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BICSI Broadcast by Richard Smith November 2008


February 27, 2009
By Anthony Capkun


BICSI Broadcast

By Richard S Smith, RCDD, NTS, OSP

In a recent Internet clip I saw about information transport, it was stated that 40% of technologies we will be using in 2012 haven’t been invented yet. Coincidentally, I participated in a technical school advisory panel representing BICSI and our members in Canada recently, where individuals from various service providers and information transport companies were invited to review and comment on updated ITS (information transport systems) programs being offered at one of Canada’s leading technical schools.

The
concern is that enrolment in ITS programs is declining at the same time
when the need for and hiring of ITS professionals is increasing. The
question posed by the advisory panel was: What skill sets are required
for your future ITS professionals? If it’s true that 40% of
technologies in use by 2012 have not been invented yet, then how do
technical institutions prepare students to work in the industry? For
that matter, how do schools enroll or even interest students in
programs offering vendor neutral, manufacturer independent IT training
about technologies they have no view to and therefore little to no
interest in as far as a career goes?




mt_ignoreOn the
other side of the issue, consider where your company will be without
availability of skilled labour that can install and maintain 3, 4 or
5-9’s reliable ITS networks? Arguably, telecom is considered one of the
top 10 most complex industries on the globe. Today most computer users
don’t care how wired or wireless networks or services work. The only
thing that is important to them is: is an IP or Ethernet connection
available and that it works to a certain quality of service? It goes
without saying that newer computers can process information faster, but
what about the networks that transport the information to and from the
users and sources of information with which you want to interact?




Most
users of computers in the K-12 school system don’t have a view to or
care about the complexity of the networks that allow them to use their
PDAs. Ironically, data available via these network devices offers users
searchable access to information about career choices that is limited
only by their imaginations.

{mospagebreak}



These
and many more factors present a challenge for companies in the ITS
industry who are looking to hire people for future technical positions.
Fortunately technical schools who are working to educate and prepare
students to work in the IT telecom industry are concerned about the
demographics and numbers or lack thereof of students who are training
to enter the ITS industry.




Interestingly,
back in 1974 a group of engineers from the Bell operating companies
across North America met and expressed concern about where
vendor-neutral, code-compliant and standards-based best practices would
come from for telecom professionals outside Bell once deregulation
happened. These professionals routinely worked with building architects
and other property developers and building owners on technical matters
related to delivery of telephone and data services within buildings.




Known as
the Building Industry Consulting Services (BICS) groups, they worked
within the engineering departments of all the telcos. Today, BICSI is
the international not-for-profit association of BICS professionals
working around the world. No longer are BICSI-accredited professionals
only employed by Bell companies but by governments, national,
international organizations, healthcare institutions, a myriad of
service providers and companies whose business involves providing a
connection between two or more IP addressable devices.




BICSI’s
focus has always been to provide ITS professionals with up-to-date
information related to ITS. Today, BICSI professionally credentialed
individuals work in over 100 countries around the world. BICSI subject
matter experts write IT standards and best practices which focus on all
types of ITS infrastructure including voice, data, video, wireless and
security.




Today,
BICSI is also working with technical schools in a number of areas of
North America and interest is indicated in various other regions around
the world. We are conducting region meetings at technical schools to
educate students and faculty about ITS information not yet available in
textbooks. BICSI offers scholarships to students where we conduct these
events in an effort to motivate students to enter the ITS industry. We
encourage BICSI members as employees and employers to share with
students what skills they need as future ITS professionals allowing
them to lead and succeed in their ITS careers.




Whether
you’re late in your career or considering what career you want to
start, if it is in ITS, BICSI is here to help educate, motivate, lead
and succeed just as those we are working with in the technical school
education system. Whether you’re a potential student of ITS or employer
in the ITS industry, I encourage you to contact a technical school
about what they can do for you.




Richard
S. Smith—the manager of Bell Aliant Cabling Solutions—is the Canadian
Region Director for BICSI, a professional association supporting the
information transport systems (ITS) industry—including designers,
installers and technicians—with information and education.
CLICK HERE to visit BICSI, or e-mail rsmith@bicsi.org to reach the author.