On The Job: Are Networkers Technicians or Professionals?

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Sep 29, 2000


Deb Shinder

The term "networking professional" is tossed around easily in the IT industry, but often even those in human resources, who write the job descriptions for the positions being referred to, don't have a clear concept of it means.

The term 'networking professional' is tossed around easily in the IT industry, but often even those in human resources, who write the job descriptions for the positions being referred to, don't have a clear concept of it means.

Information technology is certainly one of the hottest occupations around these days, but most of us "in the biz" rarely (if ever) bother to ask ourselves whether or how our jobs fit into traditional professional models, whether computer programming, network administration and the like can - or should - actually be considered professions, and what such a classification might mean to us and to the industry itself.

MCSEs, CCNAs, CNEs and others who have earned one or more strings of letters to follow their names like to think of themselves as "certified professionals." On the other hand, many licensed engineers consider members of the certified crowd to be "mere technicians," and unworthy to call themselves systems "engineers." Indeed, in some states the professional engineering associations legally prohibit the use of the word in advertising by MCSEs and others who have not completed an engineering degree and obtained state licensing.

Who's right? Is networking really a profession? Are network administrators "professionals" in the true sense of the word, or just well-paid technicians? Are we even sure that the traditional professional model is one to which we want to aspire, or are there benefits in being "only" technicians? This article will examine those questions, and offer some opinions and suggestions regarding professionalism in the IT industry, and the ramifications for IT workers.

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