Are you a Professional? Really?

Many in the IT field love to be called professionals. They take pride in the fact that being called a professional puts them “above the rest”. But really – can you claim to be a professional just because of some badge or achievement or exam you’ve passed?
I talk to many professionals in the SMB space, and one of the things I constantly hear is that they never have time to test out software before deploying it to a clients site. When they have problems, they then blame the software vendor for the issue and not accept the fact that they might have eliminated many of the issues had they taken the time to do some testing first. I don’t for a minute think that doing testing in your own environment will eliminate ALL the things you are likely to see onsite, because things are often different, but taking the time to play with things first means you can more easily become a real professional.
I also hear that people don’t have time to do this because they need to be earning money. Isn’t this part of the rate you charge the customer? Isn’t this part of being a professional that the customer expects that you do know what you are doing?
I also know that you can’t possibly test out every piece of software before you deploy it to the clients – in that circumstance, I advocate being upfront with the client and let them know that you can’t test this before deployment and I’d expect some consideration given in terms of billing for the client whilst you learn on the fly. It seems only right doesn’t it?
Doctors never perform an operation on a live patient – therefore why should we “professionals” go out and do things to our customers network environment if we’ve not even tried it out on our own environment first?
Are you a professional… really?

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