Just Three IT Jobs in Future? I Don't Think So

Susan Hall

The whole realm of cloud computing and its effect on the IT work force remains a popular topic, though it feels like we're having our palms read at a carnival. Who knows what IT's fortunes will be in the future?


Writer Jason Hiner at TechRepublic, however, maintains that because most workers have used technology for at least a decade and often want to select and set up their own technology, most companies don't need that much in the way of IT staff. He sees the future of IT boiling down to just three jobs:


  • Consultants: It's true that companies increasingly are farming out traditional IT administration and support functions to third-party consultants. Hiner predicts more of this and that corporate IT folks in the future will be working instead for the service providers. ( I think a better label would be third-party providers, since there's some confusion with temps and contractors also being called consultants in the IT media.)
  • Project managers: He expects these folks to be working in the business units rather than a centralized IT department, similar to the changed roles of managers predicted in this InfoWorld article.
  • Developers: Hiner predicts the largest job growth among developers, a point that some experts would certainly dispute. Petco serves as a recent example of moving away from its culture of internal development to outsourcing that work. As Susan Cramm, founder of executive career-development and strategy consultancy Valudance, says in the InfoWorld story, "Someone still has to do that programming; it's just not you." So perhaps that job growth among developers also will be with third-party providers.


As our Mike Vizard has pointed out, that means a cultural change in IT from managing devices to managing services:

... a combination of technical, economic and cultural issues are coming together to force IT organizational change. Rather than being seen as simply letting that just happen to the IT department, IT leaders would be well advised to be the ones seen as driving those actual changes.

In arguing that government IT job numbers fail to fully count the profession, analyst David Foote has long made the point that many IT roles these days are hybrid positions that reside within the business units. It would seem that many more tech jobs will be going that way. My colleague Ann All has written that work force development will be among the CIO's biggest challenges.


Ann quoted Charles Feld, former CIO for Frito-Lay, founder of the Feld Group consultancy and author of "Blind Spot: A Leader's Guide to IT-Enabled Business Transformation," saying that CIOs must help develop "versatile, multidisciplinary, multicultural leaders who can think strategically about systems and patterns and who can take leadership of an organization and drive execution."


So while the traditional IT department is shrinking, technology remains vital to that coveted holy grail, business agility. That means there will be tech jobs, probably just different ones.

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