IT personnel lack communication skills?

talking-around-watercooler Last Saturday I read an article in a well known magazine in The Netherlands. The article talked about that people in the IT/ICT branche lack good communication skills. I often wonder when reading articles: Who’s the author? Is he or she biased in any way?

The same was true for this article. I quickly found out (the names of their businesses were in the article ;-) ) that the people interviewed worked for companies that gave “soft skill” courses. Don’t get me wrong. I totally agree that employees benefit from some form of interrelational training, especially when you work with people (don’t we all?).

I do however think that the article itself isn’t totally finished. In my experience a lot of people in the IT business know they have to interact with other people, or their manager knows. In our company not only the technical education is important, but also the soft side of the business.

This all makes me wonder how it is going in other, not IT related, lines of business. Are they taking soft skill courses? Sometimes I think not. If I have to call my insurance company I get the feeling that the soft skill courses were too expensive. I know, I’m not easy going (still have to take a couple of courses myself), but come on!

Another thing the article mentioned was the use of technical language to keep up appearance and give the user of those words a sense of status. Is this so different than other professions with a lot of technical language? Is an MD not talking about a acute coryza instead of a common cold? Is a carpenter not talking about a hammer instead of a thing you can drive nails into wood with? If that’s status, I’m in!

I know, I know, I’m also participating in the whole status issue. I could have responded on the website of the magazine, or just send them an e-mail. But then again, I’m also working in the IT/ICT workplace, I also want some extra status ;)

As a final word: it definitely is not my intention to discredit the article or its authors, but it is a cry out for more understanding and research before discrediting the IT business. The days of the nerds with glases and developers looking like hippies from the 50s are over. Let’s not forget that it’s IT that makes the world go round these days.