Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IT Managers who are also webmasters

I've never worked for a large company. Well, I take that back - Ingram Micro is a large company but when I worked for them back in the day they were very small. Most of my career has been in a small IT shop where I am the only computer guy or one of a small group of two or three or four computer guys.

I like that arrangement because I get to wear a lot of hats. One of those hats is the webmaster. I wouldn't say that I'm a really good graphic artist. In fact, I would say that graphic design is not one of my creative strengths. Don't get me wrong - I know good design when I see it. I just haven't been able to produce it myself on a consistent basis.

That's why when it came time for a new Web site for my employer, I didn't mind when we decided to farm it out to an outside agency. Of course, I and my associate computer guy will end up maintaining it in Dreamweaver just like we do our current Web site. The new site looks cool with all the Flash animation. You would think I would have learned Flash by now.

Well, I know for those who use it every day that Flash is simple stuff. But most of my day is spent putting out fires and helping the employees use their computers. I'm amazed sometimes at the simple stuff that my co-workers don't know about Windows or how files are stored on servers or how they can access their email from off-site. You know - basic stuff.

See, that's my point. What's basic stuff to me, a certified network engineer, is a mysterious world to my co-workers who only use a computer to communicate. Likewise, the world of graphic design is a mysterious world to me, a man of many hats. It takes a lot of patience to create all those little Flash illustrations. I know because I've tied.

So even though I am the webmaster, don't ask me to create you an award-winning Web site. I'll maintain it for you once it gets designed, but my web work is basic stuff. I don't feel bad about that because I add so much value to the company in all the other areas in which I am an expert. I love what I do and appreciate the variety - including working with outside designers.

What do you think? Can an IT guy be an exceptional webmaster as well as a great engineer?

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