The Computer Revolution/Effect on society/Careers
Careers are the general course or progression of one's working life or one's professional achievements.
IT and the Effects on Transportation
I'm writing about the effects, both good and bad alike, about how computers have affected people's careers. I'll be talking about how computers have changed transportation, and peoples careers.
Transportation has, and will always be very important. Without it peoples lives would be greatly changed. Most people think of transportation as in buses, cars, trucks, and vans that people use for everyday uses for example food, mail, friends, and we don't think much about it or we take it for granted. Something people don't think about much is that there are careers based on transportation, like FedEx, UPS and others out there whose main purpose is to transport things. The ironic thing is that without the people who have careers in transportation and delivering goods we ourselves would have poor transportation. For with it ideas are shared, materials shipped from one place to another. One thing leads to another and soon you are here.
Computers had effects on this for with the advancment of computers leads to better design, faster methods, and many more wonderful things, which people dreamed about. Look at history and you will see that more change have happened in the last 50 years then ever before. Taking a look back to let's say the medieval times, they had horses, and maybe some chariots for royalty and wealthy merchants nothing more. You can go to http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-64340 a website that talks about it and the effects felt during those times. They didn't have computers and see how things were back then, not so good since the average person couldn't get supplies in a few days to make things better.
Now to our time, everywhere you look you can see some sort of transportation, be it a bike, car etc... We had cars before computers but after it was when things changed, you can go to www.computerhope.com/history/ for more info about the changes associated with computers. Since we have it peoples careers have changed from where you work to your stress level, like working in an office compared to fishermen not the average person I mean the ones that are on huge fishing ships that have nets, hooks, storage departments to hold the fish. They have an extremely high stress since they say its the most dangerous place to work you can go to www.wharfcat.com, one of a thousand sites that have more info about it. They rely on the ship to keep them alive and their careers, just like a mailman needs his truck to work properly, to FedXx people who deliver packages from place to place regardless of size.
Computers have had a tremendous effect on our transportation system for without it we would be less advanced then we are now. No planes, smaller boats maybe, but nothing like the cruise ships we have so seafood would be limited to shore catches. We would have cars that weren't as good as the ones we have now so ultimately computers have effected our way of life mainly with transportation for without it who knows where we might be today.
IT and Its Effects on Careers - Changes in the Career World
It's the "Age of Information Technology (IT)" and has had significant effects on our lives. We are inundated by the changes. We live with and by the changes. Among the many facets of our lives affected by Information Technology are the changes that have, and will continue to, occur in our careers.
How did you choose your first career? How did you determine if this would be an appropriate career choice for you -- physically and mentally? What is the job market and wage situation in your chosen field? How did you know what training was necessary to pursue this career? How did you determine where this training could be obtained? How did you find out the specific training and possible co-op or apprenticeship program that would benefit you in the pursuit of this career? How did you search for a job? How did you apply for the jobs of interest? To most or all of these questions, we can generally say that we have utilized the computer at some point. We have entered the "Age of Information Technology".
IT has become increasingly critical in career choices and within our career itself. IT has made it possible for many, especially the disabled community, to pursue a career. IT has opened up the career world -- from a career in IT itself to careers utilizing various aspects of IT to careers supporting the IT industry, to name a few. IT and its influence on people's careers is the main topic of investigation and this segment briefly examines the changes IT has had on careers. Of particular interest is how IT has affected change both within and around careers and career choices.
Choosing Your Career - What Career Best Suits Me?
One may know from a very early age what they "want to be when they grow up," while others have more difficulty defining their place in the work world. Fortunes or misfortunes of life, as well as life's experiences, may cause one to rethink and redirect their original intention. It appears that the 'career for life' is becoming non-existent and estimates have been given whereby individuals will be changing their jobs approximately seven times in their lifetime. So, whether you are beginning your journey in the career world or merely seeking that change (forced or otherwise), Information Technology will probably play a large part in how one assesses their competency and interest(s)in specific areas.
One may get their career advice from such sources as parents, friends, family and various other contacts (e.g., career or guidance counsellors). However, tapping into electronic sources of information is also gaining in popularity and maybe utilized in concert with, or exclusive of, human contacts. Add to this, the fact that various forms of Information Technology was likely used in the production of print materials offering career choices, advice and options. Furthermore, one's decision may be affected by some form of electronic testing or self-directed assessment, including some forms of IQ testing which would identify more precisely what career(s) may be best suited to you and your personality, abilities and interests.
One example of the latter maybe found at the Human Resources and Skills Development website (i.e., http://www23.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/ch/e/docs/ch_welcome.asp). This electronic version of the Career Handbook "... is the counselling component of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system [which]provides global ratings assigned to occupations to further define skills, worker characteristics and other indicators related to occupations that are important for career exploration and informed career decision-making. This counselling resource is used by a wide range of professionals for many applications, and by individuals engaged in self-directed career planning. [It] ... provides 923 occupational profiles for counselling based on NOC 2001 occupations and ... includes information on aptitudes, interests, involvement with data/people/things, physical activities, environmental conditions, education/training indicators, career progression and work settings" (HRSDC website, accessed 09/12/09).
Choosing Your Career - IT and Career Selection
Not everyone selects a career path that "best suits" them. Choices are made for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it comes down to such factors as: a) what is in the best interests of the family?; b) the current or prospective job market; c) timeframe for, and availability of, training and/or apprenticeship spaces; d) wage rates; e) job location; f) one's age at the time of choosing; and even g)the level of IT knowledge required. For example, some may choose to shy away from careers that involve intensive use of Information Technology, whereas others may make IT their specific career.
If one must make a choice, whether as a "best fit" or for other reasons, IT can be invaluable in the decision-making process. The aforementioned HRSDC Career Handbook is just one source that could be of assistance in one's career selection. Another that may be of help to those seeking a career in Alberta or employment with an Alberta employer is the Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS) website that maybe found at http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/wageinfo/Content/RequestAction.asp?format=html&aspAction=GetWageHomePage&Page=Home). Four main links on this site include: a) OCCinfo; b) WAGEinfo; c) CERTinfo; and d) EDinfo. As these names imply, one can find information about: a) the occupational "fit" for you and what you want by providing specific details about an occupation's duties, working conditions, salaries, advancement opportunities, personal characteristics and educational qualifications; b) Alberta wage and salary profiles (full- and part-time) by occupation, geographic area and industry group; c) certification and regulation requirements for specific Alberta occupations, including regulated occupations; and d) what educational programs are required and where they maybe obtained, as well as information about distance learning programs in Western Canada.
These are only two examples of IT at work in career selection. IT, therefore, can provide information as well as influence one's choice. For example, one's interests may lie in an area where there are few jobs and/or low pay and, as a result, one may look elsewhere for their chosen field.
Career Training - IT at Work for Your Work
Okay, so you've decided upon the career path, now what? On-the-job training is just one aspect of a career. Specific educational requirements may have to be met prior to, or in concert with, on-the-job training (e.g., co-op or apprenticeship). Information Technology may play a big part in this training, be it on-the-job or institutional-based.
There is no question that a career directly linked to the IT industry will require intensive study and hands-on application of IT. From programming to repairing IT products, IT "professionals" will be intimately involved in IT training programs. In other cases, learning to use specific IT tools is necessary (e.g., CADD in Architectural or Piping Drafting).
Educational facilities make extensive use of IT in the delivery of training programs (e.g., Blackboard, e-learning, video conferencing). This includes the need for the trainee to use IT in the application, course searching/scheduling and registration process. Finally, there are the numerous in-class instructional IT tools (e.g., laptops and projection equipment).
Then, for those of us employed in positions less dependent upon IT (if there are any), there maybe on-the-job training that could be delivered via IT tools. For example, customer service representatives may undergo intensive training on how to deal with various customers, situations and complaints by means of videos. Others may train by means of training modules on the company computer.
For each and everyone of us, IT is proving to be more important in career preparation.
Getting That Job -- IT and THE Job
Well, your training is complete and now you are ready for the real world! If you have not already landed the perfect job by way of an internship, apprenticeship or co-op program, then your work at finding work begins. IT has become an integral part of the job search and acquisition process. Jobs may still be found in the local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, but the use of IT sources has increased significantly. Potential job opportunities are posted online and maybe found on company, government and "job" sites (e.g., workopolis.com).
You've sought out various job postings and must now commence the application process. Here, too, potential employees are often required to apply on-line. In fact, one may have utilized a "resume builder" program in preparation for the application. Employers are often requesting a specific "company" application form be filled out and submitted on-line. There's no getting away from IT in these cases.
The application has been sent and is now in the hands of the potential employer. It is at this stage that your future maybe entirely outside the influence of human "hands" and under the influence of IT forces. Remember that on-line "company" application form? HR maybe deluged by a mountain of applications and unable to deal with the volume on a personal level, therefore, companies may opt to conduct an initial sort and assessment of applications by electronic means.
If you've made the "IT cut," then further assessment and possible interview maybe done in person. However, even at that stage, IT can be at work. People may conduct the interview, but IT maybe incorporated into the process. For example, the applicant maybe presented with a situational video and asked to comment on how they may handle the situation (e.g., a difficult customer that must be appeased in some manner).
Once you have acquired the position, then there's the aspect of getting you on the payroll. IT is intimately involved in this in that your personnel files maybe stored electronically. Then, what about getting that paycheque? The trend has been toward the use of direct deposits. At the current time, one can also see their pay stub on-line, but Employment Standards has (to-date) not allowed this as the sole means of receiving notification of your pay -- a paper copy must still be provided to the employee.
IT On the Job
Whether you've landed that IT job or a more "traditional" job, IT is bound to be involved in that job. One can pretty much say that "traditional" no longer has the meaning it once did, but now must include IT as part and parcel of the job.
The following example will help to explain. In most instances, a reservations clerk no longer simply answers the phone and enters your request or responds to your inquiries without the benefit of IT. The clerk may not, in fact, be the first point of contact for the customer -- e.g., there maybe an automated telephone answering system that directs the call or an answering machine may give alternative contact information and/or updates on bookings and availability. Computer software has also been designed to aid in this clerk's job. It may offer feedback on availability, allow bookings and collection of customer information on the spot in a one-step process. IT has, as a result, made many jobs more efficient and less time consuming. Old jobs have become more streamlined, although some would disagree on this point in some circumstances.
IT could also be utilized in monitoring one's job, not only for security reasons, but also for assessing one's on-the-job efficiency. The video surveillance camera and the remote controlled electronic door access are two such "security" related IT tools at the workplace. For the grocery clerk passing items across the scanner, there is less need for manual input of codes or prices, but this system can also assess the volume of sales and efficiency of the clerk in doing their job. This, too, decreases the need for order clerks and physical shelf checks -- the system can automatically submit an order when a certain volume of sales has been achieved (and the stock is in need of replenishing).
Physically challenged persons are no longer as restricted in their career choices. With IT, there are many potential positions available. Simply being confined to a wheelchair, for example, does not necessarily mean that you are not interested or suited to an IT job such as programming or data entry, to name a couple. In addition, some jobs have been redefined by IT and are now within the range of possiblity for those with various challenges. Some of the once physically challenging duties are aided by technology and even getting to work and about the workplace has become less difficult (e.g., electronic doors and automatic door openers).
IT has changed many jobs from within. From personal experience, a job that entailed face-to-face contact and "juggling" a great deal of paper has shifted to one encompassing IT. The paper has disappeared for the most part and people are no longer dealing with you across the counter. The medium of contact and job focus has shifted to Blackboard and e-mail. IT has redefined the job and has necessitated a change in duties and expertise.
IT was once, and often continues to be, thought of as somewhat of an evil monster lurking to grab one's job. Computers were going to take over! They would be the downfall of society! Well, maybe this is true in some cases, but not all. While IT can and has changed jobs from within (as noted above), IT can also expand one's job skills and duties. This can be especially relevant cases where downsizing has taken place because the company no longer found it necessary to retain employees with "old" job skills, but have downloaded some of that employees duties onto another. On the other hand, some positions are moving "offshore" because of the Age of Information Technology.
IT and a Final Note
We are defined by our career or job. Information Technology has defined our job and our career. One cannot definitively say that they are not influenced by Information Technology in some way in determining, acquiring, performing or getting paid for their job. IT has had a significant impact on people's work world.