-- > In the new book "The Invisible Future: The Seamless Integration of >Technology Into Everyday Life" (prepared under the auspices of the >Association for Computing Machinery), computer scientist Peter J. Denning >calls for a rethinking of the IT profession: > "To most of the hundred millions of computer users around the world, >the inner workings of a computer are an utter mystery. Opening the box >holds as much attraction as lifting the hood of a modern car. Users expect >information technology (IT) professionals to help them with their needs for >designing, locating, retrieving, using, configuring, programming, >maintaining, and understanding computers, network, applications and digital >objects. Students expect IT curricula to provide comprehensive coverage of >all technical, research, and leadership principles and practices needed to >make them effective professionals; they rely especially on the faculty for >a comprehensive view of a fast-changing, fragmented world, for assistance >in framing and answering important questions, and for training in standard >professional practices. Professionals expect their professional societies >to support their identities as professionals, to advocate life-long >continuing education, and to speak out on public policy issues affecting >IT. In short, everyone has greater expectations of IT professionals than of >the information technologies themselves.
> "But the reality of what users, students, and professionals find >differs markedly from what they expect. They find poorly designed software, >complex and confusing systems, crash-prone systems, software without >warranties, begrudging technical support, surly customer service, >intervendor finger-pointing, disregard for privacy, and even poorly >managed, investment-squandering dot-com companies. Businesspeople find it >difficult to find qualified IT workers and then keep them current with a >fast-changing body of knowledge. Students find IT curricula that focus more >on programming than on systems, on theory more than experimentation, and on >concepts more than practice. Professionals find little help for lifelong >learning or career advancement and a cacophony of conflicting voices from >professional groups. Users--by far the largest group--are growing >increasingly intolerant of these problems. They expect IT professionals to >organize themselves more effectively in order to address the problems and >serve their customers. Why is this not happening?"
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