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Learn about the business - technical skills are not enough


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Every big company knows the importance of having a strong Information Technology department capable of delivering high-quality products i.e., efficient systems. Usually, the benefits obtained with system improvements are difficult or impossible to measure monetarily and the IT Department tends to be considered a non-lucrative division. Thus, IT departments try to prove their value by focusing on delivering solutions faster and more reliable.

The necessity to deliver results quicker, sometimes, creates the necessity to recreated, adapted or ignored software development methodologies in order to comply with the companies' necessities. In some companies, developers are just thrown into the cooking pan without proper training or an appropriate methodology to follow. As a result, system's quality decrease, the system becomes unstable and Quality Assurance testing has to be reinforced to solve problems increasing delivery time as problems discovered in QA have to go back to development and start over again.

Inside this culture, we still have some IT professionals who believe that it is not important for developers to understand the business aspects of the system where they work. These professionals believe that a technical view of the system is enough which might be true in less complex systems or in places where Systems Analysts still exist. However, many developers today work directly with Business Analysts who try to translate business requirements in a language they can understand. If these developers have business knowledge, the BA work becomes easier and hardly will developers start their work based on misunderstanding business concepts. This certainly makes the software development process faster and the results more reliable.

More than developers and programmers we need Power Developers or Power Programmers. We need professionals who are not only highly qualified in technical aspects but who are also business proficient. They must be interested in their company's product and its methods. Along with the Business Analysts, they will develop better solutions; give valuable suggestions to help in improving the system and they will also be more proactive. By balancing technical skills with business skills they are a step ahead of their peers, the ordinary developers or programmers.

Every programming language is composed of a limited number of commands and techniques which many can master and become programmer experts. However, what makes some developers more valuable than others is their capacity to integrate their technical knowledge with their business knowledge as well as their ability to see the big picture and understand where their work fit. They bring valuable advantages to their companies by delivering better solutions, in less time, with less support and less need for maintenance later on. In order to improve your skills, you can start by trying to better understand the tasks you have in hand and how they fit in the company's system. Try to look at the big picture. The analyst working with you can certainly help or you can ask a co-worker that you know is more experience with the system. People usually like to help and share their knowledge if you present yourself as an ally. Even if you tell your boss that someone helped you on doing something, he will appreciate your work if you deliver something more valuable, more reliable and/or faster.

Do not forget. Be proactive. If you find a problem or get stuck in your work and need help with the analysis or with deciding which way to take, before asking for help try to understand as much as you can about the problem and try to come up with different solutions to fit the different scenarios you found. Bring solutions to table, not problems. Your efforts will certainly be recognized.

About the Author

Cicero Oliveira, more than ten years working as a mainframe developer in South America, Europe and North America.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-02-03 22:01:37 in Employee Articles

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