Networking, NT skills key in '99

Advanced networking skills and more knowledge about Microsoft's Windows NT, are the skills that many IS managers want their people to acquire next year.

In a series of interviews with IS managers from Ayala Life Assurance; Dutch Boy Phils.; the Jaka Group of Companies; Pilipinas Bank; and Traders Royal Bank, ComputerWorld Philippines also learned that a sharpening of programming skills will be another priority in 1999.

Networking skills will be very important to some companies next year as they work to link their offices and branches. Titus Carlos Cortes, manager of the technical support staff and operations at Ayala Life, said they are implementing a virtual private network over a wide-area network, and will therefore need skills in networking and Web technology.

Henry Y. Lim, IS manager at Dutch Boy Phils., told ComputerWorld that his top priority in 1999 in terms of training is to develop skills in local-area networks and wide-area networks. Lim and his networking people are currently busy working on connecting the company's Cavite and Makati offices. "I want my people to enhance their networking skills next year so that we don't have to depend too much on our suppliers," said Lim. "Sometimes when we have a problem, we have to wait for the suppliers to come over to fix the networks, but now we can't afford to do that."

Rose Reyes, IT support manager for the Jaka Group of Companies, said she would like her people to gain more knowledge in Internet and intranet technologies.

Most of the managers ComputerWorld interviewed say that acquiring more skills in Microsoft technology will be very important to them because they have standardised on the vendor's platform. For instance, at Jaka, their platform is Windows NT. "Since our platform is Windows NT, I'd like my staff to advance their knowledge in NT," said Reyes.

Aside from networking skills, Lim of Dutch Boy wants his staff to be more knowledgeable in Microsoft Exchange. "We are having a hard time configuring Microsoft Exchange," he said.

Nancy Alicbusan, senior manager for the information systems division at Pilipinas Bank said that she would like her people to acquire skills in Windows NT.

Benedicto G. Pineda, manager for the EDP manager at Traders Royal Bank added that he would also want his staff to learn more Windows NT skills next year. However, he added, budget restraints may be a problem.

Enhancing programming skills will also be part of some companies' IT training budget. Pineda of Traders Royal Bank said that he would like more of his staff to be equipped with Visual Basic programming skills. He said that currently he has only one programmer who is knowledgeable in Visual Basic. "We're using Visual Basic for developing loans applications because the result is faster applications."

Alicbusan also wants her people to sharpen their skills in Visual Basic programming. Another area Lim wants his people to sharpen their skills in is in RPG 400 programming.

There are other skills that the IS managers want their IT workforce to hone. These include:

-- Year 2000 conversion skills

-- Knowledge of firewall technology

-- Setting up a help desk

-- Systems analysis and design skills

-- Supervisory skills

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