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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.

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