IT Business Edge blogger Don Tennant recently wrote a post in which he advised unemployed technology professionals to consider relocating to parts of the U.S. (or even other countries) where their skill sets are in demand. That's good advice for the short term, but over the long haul many IT pros may need to revamp their skills to adapt to a future workplace that looks very different from the current one.
Writing on Computerworld, Mitch Betts shares some points from a new report from the Corporate Executive Board's Information Technology Practice. Thanks to cloud computing and other emerging technologies, the report predicts large chunks of traditional IT will vanish, with some roles taken over by external service providers and others becoming embedded in the broader business. Two of the scariest views: IT headcount will drop by 75 percent or more, and the CIO "will [either] expand to lead this broader group or shrink to manage technology procurement and integration."
This isn't exactly a big surprise. Folks have been talking about this coming shift in IT for quite some time, although not with the kinds of stark numbers mentioned in this report. It's important to remember that 75 percent of IT jobs won't go away. A good number of them will be absorbed by the broader business. Some IT pros who beef up their "soft" skills such as vendor management, process improvement and project management will no doubt successfully make that transition.
Those who can't see themselves in those kinds of roles might want to focus on integration, which Accenture's director of cloud computing predicts will become IT's primary responsibility, or the development of certain types of software such as mobile apps or analytics.
One bit of good news, this won't happen overnight. It will take companies some time to find the optimal mix of internal cloud, external cloud and managed services. (It will be a little different for every company, of course.) But major changes are coming, and IT pros who can't or won't recognize that now may find themselves unemployed in the future.