The ABC’s of IT Part 2: IT team

Looking to expand your IT team? Our new series is all about understanding the ins and outs of IT and OT so you can accelerate your business’ performance.

IT is one of South Africa’s most in-demand skills, with many companies willing to pay a small fortune to build an. IT team with the level of expertise they need.

In a market where jobs are scarce, the promise of a serious salaries has attracted many professionals to this highly-competitive industry. Unfortunately, there are a lot of chancers too.

Putting your IT department in the wrong hands can have destroy your business. But how do you tell serious IT talent from the tricksters?

What’s at stake when hiring your IT team?

You may not be convinced, but when it comes to IT, bad hiring decisions can lead to disaster.

You can expect delays in getting new joiners up and running, and delays dealing with simple IT issues. But worse, under-qualified IT teams don’t know how to stop serious security threats. That means lengthy days and the constant risk of downtime and cyber attacks.

IT imposters also tend to have a superficial knowledge of suppliers, technology and operating systems. That means whenever you ask them for advice, you’re not getting the objective input you need to make an informed choice. You don’t want to be stuck with problematic software.

Given the possible impact on your operations, security, and long-term performance, it’s not worth the risk to employee anything but the best IT team. But how can you tell who qualifies?

A CTO KNOWS: Hiring the wrong IT talent can have a long-lasting impact on every part of your business.

Hiring an IT team? Here’s what to look for.

Many of the best IT professionals are self-taught, and learn their trade through experience. However, a qualification from a reputable university or college is a good sign that the applicant has the base knowledge in place.

Most of the country’s leading institutions offer courses in Information Technology and Computer Science, so keep an eye out for a legitimate degree or diploma.

Next, assess their level of work experience. Remember that in this case it’s quality over quantity. It’s far more useful to have a candidate who has 1 year of experience building secure network infrastructure from scratch than another who has been building basic websites as a hobby for 5.

Lastly, look for specific instances of working across different technology environments. In most cases it’s ideal to have a generalist with a broad range of experience rather than a very niche set of technical skills.

A CTO KNOWS: Qualifications, quality experience and a broad range of skills are all promising signs.

Trust your instincts

One last tip when hiring an IT professional is to trust your instincts – particularly during interviews.

IT teams need to be cool under pressure, so don’t hesitate to throw some complex technical questions their way when you interview them. If possible, have your IT lead or an expert in the room with you to assess their responses.

Culture and personality are important, too. Ask yourself if is this somebody you can trust with your business in the long term? Don’t discount your initial reactions – sometimes a bad impression is a warning of worse to come.

A CTO knows: First impressions last for a good reason. Assess the in-person interactions as well as the applicants qualifications and references.

The Last Word

The IT team and talent you hire can make, or break, your business. Make sure you conduct thorough checks, and assess their qualifications, experience, and personality to avoid getting duped.

Need objective IT guidance? We’re here to help.