There's inherent change in the field of IT. While bedrock concepts such as software development, administration of networks or operating systems and security requirements have been in place for decades, infrastructural evolution is a factor that has grown more prevalent in recent years. In the 1990's many system administrators got Novell CNE (Certified Novell Engineer) or Microsoft MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) certifications and then dwelt fairly predictably within those realms. Now, however, mobile and cloud computing, the rise of big data and the importance of business continuity/disaster recovery have made today's tech landscape a very different place from the almost quaint era of desktop client/server management and exclusively in-house systems.
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This evolution had a significant impact upon information technology employment and the available career options therein. Many types of jobs can now be performed remotely (or overseas, provoking more global competition), physical systems are being replaced by virtualized editions and entire data centers are moving up to the cloud, endangering certain traditional roles - while also laying the groundwork for new opportunities.
It's been said for years now that IT workers would benefit from stronger business knowledge in order to remain competitive. This factor is undoubtedly important as occupational lines are blurring - the system administrator parked in the server room fixing problems while avoiding human contact is being replaced by the technology and communications expert well-versed in training and project management, offering face-to-face solutions geared towards meeting company needs rather than establishing them.
However, it's important to keep in mind that while business skills come in handy to establish relevance and prove one's value, focusing on the right technologies is an even bigger part of the picture - it represents the foundation of the trade. Business skills are only useful when they are wedded to meaningful technology to capitalize upon them. Knowing which trends will take off, gain momentum and become common can future proof an IT career and ensure you stay on top of the game - and stay in demand.
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As a result of the changes, Tech Pro Research, TechRepublic's premium content sister site, is studying how IT jobs have evolved and how they are expected to continue to change. Please take a few minutes to respond to Tech Pro Research's Future of IT Jobs survey, and you'll have the option of requesting a free copy of the resulting research report to find out what others are saying about your field, or one you're considering.
We'd like to take a look at how IT professionals are responding to the current technology landscape and get feedback on what they're doing in their careers; what they've worked on, where they are expanding their skillsets, and what they expect to see down the road both personally and within their industries. Is the cloud really The Way in your mind? What about big data and mobility? How are you planning to remain in the game of IT - or are you moving into other fields? Please let us know your thoughts to provide us a view of what you're seeing so we can share these details with the IT community and help look to the future.
Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.