Staying Relevant in the Workforce as an IT Professional

Organisations rely on the knowledge of their staff to stay competitive in the marketplace(Shoham & Hasgall 2005). Shoham pointed out that organisation knowledge is the sum of their employees knowledge.

Organisations need to actively engage their employees to analyse what is the relevant knowledge and skills that organisation need from their staff to stay competitive in the market place. Organisation can use a SWOT analysis by positioning their knowledge between two spectrum exploration vs. exploitation and internal vs. external knowledge (Zach 1999). Defining a set of knowledge need in an organisation improves the organisation effectiveness(Dennis& Vessey 2005).

Shoham suggest that it is also the staff responsibility to take a proactive approach to equip themselves with the right kind of knowledge and skill to keep them relevant to the organisations. Personal knowledge management of organisation staff is very important and it need to be constantly re-align to the worker organisation (Zweig et al 2005). Employees are responsible to manage their own knowledge and alert the management if they identify certain gap in their skill that need to be filled in by the company.

Innovation in information technology happens very rapidly. The knowledge of a certain software or programming language they an IT worker now today may expire within a year or half a year. IT professional need to be able to develop a personal knowledge management strategy. The first step to develop knowledge is to scan available data around us (Boissot 1998). Filtering and abstracting these data to codified knowledge will produce useful knowledge (Boissot 1998).

Scanning IT trends can be an challenging task. Asset Management KM is a KM tool that can help us to manage knowledge artefact (Binney 2001). iGoogle is my personal Asset Management KM that I use to scan various technology data and information. iGoogle is your personal portal that Google create when you sign up for an account in Google.

Two of my favourite tools in iGoogle are Google Reader and Gmail. I save my favourite news in Google Reader. I categorize my RSS Feed into several categories such as ‘Programming News’, ‘Software News’, ‘IT Gear News’,’Gadgets’,’Productivity (Life Hacks) News’ etc. Google Reader allow me to scan relevant technical updates within a glance, allowing me to pick up the most important topic or trend to follow up. Google Reader recommends other RSS News feed that has relevance to the existing RSS News that I saved in Google Reader. I can also share the RSS news that I read with the public (http://www.google.co.nz/reader/shared/user%2F16050634961287196556%2Flabel%2FSoftware) and let other people comment on these news and provide suggestion or feedback to add more value on the information.

Gmail allow me to ‘label’ or tag my email into different categories such as email news, personal email, or work related email. Labelling my emails allow me to look for relevant technological email updates easily from the hundreds of email that come to my inbox. Gmail also allow me to download my email into my laptop so that I can archive important email for future reference.

There are other more sophisticated tool to manage our personal knowledge that may drill a hole in our wallet. Until I can afford  such expensive tools, Google Reader and Gmail are low cost web technology that we can transform to manage and potentially augment our knowledge.

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About zainul franciscus

Hi, I am a software developer and tech blogger who is currently living in Wellington, New Zealand. I write stuff that I find interesting on
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