It would be hard to miss the macro trends affecting the IT industry today: BYOD (bring your own device), automation and outsourcing, Big Data, the as-a-service revolution (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, UCaaS, etc.), to list a few. These trends are bringing with them new IT jobs. That's the good news. The bad news is that older jobs that deal with technologies becoming rapidly obsolete no longer represent a way forward for many.
This is a serious issue for IT folks.Take a look at what the experts think. CIO magazine lists the jobs they see as having no future:
- The IT manager who lives to turn down requests: the one who doesn't have a BYOD/Mobile Device Management strategy, for instance.
- Specialists who go deep in a specific hardware, application, programming language, or development process.
- Desktop repair techs.
- System administrators.
- Technologists who have been relying on a long list of technical certifications after their name to get them a job.
- Web designers.
- Unix server specialists.
- Mainframe programmers.
- IT managers who guard their turf and reject integration with business teams.
In the fast-changing world of IT, successful careerists accept the need to continually train in new technologies and competencies to prepare for emerging job areas. What works now to get a well-paying job may well also become obsolete in 10 years or fewer.
What you want is mastery of an area that seems to have "legs" going forward (as of September, 2016). Here are some qualities and skills that will help you gain job security for the foreseeable future:
- An ability to say "yes" to change.
- The willingness to work with teams across IT and business to achieve business goals.
- Becoming a flexible generalist who goes beyond a specific programming language, piece of equipment, or application solution: be the one continually broadening his/her skill sets to surf the wave of new and emerging technologies.
- Workstation repair techs who have shifted to server repair and diagnostics in response to Big Data and the proliferation of servers on site, off site, and in the cloud.
- Shifting from systems administration to a hot new domain such as data analytics or security.
- Mastery of a scripting language, Python, Ruby, or PHP, instead of going after one of the older certifications.
- Shifting from Web design to SEO and marketing.
- Moving beyond a Unix focus to mastery of Linux and and open source solutions.
- Shifting from a narrow role as coder to becoming a software engineer who can align technology with the needs of the business.
- Moving beyond the IT silo to design solutions that save money, make money, or drive business innovation and productivity.
FYI: CIO magazine also lists in-demand skill areas that are associated with higher salaries: Spark, Microsoft Azure, cloud, Jira, security engineering, Cassandra, Salesforce, electrical engineering, big data.
Be a savvy careerist. Keep your head up and observe the way the wind is blowing. Adapt your career accordingly and you will go from strength to strength!