Once upon a time, the IT engineer’s primary value was pushing buttons.
It was all about the equipment. What equipment to buy, what brand to prefer, maintaining the gear and ensuring all the lights were on. They were experts in the physical equipment they were managing. And that was valuable—who else knew how?
But not anymore.
There has been a paradigm shift in the value of the IT professional in the last 5 to 10 years. Every major advancement that a company wants to make, whether for profit or efficiency, requires an addition of technology. New growth depends on new technology.
Today, the IT engineer’s job is to go out and determine what technologies can help solve and meet the company’s vision for future growth. Their job is now to listen to the needs of the company, hunt down the technologies that will meet those needs, and then explain those technologies in English to the decision makers so they can make educated decisions. The IT engineer’s new value is that they are the only people who speak Geek—and every business needs a translator to succeed.
This is incredibly exciting because it unlocks the potential to take an employee that has lived in the back room, doing stuff nobody else understands, and elevate them to a position of vital importance. It allows the company to use all the intelligence and ingenuity at their disposal to grow the business. This means that pushing buttons is now the lowest-value task an IT person does. Companies need their IT engineers because they understand things nobody else does, and what they know can drive the business to better places.
If I may offer a word of encouragement to the IT engineer afraid of letting go of pushing the buttons: You are more valuable than you have ever been because you have the ability to make your company’s visions reality! Don’t become extinct—be irreplaceable.
To the business owners: Let your IT engineer get involved in figuring out how to meet the company’s vision for growth. Help them help you. Free your IT people from the burden of managing equipment and hardware. Give them the time and support to put their unique combination of expertise and passion to work for you.
Embrace the new paradigm and everyone wins.