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Time for IT Boot Camp?

August 29, 2008
by anonymous
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It’s the Friday before Labor Day so it is time to think about packing up for the long weekend (and posting a not-so-heavy blog entry). Looking back this past week, two different news bytes come to mind -- that are thought-provoking and somewhat connected. One was a recently released white paper by Walt Zywiak - my office buddy and esteemed co-worker in Emerging Practices on the multi-generational healthcare IT workforce. The paper discusses the challenges of managing professionals from several generations (e.g. boomers, gen x, gen y, etc) who have different expectations and skill sets. It has become one of the most popular pieces from EP and has been quoted in a number of healthcare and IT magazines.

The other was a short piece was in the September issue of CIO magazine entitled “30 Skills Every IT Person Needs.” So where is the correlation? Ah – check out the “30 skills” article and you will find a list of skills that includes working at the help desk, fixing basic PC issues, running cable, understanding the basics of system administration and networking, and working all night on a team project. In reading the white paper and speaking to Walt, it is clear that one of the concerns for CIOs is that people with these experiences and skills are often the ones who will be retiring in the near future. He calls it the brain drain. One quote from the paper sums it up pretty well - “The new generation is used to more robust products, understands less about their inner workings, and has generally not been exposed to formal IT management processes and disciplines.”

So where does this leave tomorrow’s IT work force that is expected to make great progress on all fronts – electronic health records, robots, and integration of clinical systems with medical devices – just to name a few? One CIO decided to put together a basics IT boot camp training course for new employees to set the baseline. Is it time for IT boot camp? Please share your experiences and thoughts.

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