Banking

Problems that contributed to the poor economy can also be a growth area for IT pros

With more than 500,000 job cuts announced so far this year in all industries, it's hard to find a silver lining in the job market. But according to workplace and employment authority John A. Challenger, the same issue that caused the economy to flop -- poor risk management -- will offer a rich job growth area in the long-term.

With more than 500,000 job cuts announced so far this year in all industries, it's hard to find a silver lining in the job market. But according to workplace and employment authority John A. Challenger, the same issue that caused the economy to flop -- poor risk management -- will offer a rich job growth area in the long-term.

In a speech at the annual Business Continuity Management Summit and annual Risk Management and Compliance Summit in Chicago, Challenger said:

"Many companies learned the hard way that business continuity planning is not just for tornados and terrorist attacks. How do you recover from a financial disaster? How do you ensure business continuity when your primary supplier is unable to obtain the credit needed to stay in business?"

A recent survey by Towers Perrin found that nearly 50 percent of CFOs expect to implement broad changes to risk management policies and practices, from the shop floor to the boardroom.

Challenger also said:

"The job outlook for IT professionals in risk management and business continuity is strong, but they will need to take steps to avoid layoffs during the current turmoil and position themselves for future growth. The best way to do this is to become indispensable and the best way to do that is to become the go-to problem solver.

This is easier said that done. It requires a broad understanding of one's employer and its objectives. You must also have knowledge and understanding of the industry, current events, news and trends. You have to be part historian and part futurist. All of this knowledge is critical to identifying the problems that face your company and how they can be addressed."

People pursuing this line of work must also be able to communicate solutions to the decision makers within their organizations. As I've mentioned before in this blog, you must learn how to speak the language of business. You have to be able to identify problems but also know how to explain the problems and their solutions in terms of the bottom line and ROI.

The other way to position yourself in this environment? Challenger says you should "simultaneously be a specialist and a generalist. You want to be considered the go-to person on highly-technical, mission-critical issues, but you want to have the flexibility to move throughout the organization. This allows one to move wherever the company is turning its focus, as it triages priorities during rough economic times."

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

3 comments
Gabby22
Gabby22

One of my clients, who hasn't had much of a downturn yet (and is a little surprised), decided not to replace a couple of leaving staff, and to spend some of the money instead to make their business software more efficient for their users. An interesting approach, and good for me.

mgordon
mgordon

I hear this phrase frequently "you must learn how to speak the language of business". Why? Some people learn the language of business and others learn the languages of technology. A few can do both at the same time, but in so doing, give up some excellence in either. What needs to happen is that a business decides whether it was a PC-literate business major running its IT department, or a computer specialist with some business training running its IT department. I cannot answer that and unwise choices will put your business "out of business." If the I.T. department involves rather high technology, then it seems to me that its leadership should be capable of knowing which staff persons are the real deal and which ones mere pretenders, and this is NOT a "business language" matter.

Protector
Protector

?How do you recover from a financial disaster? How do you ensure business continuity when your primary supplier is unable to obtain the credit needed to stay in business?? Honestly we shouldn't even be asking this question had it not been for the flooding of the economy with credit and accompanying inflation which leads to exactly the pullback that we are seeing. It is a failure of central planning by the Federal Reserve who has a monopoly on the creation of money. It's very hard to protect yourself (unless you understand monetary policy) when the medium of exchange itself is being manipulated and corrupting your business operations at all levels like some systemic disease. Nearly every business in the country, and a lot of the world has been affected because the dollar is the world reserve currency. When you say how could this happen, look right in the direction of the Federal Reserve. Our currency has not been backed by a commodity since 1971 and has declined rapidly since against commodities, although it may be hidden when compared to other currencies who also devalue and inflate. Inflation devalues savings, encourages credit, creates bubbles, and transfers wealth to those who use the new money first (the banks, the government, wall street) in the same way a large scale counterfeiter devalues the money while making himself and his community richer. Capital should come from savings, and loans based on individual risk and collateral. NEVER from thin air or based on centrally planned interest rates. Demand that your Congressman support HR1207 which has over 100 cosponsors right now. Want to protect your business? Support this bill, audit the Federal Reserve. Oh and check out www.mises.org, these guys know exactly what's going on.

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