Working with Others

Your information technology career is not done in isolation. You need to work with others to do your job. Depending on your career choice, you may need to work with many people with many different backgrounds in many different contexts. Learning how to work with others is necessary for most IT professionals.

Working With Others* is a reality in almost every IT career. You can expect to work in different contexts doing different leadership activities.

Work Contexts

The different contexts you may need to work in are:

  • Work alone
  • Work independently
  • Work jointly with a partner or helper
  • Work as a member of a team

For example, a computer programmer may work indepently.  While they may be part of a bigger team, they primarily work by themselves and plan and schedule their work within the context of the team priorities and needs.

As well, systems analyst may work independently, but they often work in teams. These teams can vary in size and fomality and may include a project manager, business analysts/subject matter experts (SME), developers, technical architects, depending on the needs of the project. These teams are banded/disbanded as needed on a by-project basis.  As such, the systems analyst can expect to work with a variety of types of people withing projects and different people across projects.

Leadership Activities

There is a leadership joke/mantra that says "lead, follow, or get out of the way".  Work reality is not quite that simple.  Depending on your level in the your organization, you may be expected to do one or more of the following:

  • participate in formal discussions about work processes or product improvement
  • have opportunities to make suggestions on improving work processes
  • monitor the work performance of others
  • inform other workers or demonstrate to them how tasks are to be performed
  • orient new employees
  • make hiring recommendations
  • make hiring decisions
  • select contractors and suppliers
  • assign routine tasks to other workers
  • assign new or unusual tasks to other workers
  • identify training that is required by, or would be useful for, other workers
  • deal with other workers' grievances or complaints

As you move up the leadership hierarchy, the broader and deeper knowledge you need to know about your organization and their goals, culture, policy, precedures, rules and recommended practices. As well, the impact or your decision or actions has a broader impact.

Some examples:

  • Work independently: Computer network technicians coordinate and integrate job tasks with co-workers, such as programmers, technical support staff, system analysts, other network and web technicians and supervisors.
  • Work as a member of a team:Database analysts and data administrators work as members of teams. Database analysts coordinate their efforts with programmers, administrators and Internet designers to develop database management systems for customers. Data administrators coordinate and integrate their work with other analysts, programmers and developers to develop, test and implement database system components in accordance with policies and standards.


* See Government of Canada Essentiall Skills Guide for more inforation.