The future of IT careers: one view

Discussion in 'IT and Computer-Related Degrees' started by Daniel Luechtefeld, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Daniel Luechtefeld

    Daniel Luechtefeld New Member

    Nicholas Carr predicted this several years ago. Here's a good read about the way cloud computing/utility computing/SaaS will eliminate most technical IT positions within enterprises.

    According to this view there will be only two types of IT positions:

    -Generalists with deep AND broad technical skill sets. These will work in a small number of service providers who maintain infrastructure; the corporate IT department will outsource most of its positions to such service providers.

    -Business analysts and project managers who understand technology, the service provider ecosystem, and how to use them to monetize innovation, drive profits. Corporate IT departments will be largely comprised of these personnel.

    In my estimation, academic IS/IT programs are in a much better position to prepare students for the latter rather than the former.
  2. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    You're right - unless the degree includes preparation for Certificates (e.g. FHSU's CCNA/CCNP prep) and the person then sits for these and obtains them.

    I think it reiterates the fact that in order to succeed, one must marry a degree with certificates to satisfy the market. Now do you think that the undergrad would cover some of the broad skills, while graduate certs/diplomas/degrees would satisfy the deep?
  3. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    This is indeed the trend. I would add also that is an strong trends towards ERPs that basically can automate the full compnay. This will make almost obselete other business applications and will reduce considerably the amount of programming jobs required.

    In few words, Management Information Systems graduates will be in more deman that computer science graduates as the first have the business skills that are in more demand than the almost obselete programming skills that computer science have.
  4. Daniel Luechtefeld

    Daniel Luechtefeld New Member

    Think of technical route entrance as being through "trade school". Aspiring technical specialists should completely bypass academia in favor of vendor certifications offered through private training providers, with community college programs as a backup source. Alternatively, some may be able to enter the field through military service.

    I don't see any utility in a technical baccalaureate program that doesn't REQUIRE a certification....except as an admission *prerequisite*.

    If technicians want to move out of the data center at some point they can then go to college for business studies.
  5. BlueMason

    BlueMason Audaces fortuna juvat

    ...isn't that the way things used to be? No degree required - just some certs and lots of experience.. I got my first job while I was going to technical college because I had a ton of hands on experience vs. the folks with degrees (all theoretical knowledge)....

    Turning back time...
  6. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Computer Science graduates (I'm not one of them) will just pick up the Business skills through training and then develop skills further by working within a particular business domain, I'm sure they'll be OK. It does not work that way, IT people are proven to be very adaptive. CS people can't do busines domain skills, but they will learn how to.

    I cannot wait to see Bill Gates and others talking about the BA and Project Management professional shortage here in the states, thereby increasing the need for more H1-B's. Awesome.

    Sounds like wishful thinking from a bunch of MIS grads.
  7. Daniel Luechtefeld

    Daniel Luechtefeld New Member

    Many - most? - will choose not to. Totally different occupational cultures - non-conformist vs. conformist.

    Most CS grads with whom I've worked would rather, say, be climbing or perfecting a new bong design than playing golf on a Saturday with a customer's BA team.
  8. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Rule #1: No technical certification program teaches skills. They teach you how to pass a test.

    Rule #2: No technical collegiate program teaches skills. They expose you to people such that you're technically conversant and technology such that you don't embarrass yourself immediately in front of a console.

    Both of the above look good on resumes so that your employers know that you're interested in the field and have done the very basic groundwork.

    Rule #3: Skills are learned when a prospective employee researches the firms they are interested in working for.. targets the firm based on the people that work for it, get employed and work on the technology in real ways (real racks, real blades, real customers, real problems) and use the education in applied ways while learning from people better than they are.

    So deep and broad equals real experience plus certs and education. The bastions of employment will be service providers, consulting firms and the government. Much as they are right now. Everything else will fluctuate with the small business tides. Just because the products change and become more robust does not mean the world changes deeply.. just that the scenery changes.
  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur New Member

    Plus sa change, plus sa meme chose

    This translates to something simple - The IT field outside of mainframes is evolving to the way it has been for mainframes since the 1970s. If you agree with the assessment. I'm not convinced I do agree but it does suggest a working strategy to follow.

    For folks in the IT field it suggests a long term career management strategy - Look to folks who are now retiring from a career working on mainframes to see what their career trajectories looked like, then plan for a similar trajectory in your own career.

    Broad and deep describes what I've always targeted as a Systems Administrator anyways. I call it the "table model" for skills. You have to be able to cover everything in the field smoothly, the top of the table. For certain specialties you need to have technical depth that runs all the way down through the device drivers into the hardware, the legs of the table. As the technology changes you need to work on a new leg every few years to handle the fact that the terrain changes over time.

    When I started my career there were few computers outside of refrigerated data centers and that was the career model for everyone. The claim is that the wide expansion of IT is a flash in the plan with eventual consolidation. That happened with heavy industries during the industrial revolution and the market forces at work do parallel that process.
  10. Daniel Luechtefeld

    Daniel Luechtefeld New Member

    "Mainframe" is exactly the metaphor I've been using. We are returning to where we started: a shared computing environment, except that "time-sharing" has been succeeded by "virtual machines", "dumb terminals" by "thin clients" (Sun was ten years too early in promoting this vision).

    Once sufficient access link ("last mile") bandwidth is deployed globally, there will be a much higher level of infrastructure consolidation; with it, a higher level of IT career disruption for many.

    With this, we should see some shrinkage in the number of university IT/IS programs.
  11. ganapriya

    ganapriya member

    The boom in telecom sector around the world is also driving the IT sector.
  12. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    Very valid, actual and interesting discussion.

    I shared it with my father in law who after 30+ years in the industry (Northrop) mostly. SAS and other IS specialties retired.

    HE was commenting that this is indeed a cycle, first they centralized, then de centralized, de-centralized again and so the will is turning.

    But the sad reality is that we see many companies go further and get managed services from major providers.

    Everywhere I see Data Centers hosted in IBM /AT&T. My ex co workers tell me about the major outsourcing.

    My employer in last 3 years layoff 2 to 3 thousands of IT employees, from Unix admins to programmers, this week we had another wave.

    Is it a time for all IT workers to Unionize?
  13. djacks24

    djacks24 New Member

    Here is some involved discussion on that note.

    My personal opinion on Unions even though I've never been in one (except for when a company I was working for tried to unionize) is I can see from examples of what the Union has done to the auto industry. Union strong arming doesn't work anymore, and is more likely to put you out of a job. Here is an example of that.
  14. Unions would be effective if it were a GLOBAL union that included all nations. Unlikely to see that any time soon. An American IT union would be a really bad idea.

    Thanks to the OP. I hadn't given this much thought. My only addition would be that I don't necessarily see trained IT professionals making a smooth transition into other fields.
  15. djacks24

    djacks24 New Member

    I have to disagree with this on a couple of levels. First of all, unlike auto workers that were laid off in droves and have few transferable skills due to a lack of higher education, many IT professionals (but not all) have up to if not more than a 4 year college degree (like myself). Also many IT professionals with a college degree more than likely will have a degree in something other than computer science. IT has always been one of those fields that are not particularly strict on major. Furthermore with Technology being a part of everything, their IT background will be helpful in just about any professional role. I know for a fact with my niche level of skills, even if I couldn't find work I could make good money on the side, if not incorporate into my own business doing repairs or consulting. I just like the idea of a steady paycheck and set hours, but still do occasional side work.
  16. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    There is a thing as right type of union and wrong type of union.
    \Bad union will cause damage but lessons learned, non political dedicated, balanced IT union will be good for IT employees.

    Or they can wait until the jobs are all overseas.

    Well not exactly, as Ohio already has a law forbidding outsourcing public funded projects overseas. Way to go Ohio.
  17. rickyjo

    rickyjo New Member

    Posted to wrong thread, sorry.
  18. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    The fact that incompetent CEO's making grotesque amounts of money to run companies into the ground had much to do with it. Of course, the CEO's still get their golden parachutes.

  19. Daniel Luechtefeld

    Daniel Luechtefeld New Member

    In the carrier space, we have one: the Communications Workers of America . Much of Verizon is unionized, as well as some of AT&T .

    Those technicians in hardhats you see in Verizon commercials behind the "can you hear me now" guy? Union.

    The CWA - like other trade unions - plays a major role in training its apprentices. In concert with the IBEW, the CWA established "NACTEL" - its education and training arm. NACTEL, in turn developed an online telecommunications training curriculum in concert with Pace University:

    Granted, telecom is easier to unionize than other sectors - network transmission infrastructure is a utility like electricity or water. It can't be offshored anymore than plumbing can.
  20. apageor2

    apageor2 Member

    You know, I was able to step into my first programming position as a UNIX programmer due to the fact I worked for the company and noticed they were looking for someone so I figured what the heck. Since being an assistant manager was okay, the pay was good, this position would be more beneficial as the salary was quite higher.

    Needless to say, because I already worked at the company just in another department, it was a promotion. Secondly, during my interview there was an interesting discussion of my many learning skills with computers and how they were obtained on my own, not through a classroom. I moved to corporate 10 days later for training of the new system and from there I went to a corner office. =)

    How I managed to get the position was by speaking to the Director with respect, professional courtesy, and we even did joke a bit regarding the hectic business that day.

    The company did merge however I went back to school and began a consulting career. Now that I am almost finished with obtaining my PhD, I have started seeking options again. =)

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