Our IT IQ, or Information Technology IQ, needs to keep pace pace with constant changes
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IT IQ Rising

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Psychology is the study of the soul. Psyche is the Greek word for soul and "ology" is "to study" hence, psychology = to study the soul. The aim of psychology is to observe, understand and predict human behaviour. This is done through the application of various theories, i.e. psychodynamic, behavioural, CBT and any one of the phenomenological/existential theorist, including Strength therapy and Narrative therapy.

For ease, lets restrict our discussion to Behavioural which states that behaviour is learnt through positive and negative reinforcers, (what our society is based on), and CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), which states that our behaviour is dependent firstly on our thoughts, which cause us to feel and those emotions lead to our behaviour.

1. To understand this better let's begin with observation.

I have observed over the years, that IT savvy people (yes, I label them) have their own language and this I hypothesise to be the first hurdle to those of us who want to maintain an IT IQ equilibrium (nothing more, nothing less to get by).

IT IQ IT savvy people speak of URL, SEO, PDF, SMS, HTML, Flash, GIF, PNG, XML, PHP, MySQL, and JPEG - and that's the SHORT version! Nobody has ever explained to me the meaning of these acronyms, so I'm always at pains to understand what the conversation is about when I enquire about IT products and services.

2. Application of Theory

These conversations are extremely painful for me, and therefore the negative reinforcement (Behavioural theory) I receive from the high stress levels I experience during a conversation with an IT savvy person increases my anxiety when I next have to approach someone and they ask me questions in their attempt to understand my enquiry.

An example of this was when I recently bought a new laptop and assumed that when I got it home, the thing would work, (just like my old one). It didn't. I phoned the shop to enquire why nothing was on the laptop, where was my Google I asked? The reply was another question; "What browser are you using?" This is an immediate anxiety provoking question, (CBT). You see, when I browse, I'm usually in a book shop and I browse the books on the shelves.

So, I naturally want to answer: "My eyes," but I know the answer isn't that simple because the attendant on the other end of the phone should also know that (more negative reinforcement). There is a few moments of silence, and I'm thinking: "He thinks, I'm an idiot." My self-esteem plunges. I hesitate, uhmm-ing and aah-ing trying to find the right words (CBT). The answer can't be that obvious, I wonder: do IT savvy people wear special goggles when they work on computers, what the devil do they browse with?

I feign that the browser name is on the tip of my tongue, "Oh what's it called again?" I say, promising myself I will never use a stupid computer again if they are all this complicated, (negative reinforcement). The attendant senses my hesitation and usually answers the question for me; "Is it Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari maybe?" The serotonin and dopamine is released in my brain under this sense of magnificent relief and I say "Yes"- Then he asks again: "Which one?" ARGHHHHHHH!!!!

Regardless of our professions or trades, to remain employable we must now understand our field of expertise and the basics of IT. In our schools, universities and workplaces we must have basic IT skills to complete assignments, excel sheets (XLS, CSV etc) and power point presentations (PPP).

As the knowledge of the world doubles every five years, we are now expected to remain updated with the relevant legislation that effects our professions and keep up with the ever changing world of software updates. There isn't enough time in the day to do this. When something goes wrong we are asked, did you read the fine print, the contract details before you signed up, did you do your research? "No", I say, "TLDR!"

3. Prediction

It can only get worse. As a society that is becoming more dependent upon IT, the correlation between stress levels and the expectation to remain updated in order to stay competitive in the job market can only increase. Inundated with information while we are learning, the next model, update and apps are being rolled off the production line to hit the shop shelves before we finish reading the instruction booklet.

IT IQ Summary

The sense of loss of control over our lives that we need to feel secure continues to slip through our fingers, survival on less sleep, the amount of quality family time and time with friends will decrease. This sense of helplessness, and being overwhelmed will manifest in destructive behaviours such as road rage, and increased alcohol and drug consumption for some. Others will withdraw becoming hermits in their own homes,

The outlook is bleak: updates, extensions, and apps are increasing in an ever demanding consumer market that has no bounds. To not have the latest is to be seen as "having not made it", and it can only get worse! So to survive, we must turn to image. To have the latest and the greatest gives us prestige, IT street cred, amongst our friends. It validates us for who we are.

In conclusion, the human race has no choice but to increase their IT IQ. To survive, we must ALL become Geeks, and learn to cope with information overload!

Article by:
Angela Ashcroft B.B.Sc. (Hons)
Author of It Makes A Difference & Director of Insignia Solutions

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