Thursday, September 2, 2010

Another Top 10 Essential IT Skills

Brian Posey posted a blog article on Microsoft TechNet called "IT Skills Development: Top 10 Essential IT Skills" which is pretty good.  I don't necessarily agree with his list, even on a purely pragmatic level, but after reading it I got to thinking about a more realistic "Top 10 List" of my own.  However, there is one VERY IMPORTANT aspect that Brian overlooked:  The skills you need are directly associated with [a] the job role you have now, and [b] the job role you are trying to attain.  Because the IT field has become increasingly specialized, the skills are also becoming more specific to each role.  So I'll try to break it down by general roles

PC Technician

  1. Master eating spicy foods and consuming lots of beer or Jaegermeister
  2. Know your sports teams and league standings
  3. Know country or pop / hip-hop music
  4. Know at least ten dirty jokes
  5. Jeans, Van's shoes, T-shirts that say "There's no place like 127.0.01"

Software Engineer

  1. Master your iPod or Zune, etc. (coders rarely talk, they work alone)
  2. Learn the latest buzz terms even if you work with 1990's technology
  3. Starbucks for breakfast, lunch and maybe dinner
  4. Know your alternative musicians and hep TV shows
  5. Jeans, flip-flops, T-shirts that say "void main()…"

Systems Engineer / Architect / Analyst

  1. Play fantasy football or be fluent about some Pro sports league
  2. Put charts and diagrams on every wall (MSDN PDC charts work great)
  3. Buy the latest smartphone (DroidX, iPhone4, etc.) and learn enough secret tips to impress your coworkers while you…
  4. Go out to lunch almost every day
  5. Dockers, Polo shirts, casual dress shoes, sunglasses on top of head even at night.

Department Manager

  1. Stock cabinet with Mylanta, Exedrin and Vitamins
  2. Learn to appreciate cold coffee (I'm not talking about iced latte's either)
  3. Picture frames with family and fishing trips (the kind you'll never go on again)
  4. Dying potted plants
  5. Dockers, Dress shirts with rolled sleeves and sloppy tie, stained t-shirt underneath

Project Manager

  1. Books about PMP trends
  2. Framed PMP certs on walls, desk junk also
  3. Stacks of useless papers all over the place
  4. An inefficient meeting calendar with no time to do anything besides meetings
  5. Similar attire to Department Manager on bad days, more like CTO on good days


  1. Sharp dresser, spend a lot on clothing
  2. Drive a nice sports car, keep it clean and shiney also
  3. Latest smartphone
  4. Laugh at all the CIO, and CxO jokes (and know enough semi-dirty jokes for the after-parties)
  5. Dockers or Suit.  Hawaiian shirts on Fridays, if you even come in on Fridays


  1. BMW, Lexus, Infinity or Cadillac SUV with golf clubs sticking out the back
  2. Picture frames with grandchildren and platoon photos from back in the miliary
  3. Sports memorabilia (autographed baseball gloves, footballs, framed photos, etc.)
  4. Business Philosophy books on shelves (with plenty of dust on them)
  5. Suits, Suits and more Suits

Ok, so these are all 5's, not 10's.  Eh.

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