The scarcity of IT professionals in our homeland, Pakistan is an issue of much discussion these days. The reasons attributed to this are, primarily the “brain drain” whereby IT professionals have left the country for greener pastures and that Pakistan has not produced enough IT professionals to provide for the current requirements in various segments of industry and commercial and government organizations.
Let us now examine the IT Professionals that exist in Pakistan today. There are basically four following types.
Degree Holders: These are the professionals who have earned a graduate, post-graduate degree or doctorate in an IT or IT-related discipline or field either locally or from abroad. Local colleges and universities have only started offering IT degree courses in the past decade or two. Further, many of these institutions not only lack a curriculum that is up-to-date with current technology, but also the modern equipment and infrastructure that lends itself to turning out professionals who can compete with foreign qualified graduates, who therefore have a clear advantage in comparison.
Experience Based: Under this category are those professionals, who have no formal IT-related degree or certification, but have been working in the IT or related fields for a considerable period of time so as to justify their qualifications as IT professionals. However unless such professionals are exposed to standards, by virtue of their being implemented in the organization with which they are associated with or work for, or adopt them through self-learning, the quality of work produced by such professionals, in many cases, tend to leave much room for improvement. The question therefore often arises as to whether such professionals have the ability to apply IT standards, and to deliver quality output.
Certified Professionals: Many international professional organizations and bodies, recognizing the need for people with considerable experience to gain recognition, now offer professional certification based on a number of criteria, including the passing of a stringent exam. Apart from requiring candidates to acquire or prove that they have the requisite expertise and proficiency via the exam, these bodies also specify a minimum experience level, adherence to a set of standards as well as code of ethics, and also maintain currency of knowledge via continuing education programs.
Technically Certified: Technical certifications are differentiated from the above as they are more product or vendor specific, and follow a specified or limited course outline. Also there are specified requirement for any minimum experience level, adherence to code of ethics, and continuing education programmers. Examples are certifications offered by Microsoft, Oracle, Novell, Cisco, etc.
In addition to these four categories, there are also many people who have obtained diplomas and certificates from the several hundreds of proliferating institutes here and abroad, many of them unrecognized. These people also lack sufficient experience in the field and it is therefore debatable whether these persons can be called IT professionals.
In many advanced countries, apart from government bodies, professional associations and societies — for instance, the Computer Society — take on the role to establish standards that are accepted worldwide as benchmarks to determine professional accreditation.
It is unfortunate that in Pakistan no association or society has fulfilled this role. While selecting and dealing with IT professionals, organizations need to keep in mind not only the various categories as defined above, but also determine the standards adhered to by these professionals. However more importantly, organizations need to ensure that relevant IT standards are implemented within.
In the papers we are very strong IT professionals but we are just producing degree holders. Only few universities of Pakistan meet international standards. A survey shows that out of 100 thousand IT professionals trained in Pakistan only 600 to 700 are real Professionals. It means we are not producing a single person as professional in Pakistan main reason is that we lack the sly bus. In the end I can say that the IT word seems too good for hearing but in actual it’s a dream come true.