Everyone’s an information worker

In an editorial written for BBC News late last year, Bill Gates argued that digital technology has transformed almost everyone into an information worker.

“That’s true for everyone from the retail store worker who uses a handheld scanner to track inventory to the chief executive who uses business intelligence software to analyse critical market trends,” he said.

This underscores a modern-day truism: a solid working knowledge of productivity software and other IT tools has become a basic foundation for success in virtually any career.

Gates also reminds us that a career in IT is not one where you are locked away in a dark room by yourself all day.  People skills are vital.

As Gates says “Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.”

Perhaps the most telling thing about Gates’ article on the BBC website is the feedback from readers, who hailed from everywhere from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, and from Germany to New Delhi.  They universally applauded digital technology from every corner of the globe.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Ollie said,

    There’s a bunch of terms we tend to bandy about quite freely without ever really explaining: Information Worker, Knowledge Worker, Structured Task Worker and Data Entry Worker.

    I see an Information Worker as an overarching term which describes one of three subsets of workers:

    The Knowledge Worker, who works with ideas and manages teams. Creates, consumes, transforms, analyses. Examples: middle/senior managers, consultants, marketing execs.

    The Structured Task Worker, who tends to work only with data and information, not ideas. Consider bank clerks, call centre operators, nurses.

    The Data Entry Worker, who creates and consumes, but don’t transform or manage information. This type of user typically works in some kind of administrative, secretarial or receptionist role.

    So, when we talk about information workers, we are still talking about people who are process driven, rather than ideas driven.


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