The Best IT People Have Business Savvy and They Don’t Even Realize It


You could be the IT professional businesses are looking for, and you’re not even in IT.

This was the unfortunate realization uncovered in “Choosing IT as a Career: Exploring the Role of Self-Efficacy and Perceived Importance of IT Skills” written by K.D. Joshi and Sterling McPherson of Washington State University, and Eileen Trauth, Lynette Kvasny, Sadan Kulturel-Konak, and Jan Mahar of Penn State University.

There’s a pervasive stereotype that to be successful in IT you should only have necessary technical skills. There’s also the belief that if you posses business savvy and acumen, you should focus on that area instead of IT. Instead, they should go into marketing or management, Joshi said.

People who are high achievers, who have good soft skills, think that IT is just sitting in front of computers. But it’s not, Joshi continued.

As evidenced by the many interviews I did with CIOs, successful IT people have good human and business skills. But what Joshi and McPherson’s team discovered is that people who do have these non-IT-centric skills don’t think IT is right for them.

The profession is bigger than people stereotype, said McPherson. The career paths in IT are very diverse and aren’t only about . It’s not just about in-depth math and programming skills.

No Responses to “The Best IT People Have Business Savvy and They Don’t Even Realize It”

  1. I am an “IT people” (and have been since the early/mid 1980s) who has been told I possess great “soft skills”. One former client even referred to me as a “rare combination of technical ability and soft skills”. I have two business degrees. Care to tell me why no one seems interested in interviewing me?

  2. Ah, so it seems they’re not aware that you have those soft skills and how they could be valuable to their business. Again and again I hear that companies are looking for IT people that know the business.

  3. Mr. Spark,
    Do you mind sending an email to me? I’d like to pursue, even briefly, this subject. This is not the first time I’ve been told my business education, blended with my IT/IS experience, is a winning combination. But what I’ve experienced has not supported such statements.

  4. I am a CPA with IT Enterprise Accounting Systems project management and support experience. I too believe it is a winning combination. David Spark I think you are just a tad bit ahead of the CIO and CFO thinking. But, I think you are right on target! As an accounting degreed person with controllership experience it makes PERFECT sense to me.