Engr. Johnson Oke is an expert ICT Engineer. He is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He is a member of Nigerian Institute of Information and Communication Engineers (NIICTE) , and the Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE). He shares his opinions on ICT and its practitioners with Engineers’ Forum correspondent. It’s insightful and informative.
Covid-19 has affected our work structure where some organizations allow their workforce to work from home. Do you see this happening in the public sector?
It could happen in the public sector if the following strategies are properly mapped out:
- Virtual meetings, workshops, conferences /seminars are held by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs);
- Also, if all MDAs key into the deployment of Enterprise Content Management Systems which components include digitization of files and other records;
iii. Penetration/Provision of broadband internet services at homes and remote areas.
- Development of friendly user Platform to be mainstream into civil service structure
Globally, the workplace is becoming more digitalized, to what extent will you say government commitment to the deployment of ICT in the workplace?
The Government is more committed to the deployment of ICT in the workplace through the instrumentality of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation issuing a Circular Ref: HCSF/3057/Vol.1/77 of 22nd June 2020, mandating all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to commence the process of digitization/automation of their files and other records. The key benefits of adopting the aforementioned technology i.e Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS) are as follows:
Documents are never lost, misplaced or misfiled in EDMS;
There is provision for Data Recovery in case of a disaster or physical catastrophe in the office;
Ensure Availability, Confidentiality and Integrity of information resources;
Office Space management is enhanced;
EDMS saves time and reduces the cost of printing or copying documents.
The Civil service should begin to think of going Paperless, and also come up with strategies of the aspect of the service that should be virtualized and the one to be Physically attended to.
In today’s ICT world, what do you think is most important, certifications or degrees?
I think DEGREE is more important because it affords the practitioners/professionals the opportunity of being well versed in both understanding the underlying principles and practice of the ICT profession or discipline since ICT is a science and art while CERTIFICATIONS dwell largely on understanding the art.
But global corporations like Google, Microsoft etc are hunting for those with skill competence rather than those with degrees
Because of the large number of out of school children and youths we have and also a high level of unemployment, an easy way out is to professionalize using Certification, I strongly believe that both options of certification and degree should be made available. Also certification can be taken after a degree is acquired as well, to enhance ones technical know-how.
Would you say we have a clear cut alignment among the computer professionals especially when it comes to Computer Engineers and Computer Scientists?
There is a clear cut alignment in the schedule of duties between Computer Engineers and Computer Scientists.
Computer scientists generally design computers and conduct research to improve their design or use and develop and adapt principles for applying computers to new uses. They are distinguished from other computer professionals by the higher level of theoretical expertise and innovation they apply to complex problems and the creation or application of new technology. Computer scientists employed by academic institutions work in areas ranging from theory to hardware, to language design. Some
work on multidisciplinary projects, such as developing and advancing uses for virtual reality. Computer scientists in private industry work in areas such as applying theory, developing specialized languages, or designing programming tools, knowledge-based systems, or computer games.
In the other hand, computer engineers work with the hardware and software aspects of systems design and development. Computer engineers may often work as part of a team that designs new computing devices or computer-related equipment. Software engineers design and develop both packaged and systems software. Some common specialization areas for Computer Engineers are i. Computer System Architecture; ii. Embedded Systems; iii. Robotics & Automation; iv. Computer Networks and Security; v. Intelligent Systems; vi. Software Engineering. In other words, Computer Engineering is the combined fields of Information and Communication Technology (IT and ICT). This includes computer systems, software engineering and telecommunications systems. Microprocessors, computers, computer networks and computer network equipment, transmitters, receivers, antennas, microwave networks and optical fibres are discussed under equipment. Subjects such as computer programming, operating systems, the Internet, teletraffic engineering, data security and signal processing are addressed under the theoretical principles. All systems that form part of the design, installation, commissioning and management of systems forming part of the Information Super Highway form part of Computer Engineering. In summary, Computer engineering has traditionally been viewed as a combination of both computer science (CS) and electronics engineering (EE).
Computer Engineering is an outright Professional area when it has to do with ICT. There is a difference between ICT and IT; when it has to do with IT its Computer Science but when it has to do with ICT its Computer Engineering and Telecommunication Engineering.
The curriculum of Computer Engineering is not the same as Computer Science, Registering Computer Engineering under CPN is absolutely unacceptable
Given what you have stated above, ICT space is becoming contrived with inter boundaries melting. How do we address the confusion that’s setting considering there are discussions going on?
Although, there is a clear cut delineation in the schedule of duties between Computer Engineers and Computer Scientists, the ICT Industry still remains a multi-disciplinary environment where all professionals (Computer Engineers, Telecom Engineers, Computer Scientists, Cyber Security Experts etc.) should work in synergy to achieve a common goal of providing manpower solutions to problems existing in our organizations and at large our nation. The delineation of responsibilities of each professional in the ICT Sector is already depicted above. There would definitely be cross-breeding of ideas, strengths and competence in an ICT Ecosystem or Environment.
Please refer to the institution curriculum for direct demarcation, we don’t share the same syllabus with Computer Science., I strongly believe that there is need for the 2 sub-group NIEEE and NIICTE to come together and discuss ways of sorting out the difference with CPN.
Looking at the workplace do you think that robots will ever replace man and how soon will that be?
Robots might replace man when technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, 5G Mobile Networks are fully in place or implemented.
No, robot will not completely take over jobs but rather they will further complement and also open new job opportunities as New Robotic Engineers and experts will be unveiled.
The challenge of cyber security is real. How can organizations truly handle this?
Since Cyber-Security is a full-fledged discipline on its own in our Universities now, the organization can handle this by engaging the service of Cyber Security Experts to solve their cybersecurity problems.