Gone, it seems, are the days of IT and computer departments being hidden away in the dungeons, catacombs and nether regions of the business, far away from the seeing eyes of management, sales and marketing departments. The guys with all the “people skills.” No longer do the squints exist to fix the problems of the people departments, simply enabling them, by virtue of their knowledge and expertise, and occasionally emerging into the sunlight to tackle the trickier things, to get on with the real business of the business.
No longer. Now they are an essential part of businesses themselves. And employers expect bigger things.
And so something happened in our first week of class, and I am glad for it. Our very first unit in a course called Technical Web Design consisted of “soft skills.”
While many were understandably eager to get right into the technical learning (myself included), these were extremely valuable things to talk about. And we did many exercises to get things flowing. We practiced teamwork, interpersonal skills, conflict management (something that has proved an invaluable skill in my own life already), and self awareness: all essential things for functioning properly – nay, succeeding – in a business environment.
A further aid to understanding ourselves was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – this helps to identify the way we take in information, make decisions, gain our energy and interact with people. This was the second time I did this test in the last 2 months, and it seems to be strikingly accurate (despite some people’s initial reactions), and helpful in the analysis of what makes a person tick. What’s your type?
A bonus outcome of all this was the jumpstart to getting to know my classmates, who for all intents and purposes are from here on out my colleagues. After all, if we wish to be valuable assets to a business or organization, what better place than to first practice in a classroom environment?
NEXT WEEK: diving head first into crafting and designing web sites. Bring on the coding!