Flagship Research Quarterly of the Indian School of Business (ISB). Find out more

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Past Issue • Jan-Mar 2015

Creating the Next Generation Information Technology Workforce

With the information technology (IT) landscape growing and shifting at a rapid pace, the definition of the IT professionals is also changing. The new generation of IT professionals will need skills and training, beyond the traditional technical or “hard” skills, to be productive and successful in the new information economy, writes Professor Nishtha Langer. The question is how best to equip and arm the next generation of IT professionals to be effective contributors. In a 2014 report, Gartner predicted that worldwide IT spending would reach US$3.8 trillion in 2014. The vast size and dynamic nature of the information economy, spearheaded by IT enabled services (ITeS), begs a closer examination of the factors that affect this industry’s productivity. Given that knowledge workers are the key assets of the information economy, the emphasis naturally shifts from firm-level production factors to the skills and capabilities that these workers bring to the table. Today’s knowledge economy is witness to rapid changes that are both technological and non-technological. A startling factor, in this change, is the human capital of IT professionals, calling on us to transform our understanding of the role that they play and the skills they need. Technological innovations and competitive environments are constantly shaping and reshaping corporate IT departments, and hence, their human capital (Agarwal and Ferratt 2002). While change has always been an accepted fact for IT human capital; it is now occurring at a faster pace than ever before and is not limited to the skills needed to perform the IT role, but concerns the fundamental nature of the IT role itself and the very definition of who an IT professional is.

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