- Gender: Female
- Industry: Consulting
- Occupation: retired programmer, analyst, designer
- Location: Fort Wayne : Indiana : United States
- Aikido (been doing it forever)
- Ballroom Dancing (we need to do more!)
- Being at home by myself (can you say loner?)
- Buddhist philosophy (I’m hopeless though)
- Cats (my favorite animal! My cat is Ubi Do)
- Curmudgeons (I guess we can relate to each other 🙂
- Dogs (we have 2 – a Doberman and a Greyhound)
- Learning new things (the internet is a curse!)
- Reading just about anything!
- Reality TV (what can I say…)
- Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Travel (especially international)
- Web 2.0 (sort of an obsession at the moment)
I used to be a designer, analyst, programmer. Now I am just curious 🙂 I’m really interested in the new 2.0 tools, concepts and ideas. And if you see a leaning towards library 2.0 things, its because my husband is the head of IT at the Allen County Public Library.
OK, now the long, pretentious/contentious version of About Me:
UPDATE: I said I am a coder. But it is better to say I was a coder. I did love to code. But honestly, I’ve gotten less interested in it since I’ve retired. What I really love to do is to listen to what people want to do and then translate that into something that solves their problem and/or enhances their technology environment.
For as long as I worked, I was what was known as a Programmer/Analyst. That means that the majority of my time was spent conducting client interviews, learning their processes, creating client/IT teams to discuss what the goal is and then doing a lot of analysis and design to get to where they want to go. The coding, although fun, is the easy part.
I had to take a concept that someone had and translate it into something functional that transcends their original thought and turns it into a working, creative, useful application. You might not realize what this involves. Most of the time, people don’t know exactly what they want, they just know they want it. This is actually the best scenario. It is really harder when people think they know how to design what they want. There is a reason why there are special IT analysts/architects. We spent a lot of time and have a lot of experience designing technology solutions.
Just as people are experts in their own field such as financial organizations or non-profits or libraries, so are IT analysts experts at translating what someone else does into a technology based solution. And just as I could not tell you the formulas for calculating statistical risks for life insurance, neither would a risk assessor know how to take what they do and make it user-friendly and technologically innovative.
I think one of the problems organizations are having with going Web 2.0, is that they don’t recognize that they need a person who can look at their processes and design a Web 2.0 solution. I’ve done that for many, many years and I really find it surprising that other organizations (such as libraries) say they are wanting to have an online presence and to go Web 2.0, don’t even seem to realize the need for someone with those skills.
I worked with various functions in life insurance most of my IT life. And I have little to no background in life insurance. It is not my field. But it never needed to be, nor should it have been. There were ample experts in all facets of life insurance that could determine the formulas needed and the results expected, and could take me through the processes. My expertise was knowing how to listen to what people want, to learn how they currently do it and to design a technologically progressive solution that goes beyond what they envisioned and yet still satisfies everyone and is not intimidating. It’s really a very complex job.
I have to confess, I find it funny (sad) that the IT positions for libraries all seem to require an MLS (master of library science) degree. That makes no sense to me. There are plenty of people with library skills and knowledge already in a library. What is lacking is anyone who is able to look at the processes from an IT design perspective and to pull all the areas and processes together into one, creative, innovative and functional design.
I also hear the arguments that you can’t talk to a librarian or understand a librarian unless you have an MLS. How can that make sense? I talked to actuaries and lawyers and accountants and life risk assessors and all sorts of people with their own expertise and language and ways of thinking. Why would a librarian or academic or anyone else be any different? I’m not stupid. I think I can grasp how most jobs and functions work and I think I can talk to most kinds of people and be understood and understand them. And I know how to create a team that includes expertise from all areas so that everyone contributes in ways only they, with their knowledge, can.
Next time your or your organization are thinking about hiring an IT person, think about what you are trying to accomplish and what needs you have that you don’t have internally already. Then look for someone who can determine where you are, where you are going and how to get there in a way that includes everyone and appreciates their expertise while contributing their own expertise. Then sit back, let go of the reins and see how far you can go.
… And this was my original “About Me”:
I’m a coder. As Programmer/Analyst Consultant at a large insurance company and then as an IT Specialist with IBM. I’ve programmed mainframes, midrange, PCs, Unix, Windows, client-server apps, web apps, you name it. But I finally got tired of the rat-race and retired. But I can’t help it, my new desire is to learn all the Web 2.0 tools and use them to help create a new world. 🙂
My Japanese name is Sumie Akimoto.
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