Defining the term technologist

What exactly is a technologist?

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Chris Gunn

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Chris Gunn

I see the term technologist often and asked myself this morning what it really means.  Is this one of those terms that means different things to different people? Is it a good or bad term or does it just provide a descriptive title? It seems the term has become more generalized over time as technology continues to advance.

I’ve described myself as a business technologist. I use the term because I like to use technology to solve business problems. But heck, technology is in every facet of life today. So is the label technologist really ubiquitous to all of our lives?

Years ago, the business world created a department and called it “Information Technology”.  “IT guy” is a term used both in vain and effectiveness (sometimes in the same sentence!).    Today’s IT shop still has staff dedicated to supporting computers. But as more business workers gain comfort with using and supporting computers, the role of IT is changing more into systems integrations.  Information Technologist is a term about understanding data and how to move data between systems.

I looked for job postings on LinkedIn with the word “technologist” and found a broad range of jobs like Radiologic Technologist, Marketing Technologist, Medical Technologist, Engineering Technologist, Creative Technologist and User Support Technologist.  You can see the term is used to cover a wide range of careers.

Technologists are defined by curiosity and a breadth of knowledge.

The Curious Technologist defines the term technologist this way:

The wide ranging skill-sets which are the hallmark of technologists are ideal for connecting people, technology, and business opportunities. Rather than spending years of education and experience on any one thing, a technologist has an intense curiosity in technology in general.

That definition differentiates a technologist from a specialist. In this sense the technologist is defined as a connector more than a technician. The technologist uses the technology tools to connect people and systems with each other. They enjoy their craft more for the puzzle than for the technology.

That’s a good starting point to define the term. But I sense this label will continue to evolve and may one day fade out because it’s too general.

Onward and upward!