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Software specialists design, maintain and implement database management systems, computer applications and operating systems; they also analyze organizational software needs, devise solutions and maintain PC software and hardware systems. With the widespread use of computers and IT applications in modern work environments and the need for software solutions, software specialists are among the most sought-after IT professionals in the workplace.
A software specialist or professional is generally part of the IT team in large workforce businesses, government offices, educational institutions and multi-location organizations. She could also be a heading a unit engaged in software-related work and application areas in these work settings. She understands and analyzes specific organizational tasks and functional aspects, applies computer science techniques and mathematical logic to come up with solutions or programs and defines what deployed systems should do. In work environments with mature business processes, she looks to modify, enhance and improve IT systems and applications already in use.
Business Unit Teams
A software specialist is responsible for delivering software /IT solutions to the business side of the organization. Along with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and other IT team members, he interacts and engages frequently with business unit managers, project leaders, and functional heads and discusses specific business needs and requirements. He gauges the complexities of business processes and particular functional/business area issues, employing reasoning skills to come up with customized solutions. He advises on the use of proprietary software packages to address certain organizational needs.
Typical Daily Activities
A software specialist programs, tests, debugs, and maintains applications in client-server or Web-based environments; she also addresses systems performance issues and crashes. She collects, compiles and enters data and processed information into various software systems; she provides data entry support to department workers and professionals. In conjunction with accounts and finance managers, she allocates budgets for certain branded software packages and programs and recommends other organizational IT purchases and procurements.
Showcase Technical Skills
A software specialist generally acts as an IT troubleshooter for myriad organizational requirements. He has to showcase a host of technical and problem-solving skills, specialized domain knowledge and allied IT competencies for various roles as well as the ad hoc technical requirements of employees. He has to be familiar with spreadsheets, databases, Management Information Systems (MIS) and a variety of software systems, hardware, networking and software applications. In more recent Web-based working environments, he should understand electronic-business systems, browser-based applications, and new-generation Internet technologies, standards, methodologies and concepts.
A software specialist is also vested with certain additional responsibilities by the CIO or IT director. The professional performs a whole set of IT-related tasks and enables employees and the extended workforce to be efficient and productive with desktops, laptops and allied IT applications. She attends external technology seminars, symposiums and conferences to keep abreast of the latest developments in software technologies, IT practices and industry happenings. She uses her experience and specialized knowledge to train, mentor and familiarize new hires and inductees in the software unit team.
Based out of the metropolitan Washington D.C. area, Pallab Dutta has written on business, technology and management issues since 1994. He has freelanced for “The Wall Street Journal," “The Economic Times” and “The Times of India." Dutta holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Bombay University and a Diploma in modern information systems from IIT Bombay.