Information technology (IT) competency may refer to many different knowledge areas and skill sets. Most often, the IT competency of a person refers to their own core competence or knowledge in IT systems. On the other hand, the IT competency of a company usually refers to its knowledge and evolution of IT, as well as core competencies in business structure and public relations.
For a professional, the IT competency represents his own skill set with information systems and other technology. The professional generally needs to have a firm knowledge of current hardware, software and other technologies such as computer systems as well as the ability to quickly learn and adapt to the constant changes in technology. Depending on the person’s chosen career, the ability to work with system infrastructure, design and maintenance is considered a basic and necessary skill. Other skills necessary are project management, planning and working within business practices.
IT competency entails much more for a company as a whole than simply understanding current technology. While each individual may not need to have technical skills and knowledge, having enough people staffed to handle technical applications, people management and the business politics is crucial. Information technology is not just about gadgets and software, it is about how information flows, so company structure and management are considered very important to maximizing the IT workflow.
Most businesses are looking for ways to improve communications between staff members and their target audience. Having a firm IT competency in communications can help that company adopt or create new ways of doing this more effectively, which will increase profit. The bottom line is knowing how to manage information both with technical knowledge and emotional intelligence. This is one of the best ways for a modern company to increase profits, no matter what industry that company is in.
Many companies, especially those in the United States, are seeking to outsource some of their technical positions. This might save the company money, but could also help it make more money if it has a firm IT competency with regards to overseas business relations. Others look to local employment options, so a person with a technical skill set that matches the company's needs may find a rewarding career. Those looking for an IT career will generally seek IT courses on college campuses or the Internet, which can last from six months to fours years depending on curricula.