thatitguy40 years ago we saw Apple delivering its first Apple II in 1976. Atari, Commodore and yes, Texas Instruments, were the most common computers found in offices. In August of 1976 Computerland had 14 stores and Radio Shack was popular with their TRS-80 Model 1 that had just been released.

Back then, most of us working in offices eyed our computer equipment with love and a great deal of distrust. It was so easy to wipe out all your work or the entire office’s files. Companies started hiring “IT guys” to deal with the “blue screen of death” and the numerous operator and hardware induced errors. The IT guys were beloved while being mostly ignored by the corporate office and structure. To many, they were a necessary evil driving overhead costs up during this fascinating yet nightmarish scenario of early technology meeting business.

Fast forward to today. IT has become a driving force in business and personal lives. Those geeky imaginations? Just look at what they’ve done and imagine what these bright, hardworking, dedicated technology professionals may invent going forward. No longer focused solely on buying, maintaining and upgrading hardware and software, they’re seeking ways to monetize and deploy new capabilities and related innovations.

InformationWeek talks about the “new IT” transition and poor visibility holding IT teams back. However, many companies outside of the technology industry have integrated IT seamlessly into their business goals, R&D, and service or product delivery to clients. One industry that’s embraced IT is engineering.

I’m not talking about software or hardware, I’m talking about the engineering firms that design your roadways, wastewater and water treatment plants, environmental mitigation and recovery plans and more. Just take a look at Tetra Tech, CH2M, and AECOM and others.

Almost all their projects have a strong IT component. They have integrated the technology of today with strategies for tomorrow, helping to plan, design and build Smart Cities, Stadiums, Transportation Systems, and more. Their IT executives and team members are heavily involved in developing new programs and offerings for their clients, work closely with the decision makers in their companies, and are sought out by engineers, scientists and business professionals for their insights and practical application of their knowledge.

Andi Mann, author of the article for InformationWeek, is right. The technology industry is moving forward and the “New IT” leaders, as she calls them, are gaining ground and making impacts that help give their companies a competitive edge. That “IT Guy” is your differentiator and these engineering firms know it.