Ability To Talk At Different Levels

No matter what you attempt to do in life, communicating with other people is likely to be a key component to success. In the world, there are a variety of different languages varying by continent or ethnicity. Within these national languages, the vocabularies required within different professions almost create another language all of their own. The people within these professions have no problems speaking with each other, but can often face problems when trying to communicate their ideas to people outside of their group. One must realize that the end user is going to speak a different language than IT (information technology) staff, and how different groups perceive any particular problem is likely to be quite divergent. In today's computing departments, it is important that at least some individual(s) be able to communicate at different levels with different users.

One of the interesting results of my path through the education system, is my unique view of this communication situation. I started out my educational path wanting to be a CPA. Part of the way through the program, I found that I was generally incompatible with tax law, and switched into Business Administration. The IBM PC had been recently introduced, and I became very interested in the possibilities that the PC revolution was starting to offer. I then adopted an emphasis in Computers in Business. I went on to get a Master's Degree in Software Engineering. Through that educational path, with many detours, I learned the expectations of people on both sides of the proverbial coin. I understood what the business manager and the accountant wanted and what the computer programmer needed. I also understood how little about actual user needs a graduate in Computer Science would know after completing their course of study. They had all the tools necessary to complete a project, but may have an issue with truly understanding what the user actually needed to do with the software they would ultimately write.

Sometimes it simply isn't as straight forward as you would think it would be. The computer folks think that they know what you need, but since they live in a totally different world, they really don't “get it.” On the other hand, the user may think that a change would be really easy, and that the computer folks just hate them thus won't make the change out of spite. What they don't realize is that to make the change would require a much more major effort than they could have imagined. At the same time, a user may spend hours trying to overcome limitations of a system that could be easily fixed, but the thought of asking was so overwhelming, expecting a stern negative reply from IT staff, that hours of time and frustration are silently endured.

In order to get these types of problems solved, you have to be ready, willing and able to speak all of the languages involved. You have to be able to build a bridge of understanding between two virtually different continents of people. This is no easy task, but a worthy challenge for those willing and able to embrace it.