RE: A QUESTION TO MY CLASSMATES: “TECH” SKILLS?
Slistopher posed the following questions recently:
1. What do you define as “tech skills”?
2. Which types of “tech skills” (broadly defined) have you found to be particularly useful in your work environments?
3. What do you see as being the most useful technology skills for LIS professionals, in general?
4. Have you ever taken the time to learn a particular skill, only to find that it wasn’t helpful at all?
5. How important do you think “soft skills” (communication, interpersonal skills, etc.) are for LIS professionals?
6. If you were in the position of hiring a librarian/archivist/other LIS professional, which types of “tech” knowledge/experience would you expect a candidate to possess?
1. ‘Tech skills’ fall into two categories: hardware and software. While some may be more adept at configuring hardware than others and likewise some may feel more competent with a certain program than others, essentially either of these areas of skill are learned and familiarity induced through interaction over time. Many people ask me personally (concerning building computers) “how did you learn all this stuff?” – and the answer is I have been building computers in some capacity for 18 years. Like most things in life, there is no replacement for experience.
2. Software skills are undoubtedly more valued and useful everyday. Understanding hardware is helpful, but not requisite for most everyday simple tasks. Understanding the essentially simple mechanics of programs makes learning foreign programs more expedient.
4. I cannot think of one. Learning any computer or tech skill is beneficial, typically it is the conceptual context of the skill that is the aspect with the most utility.
5. Extremely. Effective communication is often the most decisive factor in success or failure, in my experience.
6. I would look for the skills mentioned in answer #3, at the very bottom of the totem pole is at least adeptness with typical productivity software (MS Office, Adobe, et al).
That’s my two cents!