Bridging The Digital Divide

Photo by  Markus Spiske  on  Unsplash

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

by: The Memo Staff

In 1959, Peter Drucker, famed management consultant, coined the term knowledge worker. A knowledge worker is a professional who "creates, modifies, [...] simplifies," and amplifies knowledge to meet the goals of their office. Madame C.J. Walker, knowledge worker. Indra Nooyi, knowledge worker. Corvida Raven, knowledge worker. Olivia Pope, knowledge worker.

While many of these women work(ed) in traditional industries, they found a niche within those industries to set themselves apart from their peers and colleagues. Today, that niche is information systems (IS) and a solid understanding of technology. Regardless of your industry, knowledge of digital platforms and information systems is a must to remain competitive in the ever changing world.

More and more, companies are understanding how much diversity is good for business. As a woman of color, how can you get ready and stay ready to be a knowledge worker in your office?

Depending where you are in your journey, here are a few places to get started:

  • Go Back To School and/or Get Hands On Experience: There are a number of degree programs (both online and offline) in IS and other technology related specialties. Choosing which one is right for you depends on your goals and interests. Schools like Stanford and MIT also offer free online courses to level up in technology. Additionally, you can gather real world experience by partnering with more technical people in your office on a project.

  • Take An Online Course: Many of the popular sites like Lynda, Coursera, and Udemy offer courses (and certificates in some cases) on various topics in technology, including databases, data science, cloud architecture, and enterprise solutions.

  • Visit Your Local Library: From computer basics to more advanced learning, many public libraries offer computing and other technology courses for free. If you live around the New York area, check out the New York Public Library's offerings.

Depending on the knowledge you gain along the way, here are some IS buzzwords to highlight your new skillsets 1:

o Infrastructure as a service
o Business-IT alignment
o Enterprise solutions
o Business Process modeling
o Customer-facing application development
o Data warehousing
o Cloud utilization
o Systems Analysis

Gaining knowledge of the digital side of your industry and IS systems - no matter which industry it is - is almost guaranteed to help you get and keep your seat at the table.

1: Valacich, Joe and Christoph Schneider. Information Systems Today, Managing in the Digital World. Pearson, 2014.