Every new generation is a step ahead when it comes to technology. That's how we make progress in IT.
And every new generation is naive when it comes to the realities of business IT: budgets, regulations, business requirements, training and support costs, even the fact that business -- not technology -- is what the IT shop is all about.
Managing newcomers to the workforce is nothing new, despite the moaning of boomer managers and the dire predictions of pundits. We have to show them what the business needs and motivate them to turn their technical chops into practical solutions for real business problems.
Does that mean coddling or catering to them? Not unless we're really desperate.
Does it mean turning to Web 2.0? Maybe. If it does, have them figure out the business case for it -- once we've shown them how to make a business case.
Most important, does it mean bending over backward to meet the demands that pundits tell us these kids will bring to the IT workplace?
Of course not. They're not as lazy, noisy and funny-looking as we think they are, but these kids are also nowhere near as dumb as the pundits imagine them to be.
They know they're not here for fun -- or to make demands. They're here to work.
That's how come we're paying them to do it.