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?

This article was originally published on Sep 30, 2000

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date