The term I.T., or information technology, has morphed over the years into a multifaceted term. I.T., all by itself, merely suggests an umbrella that covers a lot of territory. It’s no longer data input or being able to simply work a search, or hook up a computer. It’s a wide and varied field that is increasingly more difficult to identify.

The field is a rich tapestry of skills with a spreading subset that can be difficult to define. As a result, it can be difficult to hire the right person with the best skill set to accomplish the job.

A quick look at CrunchBoard illustrates the many different faces of I.T. Peruse the listings. The diversity of job offerings and skills needed is readily available. The operating systems vary from Microsoft Windows to Apple’s OS to Linux.

John Riley of Sactech (credit: Charles Ferris)

John Riley of Sactech (credit: Charles Ferris)

John Riley of Sactech, or Sacramento Technology Group, said that the field of I.T. is continuing to undergo changes. Finding the right person to do the right job isn’t always the easiest task. Riley said that what he sees quite often is small to medium-sized companies deciding that they need an in-house “technology person” rather than continuing with a consultant or consulting company.

A typical course is to hire a recent college grad with a B.S. in computer science or a closely related field. The mindset seems to be that someone with a degree in computer science knows all things about computers and what to do with them. To some extent, that may be true.

The disconnect comes when the company hires a newly minted computer science person for a mission that is vastly ill defined. The company understanding of what needs to be done isn’t always in line with the reality of what skill sets are needed. Riley believes the talent is available, but the missions are unclear in the small to medium business range.

Intel, Apple, HP and large enterprises are able to be very specific in what they need and can recruit well for those positions. They are also in a position to recruit internationally and have H1B engineers, developers and coders on board.

The technology jobs that are most likely to take more time to fill are in the developer and backend area. The knowledge base required to successfully execute these endeavors is pretty deep, and the competition from enterprises like Google, Facebook and others is very intense.

The advent of the cloud has further impacted the entire spectrum, as it requires a better grasp of connecting the needed skill set with the people who will be required to keep the small or medium business functioning.

Riley thinks that if the company doing the hiring understands that their technology needs may be greater than the ability of one person to handle, the technology jobs that are taking a long time to fill on a full-time basis may become easier to fill. An I.T. department, or crew, makes more sense than expecting one person to do it all.

Charles Ferris is a freelance writer who has lived in the Sierra, halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, for the last 37 years. He retired from teaching after 36 years in 2010. He and his wife hike, kayak, cross country ski, snow shoe, ride mountain bikes and road bikes, year round. His work can be found at


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