airlines and the London Underground have their daily data processing carried out in countries like India where labour is cheap and plentiful. i) Case Study: Remote working (Source: Paul Bray, The Sunday Times 27 April 1997) j) Personal qualities for ICT professionals To rise to the top as an ICT professional, you will need more than technical knowledge and the right qualifications. A browse through a single day’s advertisements for jobs in ICT will soon throw up commonly required characteristics in prospective employees. Look at the extracts shown below in the figure and see what you can pick out.

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Communication skills. Many jobs such as those of a technical support engineer or systems analyst involve working with non-technical end-users. The ability to listen carefully and understand a user’s problem or requirements is one of the most important skills required for a systems analyst. You have to act as a liaison between non-technical users and managers on one hand, and technical people on the other. You must be sensitive to the concerns of managers, programmers, end-users and employees. You must also be able to communicate the information and proposals in clear English in written reports, and give oral presentations when required.

Ability to take the initiative. This is one of the most highly rated skills for ICT professionals, according to a recent survey. Management skills. Project leaders, system analysts, network administrators or database administrators, among others, needed to be able to manage schedules, resources and people. They also need to be able to motivate the people working for them and may need to manage change within an organisation. Design Skills. A system analyst, for example, requires creative and critical thinking as well as the technical knowledge to design new systems.

Problem solving abilities. Anyone involved with user support, after-sales service or programming will need well-developed problem-solving abilities. Exercises 1. Individuals and organisations have become so dependent upon I.T. systems that the consequences of their failure could be catastrophic to the individual or the organisation. Give two different examples of types of I.T. system for which failure would be catastrophic. In each case explain why the failure could prove to be catastrophic.

2. Briefly describe two social impacts and two organisational impacts commonly identified as a result of introducing computerised information systems into business organisations. 3. Through the 1990s an increasing number of people have become teleworkers. These are people who work from home using a personal computer linked to a Wide Area Network via a modem and the telephone system. Discuss, with the aid of specific examples, the advantages and disadvantages to individuals, organisations and society of this type of employment. 4. Professional progression within the ICT industry requires more than just technical skills. Give three other necessary qualities and explain why they are important.

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