ServersOn The Job: Are Networkers Technicians or Professionals? Page 2

On The Job: Are Networkers Technicians or Professionals? Page 2




Deb Shinder

What makes a job a profession?

Traditionally, the “learned professions” have shared several
characteristics:

  • Self-policing associations that set
    standards, define entrance criteria, and discipline members who violate
    their guidelines

  • Requirements for both higher
    education and occupation-specific training

  • Standardized testing to measure
    knowledge/skills

  • Requirements for on-going education
    and training

  • A code of ethics that governs
    professional behavior

  • Governmental regulation/licensing

  • Annual or periodic dues, membership
    fees and/or licensing fees

  • Relatively high compensation, based
    on annual or monthly salaries rather than hourly wages

Medicine, law, engineering, teaching, counseling etc. all meet this
definition of “professionalism.” Note that there are many
occupations that meet some of these specifications – skilled
tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, barbers, and the like must
undergo training, pass exams, and obtain licenses. Some may also join
associations, abide by formal codes of ethics, and be well paid. However,
these jobs don’t usually require degrees, and most members of these trades are
paid on an hourly basis.

Other fields, such as law enforcement, real estate, and stock brokering
might be thought of as “quasi-professions” in that they don’t strict
meet every one of these standards but are working toward upgrading the
professionalism of their occupation, primarily by raising educational and
other entry requirements.

Where do high tech occupations fit into this model – if at all?

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