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Generation Y: Technology Gurus or Smart Asses

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It has been said that most of Generation-Y thinks they know everything about computers and technology. And although I don’t work in a technology role, I am often called upon by different colleagues to help them solve a computer problem. In most cases, I either know how to solve the problem, or I am able to trouble shoot my way to a solution.

In a way these situations make me feel pretty good. But I had to ask myself today, is my generation full of technology gurus? Or are we smart asses who think we know everything about technology because we know how to do a couple of cool things on a PC?

To answer my own questions, let’s first look at my technological background (which I would imagine is pretty similar to most college graduates my age):

  • 19 years experience working with computers and software applications
  • 8 years experience managing web-based applications
  • 12 years experience working with Microsoft Office
  • 7 years experience managing my own personal web site
  • 100’s of hours experience managing my reputation online (yes, Facebook counts)

But are we as special as we think we are? My answer would be no, not really. And while others might consider parts of my job very technical (web sites and graphic design), I do not. Each generation coming after us will have at least the same technical understand of computers and software as we do. It comes with growing up and being educated in the era that we did. It is our responsibility to understand technologies and bring them to the workforce. It will help our country improve efficiency.

I had a basketball coach once say that if he were able to find a younger player who could do what I could do, as good as I could do it, that he would go with the younger player because he had a greater upside.

But is this true in business? No. You can’t possibly learn everything about business without experience beyond technology.

We should be weary of believing our upside is so strong that we should be allowed to check Facebook four times a day. We have a lot to learn and gain in experience in terms how to manage relations and how to work with a diverse team with varying size egos.

I hope that Generation-Y professionals learn to embrace their computer skills with some humility. (And yes, we are all very talented.) But we must not forget that before long we will be asking our even younger professional colleagues for help with new technologies.

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Written by Allan Woodstrom

March 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Allan, I agree that Gen Y can be snobby about their tech use, in fact I think most tech geeks really think they are hot stuff.

    Funny story though about how these tech savvy youngsters think about this stuff for business:

    I spoke at the Marist College biz club in December and asked how many people knew what Twitter was, and one person raised their hand. I asked if anyone had written a blog and only 2/40 people had ever done it. Maybe it’s just me being hot on this stuff, but it really seems there is a disconnect Gen Y and using this stuff for real life application

    Factor77.tv

    March 26, 2009 at 8:17 pm

  2. Like the comment above there is a disconnect right now. But I think its the college graduate to maybe 30yrs old that is really hot on all this stuff. During that time we are going to fall into habits and like and not like certain things.

    Then when were older were going to hate the next twitter that all the 23yr olds are using and will be forced to be taught it.

    So it is very important to just stay current. Everything changes so fast. I don’t think anyone is in the position to say they know all because literally tomorrow they won’t.

    Jared O'Toole

    March 26, 2009 at 9:50 pm

  3. Something I have noticed is the disconnect, as pointed out by the two posters above. However much is made of a youth of intuitively tech savvy beings, tech-savvy is subjective, and the definition is an individual perspective. A person who is called upon to help with technological issues that confound the user will be deemed technically astute, no matter what those issues are. So again with more knowledge of up and coming websites, or even usage of popular ones, as with facebook.

    Generation Y knows how to use a computer, knows how to communicate using it and knows that it is a part of their lives. That does not mean that they know how it works, what to do when it doesn’t and are technologically advanced. They know how to use it.

    Many people know how to use vehicles, how to communicate when using them and know that they are a part of their lives. Do they know how the vehicles work? What to do when they don’t? Are they mechanically advanced? I would not say so, but they know how to use them.

    Using a tool does not mean you understand it, but it might appear that way to someone who does not use the tool.

    What is tech to you? What does it mean to you to be a technology guru?

    McDuck

    April 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm


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