Whether we are aware or not this fast paced changing technological world is shifting the way the world operates. We are surrounded by networks through which information flows constantly. Time and location are but a figment of the barriers from the past. The world has now become a global landscape where everyone is interconnected. Both commercial and social contact heavily relies on current information and communication technologies.
Professionals in the Field
This interconnected global landscape was not so in the past, especially in Belize where we’re still trying to keep up to pace with the developed countries. Luckily, our country has seen the need for ICT specialists, innovators, and entrepreneurs such as the likes of Ms. Janine Tillett, Mr. Harry Noble, and Mr. Otilio Chi. These are but a few of the persons in the ICT field in Belize who are gradually shifting the momentum and giving their calling for others to enter the field. Despite the differences in age, field of experiences, and educational backgrounds they all shared something in common. All sessions pointed out that information and communications technologies are rapidly changing the way our country operates, and at the same time they can be used for both our personal and professional development.
Belize Yesterday, Belize Today
Gone are the days of our colonial times, horse carts, inefficient man powered, coordinated, and hand written mail systems which all existed during the early years in Belize. It’s hard to believe we’ve come a long way with technology, just as hard to believe that Picasso once denounced computers and thought that they were useless (Artlyst, n.d). Fortunately, idea innovators such as Mr. Noble and others have seen opportunities where new ICT ideas can become the solutions to problems. Mr. Noble stated that as industry professionals we must find innovative ideas that can help in creating systematic approaches and thus making other jobs more efficient. In his case, the development of a simple database with names and addresses of clients for the company he was employed by created a more efficient and effective manner of distributing monthly bills. The task took many man hours to get it done before, but after the systematic approach was established a tremendous workload was taken off. Of course we must also understand that the people and process must undergo significant changes in learning, adapting, and growing in response to the introduction of these technologies (Kuruppurachchi, Mandal, & Smith, 2000). Simple ideas such as this in the 90’s within our country has given rise to the use of ICT in our everyday lives. We are now starting to see ICT in every field, and it has even begun to take a full swing in legal courts to create defense appeals as noted by Mr. Noble and Ms. Tillett.
Open Source Movement
While many strive to get the latest pirated copy of high end software applications to work on these innovative ideas, many fail to see that there are open source alternatives which are free. Open Source Org (n.d) defines open source software as “software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, or enhance.” It is an area to be noted in Belize because it has a real future for innovative ideas, viable set of job opportunity areas, and profitable end results for businesses. Both Mr. Noble and Mr. Chi emphasized the use of open source software at their respective employment organizations. If a company such as SMART which is one of our national telecommunication giants in the market is pushing towards the use of open source software; it’s definitely worth noting that there are grand opportunities to be tapped in our Belizean market especially for software developers venturing in open source platforms and languages.
Open Source Pro's
Additionally, these open source alternatives cut costs for any company and as such helping tap into more profits. In addition, as mentioned by Mr. Chi it promotes ease of use for development, inspection of already prebuilt code packages that can be modified to your own needs which in turn results in collaborative participation. Furthermore, the ethical principles promoted by the open creative commons ensures that professionals in the industry participate in an ethical manner that does not violate any laws, but rather embraces open exchanges, transparency, and community oriented development. The movement is here to stay, and it is bound to get stronger within our country. Finley (2016) points out that these applications are creeping into our daily lives, and chances that you are already using it are high. They may be running on your cellphones, tablets, and websites used on a routine basis.
Both innovative and open source movement open doors to job opportunities, entrepreneurship ideas along with professional and personal development. Thibodeau (2012) reports that jobs alone in the IT field will grow 22% through 2020, this supports the claims of both Mr. Chi and Ms. Tillett that there are jobs out in the Belizean market for people with the equipped ICT skills. Despite the fact that many in the field aim for jobs such as networking, and databases there is a high demand for software developers as stated by all three guest presenters. It is a very high demanding position, but it also has many lucrative benefits. Companies such as SMART are targeting young professionals who are versatile in this area, and the demand will continue to grow as technology influxes our country.
The advancements today which professionals have helped shape both in our country and the world as has dramatically impacted our daily lives. It’s difficult to imagine being without all the network infrastructure that plays a crucial part in almost everything today. As young professionals in the field we need to entice and invite both young men and women to enter the field so that we can truly embrace the benefits it has for our country. There is a need to break the traditional thinking that technologies are here to take some jobs away as Ms. Tillett mentioned. While some technologies remove tedious repetitive tasks they are also opening new and important roles for the community. Ultimately, the University of Belize is a successful job in preparing its alumni as can be seen by the footsteps taken by both Ms. Tillet and Mr. Chi who are enjoying successful careers in the field.
Artlyst. (n.d). Picasso Denounced Computers in 1968. Retrieved from http://www.artlyst.com/articles /picasso-denounced-computers-in-1968
Finley, K. (2016). Linux Took Over the Web. Now it’s Taking Over the World. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2016/08/linux-took-web-now-taking-world/
Kuruppurachchi,P., Mandal, P., Smith, R. (2000). Technology Introduction in a Systematic Context for IT Project Success. Retrieved from http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-72/051%20Kuruppu%20Technology.pdf
Open Source Org. (n.d). What Is Open Source?. Retrieved from https://opensource.com/resources what-open-source
Thibodeau, P. (2012). IT Jobs Will Grow 22% Through 202, Says US. Retrieved from http://www.computerworld.com/article/2502348/it-management/it-jobs-will-grow-22-- through-2020--says-u-s-.html
published by Alberto J. Matus