Have you always nurtured a dream to become an IT Pro? Ever wondered who an IT Professional is? Thinking what are the building blocks that make up the IT machinery of organisations? Like to know How IT supports the operations of businesses? Join me as I journey down the IT world of organisations to learn more.
Before knocking on the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) door to be our tour guide for this journey, let us take some time to demystify some myths about the professions as handed from generation to generation. In the mind of others, the IT professional is one skimpy man wearing jackets in a very enclosed data centre with temperatures as low -30c.
Some portray the IT professional as some geek locked down behind some desk miraculously manufacturing some code or program. No matter your perception about the profession, this article has been crafted to journey you through the world of IT and, most importantly, help you find your feet in the world of IT.
IT In Ghana
To begin with, let us get this right, the word information, communication and technology, known as ICT, or IT, is not a profession but an industry just like Health, Construction, Banking or Finance. Picture the industry like going to the hospital with a sickness where you have an out-patient department, a general physician and a specialist. The specialist, after examining you, prescribes a drug or treatment, and the channel continues …….
The gatekeepers of the IT Industry are known as IT Support Analyst/IT Support Technicians. They receive “patients” known as Users with their sickness known as “incidents” for diagnosis and referral to the specialist known as “escalation”. This sector of the ICT industry is known as the IT SUPPORT/ HELP DESK/ DESKTOP ENGINEERING. Basically, every organisation with a functioning IT department keeps this function as a unit within the department. However, some organisations offer this IT function for a fee. This service is mostly captioned, and IT support or sold as a component with a bundle known as managed services. In Ghana, some leading firms offering this service are Liranz Limited, IPMC Ghana, Zentech Ghana Limited, Corenet Ghana Limited among the likes.
Come with me into the world of IT infrastructure where your emails reside, where the systems that do the calculations, so you receive an updated balance instantly your salary is paid stays. Professionals in this industry sector are responsible for designing, installing, and maintaining equipment such as physical and virtual servers, storage devices like a Network Attached Storage or a Storage Area Network, Racks, etc. These people and equipment here work in the background to store information, host applications and process data for the organisation’s running. In this sector, you find careers as storage engineers, server specialist, system administrators, security specialist, among the likes. Almost all financial institutions in Ghana have an in-house team as a unit within their IT setup. Some organisations in Ghana also offer Infrastructure as a service to organisations. Some of these organisations include; H2 Solutions, Hatua Tech Limited, Liranz Limited, Huawei Ghana, Main One Ghana Limited as well other numerous companies.
In the heart of every IT machinery is the application that processes the data to meet the IT objectives of the organisation. This aspect of the IT industry is known as the software engineering, development and programming world. Practitioners here are tasked with analyzing user or company needs and developing software solutions to meet user needs. Some employment opportunities in this sector include; system analyst, software architects, software engineers, computer programmers, quality assurance analyst, among the various career opportunities that abound in this sector. Leading firms in Ghana providing these services to organisations include; Persol systems Limited, the SOFTtribe Limited, Edel technology Consulting. Some organisations have in-house programmers that meet their programming needs internally.
The web that keeps the various IT continents interconnected is the world of networking. A fascinating field that can be easily understood as a world of joining cables. The interconnection between two or computers using media and software is known as networking. Within the same geographical location is known as Local Area Network. Connections spanning several miles is known as the Wide Area Network. To keep the world interconnected is the bigger web called the internet. Career opportunities available in this sector are Network specialist, Network administrator, Network Technician, among the likes. MTN Ghana Limited, Vodafone Ghana Limited, Comsys Ghana, Main One and the others are some leading firms in Ghana providing Wide/Local area networking for Clients in Ghana.
Away from networking, another interesting field is database administration. Down to the basics, a database is basically a tool for organizing data like your first name, last name, bank account balance, and other details you supply to your bankers when opening your bank account. Databases are akin to blood that keeps applications of organisations running. Applications such as Core banking software, Hospital management systems, financial software, and most enterprise software all depend on databases to survive. There are various database systems used by organisations, of which the major ones are Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2 and Oracle. Some minor such PHPMYADMIN, MARIADB amongst the like also do exist.
Specialists working in this sector are called database administrators, and they are specialised to design, build and maintain these database systems. These professionals mostly work as part of the software development team or independently support various database applications. Very experienced professionals work as consultants for development projects, while entry-level practitioners mostly found working in banks, telecommunications, financial institutions, healthcare industry, among the likes.
A very critical department is known as the project management department in very large IT departments or IT institutions. Should you be lucky to find yourself a role in this department, you will be responsible for coordinating several IT projects from the project’s inception to the monitoring/evaluation of the project. This department is mostly responsible for the day-to-day running of the IT department; they have responsibilities such as; determining business requirements for IT systems, managing IT budgets and costs while also monitoring safety and compliance within the departments.
Another critical role that the projects department plays includes the coordination of vendors. This responsibility which not so mentioned in the roles played by the IT department, is very critical to the survival of every department. Primarily, vendor management includes dealing with the intelligent sourcing of IT goods (procurement) and services (contracting/consulting). This requires familiarity with business needs and transforming those needs to goods and services from qualified and accredited suppliers.
This article summarises the architecture of the various IT departments within organisations. This is just the skeleton of the department’s architecture. Some organisations might modify or combines some roles to save cost or to suit their needs.
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