Monday, October 31, 2005

The Near-Future of IT

This past Friday, I attended a conference on the near-future (read: next 5 years) of Information Technology in terms of job availability and skill sets. There were a handful of panel speakers representing various large companies in the Chicagoland area, speaking to what they look for in IT candidates for their technology departments, and what they anticipate as far as future needs through 2010. Some things surprised me; others didn't.

The top 10 things I learned about the near-future of IT in Chicagoland:

1. Application programming is dead. Every single company said that they no longer hire in-house application developers. Instead, they use canned solutions out-of-the-box. This does, however, increase their need for software support personnel on-site.

2. The only niche in application programming that will continue to be viable in this area over the next few years is game programming, particularly since Chicago is home to one of the biggest game development companies - Midway games.

3. The need for web programming and web services developers has been consistant and will continue to grow.

4. There is still a need for network administrators, from entry level technicians through network and systems analysts. These jobs can't be outsourced or shipped overseas.

5. Network security is huge, and the current shortage of qualified candidates to fill positions is only going to get worse.

6. Companies are no longer looking for the jack-of-all-trades IT types. They want people with an extreme depth of knowledge on particular brands or subjects, and not necessarily a wide breadth of knowledge.

7. Industry certifications still get the nod over people who hold no certifications, but a college degree is also required. Bachelor's degrees are the new minimum, and Master's degrees are required for management positions.

8. Most companies prefer to hire people with experience, even at entry level - making internships that much more important.

9. Finding job candidates with a good work ethic is no longer enough; solid moral ethics are also required, particularly in security roles.

10. The next big IT boom will be upon us by the year 2010, so get ready!

1 comment:

cdthompso1 said...

Interesting observations. I followed your link over from a comment you made on Digg about hot tech skills in '06.

I do take issue with #1 and #3 on your list, however, and I think this is more than just a semantic point. Since many new application development efforts begun today and in the future are for web based applications (due to reduced deployment/support costs, universal accessibility, etc.), I'm not sure I understand the distinction you make between "application development" (number 1) and "web programming" (number 3). If by application development you mean fat client/desktop-side executable programs, then I understand and support the claim that the field is dead or at least dying. However, many companies still make the business decision to build software in-house (vs. procure a COTS application), and many of those development efforts are in building web applications. So web programmers are getting hired to build those applications and, as you stated, this is a high growth area.

So does "application development" mean fat client development?