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  • Adam Walter

Use it or Lose it

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You’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” Well this is very true when it comes to IT.

There are a lot of skills that people once had that are no longer applicable because too much time has passed since practicing or using those skills. It’s not just that the technology changes and the commands become obsolete, it’s that the process of going through and making those configurations and working with those technical features does disappear.

This is a fairly common problem, but it can really affect who you should hire when looking for an IT professional.

When you’re hiring a technical person, longevity and lots of experience matter less than relevant and recent experience. When talking about a manager position, it’s good to have someone who has the knowledge and the ability to motivate people in those programs, but the skills to use those technical programs directly is less important. The moral of the story is that it is important to know what you are looking for in an IT professional before you begin the hiring process so you know how to look at the person’s experience and work abilities.

Once you do have an IT person or team, a great way to make sure that the team can run efficiently is to constantly have refreshers and chances for people to learn and grow. People should feel challenged and have the opportunity to keep up with new technology and extend their skill set. This will allow your business to ultimately thrive and help employees feel empowered and ready for any type of project or situation.

It is also vital to be aware of the fact that IT professionals can not be experts in all areas. A super broad sense of skills is just not attainable. Being able to consolidate an area of expertise will make IT professional’s skills more valuable in the long run, and will help people learn to multitask and be more creative in their field.

For example, if you try to make new, fancy meals every day of the week for your family, then you will have to pay attention to what you are doing very closely. But, if you have a standard meal schedule every week and you make the same types of meals on a weekly basis, then your body will go on autopilot. At this point, as you cook, you are able to help your kids with homework or talk to them about their days because you are not actively trying to learn how to cook a new meal.

This is similar to how your IT professional will feel if they have the opportunity to gain experience and exposure in one set skill. They are then able to get very good at multitasking and have more space to be creative in this area because they will not have to constantly be thinking about what they are doing.

Ultimately, experience is important, but being able to actually apply that skillset is very important. Relevant and timely experience is the most distinct difference between an average IT professional and an exceptional IT professional.

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