Leadership

Cloud, iPad, and the end of the geek era

The geek era looked like it would last forever, but user expectations are drastically transforming IT departments and the future of IT jobs.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/stacey_newman

Fifteen years ago when someone asked what you did for a living and you told them, "I work in computers," they would look at you with an envious eye and you knew they were thinking, "I bet you make a lot of money and will never have to worry about a job."

That was a time when the "IT skills shortage" was national news and there were infomercials running on cable TV in the U.S. that promised to turn you into a network administrator or a help desk technician with a two-week training course that would be your gateway to a $70,000/year tech job.

Nevermind that that promise was pure fiction. It was still a sign of a time when IT looked like one of the best jobs in the world. And, as the world continued to digitize it looked like IT would be a great place to work for decades to come.

So, what happened?

Outsourcing happened. Off-shoring happened. Million dollar failed IT projects happened. Shrinking IT budgets happened.

However, while all of those factors played a part in the declining role of the traditional IT department, the real culprit has been a dramatic change in expectations among the people who really use these technologies.

I'm talking about the employees who need to get their work done. They used to rely on IT to make all the buying decisions, set up all of the equipment, and fix anything that went wrong. Heck, half of them didn't even know how to plug in their own mouse a decade ago.

Today, most of these employees are on at least their third or fourth new PC at home. A lot of them have smartphones. Some of them even carry their own personal laptops or tablets. Millions of them have personal email through Gmail or Yahoo Mail and love the seamless online ordering at Amazon.com. A few of the really advanced ones are even managing their personal files across multiple devices with cloud services like Dropbox.

So when IT tries to deploy them outdated computers, or enforces limits on the size of email attachments, or makes web applications that are nearly impossible to use, or doesn't allow employees to check the corporate calendar from their personal smartphones, then these employees no longer see the IT department as an enabler. They view it as a roadblock to progress.

Most of them don't want or need the IT department to hold their hands as much any more. But, even more than that, they expect their company's IT systems to be as easy to use as the iPad, as unlimited as Gmail, as simple and seamless as buying something on Amazon, and as intuitive to set up as Dropbox.

It's not fair. IT departments don't have the resources of Apple, Google, Amazon, or even a venture-backed startup like Dropbox. But, the fact that it's not fair doesn't change user expectations one bit.

The result is that most IT departments simply can't compete with pre-packaged consumer-oriented solutions. That means the days of geeks hacking together custom solutions -- whether it's a standard software image for company PCs or an in-house application or running your own mail servers -- are rapidly coming to an end.

That doesn't mean everyone is going to be using iPads and Gmail and Dropbox. A lot companies are going to flee to business-hardened versions of these same kinds of products -- Box.net instead of Dropbox, for example.

As I've written in the past, that certainly doesn't mean all of the current IT jobs are going to evaporate. They're just going to migrate. There's still going to be lots of room for local IT integrators to help small businesses, and developers to build a world that is increasingly run by software, and IT infrastructure gurus to run the big cloud data centers (and the data centers in the big companies), and project managers and business analysts and IT architects to steer organizations in the right direction when they are selecting and planning the right IT solutions.

Those are the IT jobs of the future. And, if you haven't already made the mental transition to the fact that that's where we're headed, then now's the time.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

109 comments
binnbl
binnbl

This article is accurate for personal computing needs, and pre-packaged software like word processors and spreadhsheets has been around for ever. I don't think the same applies to the core developed software that runs the business and makes it unique. Thos purpose built core packages will be under development for the forseeable future at least in the banking arena where I work. tur most of it is now done of shore and that will have its own repurcussions as Western worlds dumb down.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Here's a classic example of why the IT support era is not ending anytime soon. This just happened today. A guy at our company wanted to try out a cloud service before he talked to anyone in IT about it. I run the IT Department. He made all the arrangements himself with a sales rep.. He picked the cheapest plan (Basic Edition) he could for a 14 day trial run. After using it for a week, he had some questions about functionality. After he tried unsuccessfully to contact his sales rep three times (a cloud service problem), his boss called me to complain about the lack of service as if I had anything to do with it. I offered to help them. I found out what features he needed, showed him which edition would meet those needs, gave him a link to the video demonstrating how to do what he wanted to do, set him up with a new sales rep whose area of expertise is in our line of work, extended the trial, and saved the company a boatload of money by negotiating with the new sales rep.. If he had contacted me in the beginning instead of trying to impress his boss and do it himself, the company would not have lost days of his productivity monkeying around with the wrong edition. My next task will be convincing him that he should not be the systems administrator because I am certain that my staff will be called in to make it work when he cannot. That's why the end of the IT era is not near.

JVillet
JVillet

As I see the future: A decent graphics card, audio card and high speed internet connection will be all that is needed. Processor? Hard drive? No worries there. It all runs in a virtual desktop on the cloud. As a network admin, the recent migration to Exchange 2010 may be redundant if the organization I'm at goes cloud. Looks like I need to sign up for some development courses!

danbi
danbi

Here is why this is happening: The amount of bright people, the true 'geeks' in this world is an very small and more or less constant number over time. The number of bright people does not grow with education or any human efforts.. The huge number of people who work in IT today, are of the "Me Too" type. Those people have little more qualification than the average user and their only advantage is that they are hired to perform IT tasks. Most of the time they do low-level technical tasks, no matter what their job description is. On the cloud.. The Cloud is a new name for the Internet. The Internet was designed to handle the things that some today claim are for the Cloud. It is just that only now, many people and companies wake up to comprehend what Internet is all about. So don't worry. If you are one of the few blessed geeks, you will become more and more valuable to all your peers with time, because computer technology and technology in general becomes more and more complex, often beyond comprehension by most human beings. Companies, like Apple, Google, whoever - they just make money out of the work done by those very few bright people, who chose to pass their time on Earth playing with IT.

lsamaha
lsamaha

IT should be at least as good at finding and using these more accessible efficient tools as end users, and by retaining a role for that team in selecting solutions and directing users to them, we achieve more order. I love non-technical people discovering new tools, but I also need to be able to figure out where we're all creating and storing intellectual property, what we name new servers and systems, and so forth. There's bound to be more self-service IT in coming years, but I think IT can only decentralize so much before tech life becomes dis-functional.

Contradiction
Contradiction

Good article, generated a lot of comments. Bottom Line: Software-As-A-Service + Consolidation = Death of IT! Snap out if it, it's already happening.

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

Tucked away in the basement level of Eastern Washington University is one of the largest science fiction archives in the world with science fiction books of the 1930s. It was an exciting time back then and the Great Vision, if we were to call it that, is that the World was going to hell in a handbasket and the Engineer / Scientist heroes of the story came up with rational solutions to society problems and saved the day. Fast forward to today's science fiction: Even the "hard" science fiction is based on characters struggling -- usually amidst a developing romance of one kind or another -- struggling with socialogical problems, the implications of which they just didn't see coming. And I think... just how like the development from Data Processing to IT parallels the science fiction world. We've gone from the bread and butter, meat and potatoes business of Payroll / Personnel and Buget / Finance engineering processing problems requiring technologists with impressive skills, none of which are social, to the management "we want them to be like us, but do jobs which require entirely different skills" smarmy insistance that everyone in IT be 95% social and 2% technical with who knows what makes up the last few percentage points. IT must now do the job of sales, PR and management to be accounted to be worth anything, rather than do the head's down non socialized work of really doing the work because management doesn't not only know what it's doing, but it can't begin to understand what technologists should do. They want the auto mechanic to also be chauffeur, chef, social planner and party facilitator on the salary of the janitor, because that's what they understand (if only dimly, if they understand anything at all). The real question is, how can this technical non person contribute to my bottom line, my career and my golden parachute when the bottom falls out. Also, it's important to have someone to blame for the errors that ended the company through incompetent management. There are many good books on this sort of topic. I highly recommend "Snakes in Suits" by Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare. IT Professionals are up against narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, incompetents and nut jobs in positions of authority. And that is the main reason that IT is more like science fiction every day that goes by.

bd
bd

people where I work are actually becoming...well...dumber as far as tech. They can't tell when the computer is in sleep mode or when it's off. There's only two possibilities for the orientation of a flash drive and yet they can't manage to get either to work. And now all of a sudden they can't remember how to spell the names of people they've worked with for years and we have misdirected e-mail all over the place. 90% of my calls lately are over things that I just have to say to myself "Really?" The over-abundance of technology is actually causing a backslide in common user knowledge as far as what I've been seeing. It's hard to teach users about advanced features and capabilities if you are constantly having to go over the basics.

JJFitz
JJFitz

One issue that does not seem to get discussed very much when talking about bringing your own technology to work is corporate and personal information leaks. While it is convenient to use DropBox to share files that are too large to pass through email, we should be concerned with the type of information being shared. Is it intellectual property? Is it personnel information? Guess what happens when a leak occurs? Quite often, they blame IT for not preventing it.

ThePickle
ThePickle

Classic fluff, courtesy of Jason Hiner.

Altotus
Altotus

BS users know nothing about security they just think they do. You must have a policy and enforce it. OR ELSE its har har har me maties show the lubber the link to click on arrrrr.

jk2001
jk2001

I'm doing Windows admin stuff right now, and it's one of the most brain-dead jobs I've ever had. It was more challenging dealing with a Mac System 7 network. The big difference between easy environments, like the old Mac, web-based or cloud software, and these incoming tablets, is that easy environments are an opportunity to integrate applications. Off-the-shelf apps are usually not a perfect fit for what a business (or individual) needs. Usually, they do too much, and lack one key feature. Users adapt. Companies, however, sometimes try to add the feature, hide parts of the UI, or otherwise automate any frequent processes. It saves money, because you have fewer errors, more consistent data, and sometimes significant savings in time and money. Windows automation is kind of hard. The apps are already hard to use, so adding automation often increases the complexity. The old Mac systems, in contrast, were a lot simpler, and presented more opportunities for adding workflow automation. On the Mac it also helped that the typical user ran more apps, so they could more quickly grasp that files and data were being copied around. A lot of people who use only a few applications (their web browser, Word, and maybe Excel) actually don't know the file system, the servers, and other issues. The new reality, where you have multiple devices per person, with most of the devices running these simplified user interfaces, and running more apps than the average user runs on their computer, and running programs that trade data with internet services, will create opportunities for customized integration.

programit
programit

One of our businesses wants to put all their data online, but going by this report they should simply be able to start using it online immediately. Where do we get these setups that are immediately available to suit our business?We sign up to google but can't find "install all the applications like data management, reporting, time management, work cards, bookings, customer job sheets, vehicle and travel systems, . . . .etc etc etc Wheres the magical program that is automatically setup for our specific business and matches our specific data? Its amazing how they know every single company and business on the planets, private setups, information and requirements straight out of the box. and not a geek or IT guru to be seen? Marvelous. Seriously though, its not viable for a small to medium enterprise to outsource in many areas, due to the relatively exorbitant costs. Hence the requirement for the little geeky guy in the back room who shuffles numbers, data and keeps the system going, and who makes the required adjustments as required. The quiet bloke that fixes the PC's, configures and creates the interfaces and "apps" for the Tablets (Yes even iPads don't have suitable software), the one who organizes, sets up and maintains the laptops, and maintains that the network is on 24/7 including security. Customises the software, and the data, to suit changing trends etc etc "The Geek!"

mmurray49
mmurray49

Here's the problem with your premise as I see it: If CEO's and CIO's are willing to accept, approve and sign off on cloud storage as a corporately sanctioned storage solution - despite the inherent data/information security risks - perhaps. But (please correct me as I'd like to be wrong here) what I'm still seeing in the cloud provider fine print are statements akin to "well, we actually own and can, therefore, do what ever we want with your data". "Oh and by the way, we may LOOK at your data at any time since we own it and you're miles away". "...and even though we may delete your data, it's actually may still there - especially since you have no way of *really* knowing one way or the other". Oh yeah one last one: "Trust us with your data - we're as good as Fort Knox". I can't speak for everyone but until issues like this are resolved (which I don't believe they'll ever be - because they never can be), you won't find my John Hancock or any on any corporate data storage policies approving their use.

pplezama
pplezama

IT executives have never taken into account employee needs. They care on security issues and low cost. Have always placed as many walls as possible to block us from an efficient use of the corporate network (due to security as they say) But now we will go through the back door in the cloud to join our colleagues and distribute files because it is easy. That is a big security breach, but IT has triggered it for being so blind and selfish.

mainvision
mainvision

I've gone from IT worshiping big iron and ignoring user needs, to IT imposing solutions which users hated or refused to use. Only recently, working as a consultant on my former employer's premises, I had to pull my (former) rank, to get access to a printer, after spending most of a week asking where can I print documents I needed on paper - BTW, that negotiation cost my employer a pretty penny, considering my hourly rate. That makes users very happy to kick IT's butts when they can, frankly. So, as the previous poster says, create a relationship based on trust and be helpful, and users will demand IT's support, instead of cheering when they rid of the people trying to tell them what they can or cannot do, without understanding what are the real needs of the users.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

Yes, hacking together stuff [i]tabula raza[/i] is a thing of the past. However, most, if not nearly all of the productivity gain from canned software has already been realized. To go further, software has to be customized exactly to the job at hand. And that means that tiny group in the modern IT department which actually writes software. In my experience, IT departments have had three or more people working on IT infrastructure, server & database administration and end user support for every actual programmer. More when you throw in such folk as project managers, analysts and what not the ratio is even worse.

Matusko
Matusko

Maybe the tasks of desktop support and COTS management is shifting due to hosted services, personal devices and the cloud. But that is not the whole emphasis of the IT Department by any means. As long as there are users, computer devices, and competition, geeks & nerds will always be needed on the other end. Who builds the custom apps?

GremlinGeek
GremlinGeek

I have been doing IT for over 20 years; ouch that makes me feel old. The Tech industry is like a pendulum it sways back and forth from internal employees to outsourcing and flows in step with how the economy is going. Every time there is a down turn, companies will seek outsourcing to lower their employee costs (less employees=less unemployment, SS, pension and health care expenses), it makes their balance sheets look good. In a bull market however the cons of outsourcing such as response time, process control, the up-sale and an biased forward looking road map begin to look less appealing and with extra cash comes the move back to internal employees. The key for any successful IT guru is an insanely broad skillset to keep them off the bench and to get a job as an internal employee for an outsourcing company so you are 100% employable regardless of market sway.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...to run the phone system. Of course, this guy was the successor to the switchboard operators and techs who came before. Nowadays, phones are no longer tied to desks for many large companies -- they just get a contract with a major wireless carrier and either purchase every employee a cell phone or offer a stipend for the employees to choose their own at the local carrier store. And when the phone has an issue, it is often a service rep from the carrier that deals with it, not an internal support pro. There are plenty of communications engineers and support techs still working on phones, just not nearly so many as there used to be -- and they're almost all working for service-providers, not as in-house techs for end-user businesses. IT is on the same track. Not every in-house tech job is going away, and they're not disappearing tomorrow, but the trend is on. As IT devices and services become commoditized like cell phones, IT jobs will centralize our-of-house. Adapt or die.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I always preferred NERD. I'm starting to be more of a fan Jason, not that I agree with 99% of what you say, but you do generate a lot of interesting discussion. Now, back to work, before it's all gone.

premiertechnologist
premiertechnologist

In the 1980s in Weyerhaeuser in the Containerboard Packaging Business, there was a barely existing IT, dedicated to holding 29 plants and 5 mills together using HP3000 Classic Computers (up to 2003, actually). The Headquarters building in Federal Way was designed explicitly so that absolutely no computers would be in the building -- they just "knew" when the building was designed, they would never use computers. As a result, a couple decades later, they were using jackhammers to remove cement dividers in the floors to run cables. Worse, there were a segment of very high powered executive salesmen in Aurora, Illinois who generated a lot of revenue for the company by selling cigarette cartons to tobacco companies. We got these memos in IT: "I MADE $500 MILLION LAST YEAR FOR THIS COMPANY" routinely from an executive vice-president of sales, upset that an IT employee couldn't help him with his personal setup he had made himself on his own PC. The sales manager used Borland's data base product to cobble together pricing formulas known only to him on his PC -- he was very protective of his super secret magical pricing tool. Some how the "Geeks" managed to keep it all running, but in this insane dysfunctional environment, you have to know that IT got no respect. This was over a quarter of a century ago. So here we are now. The Business spent $112 million on a system that never flew. The business was sold off to another forest product company. Most of the directors and executive officers of the company either retired or died off or both by now. In the remaining Businesses, IT has been mostly outsourced. The HP3000 community itself has disappeared. 9/11 wasn't the only transformational event of 2001: HP announced discontinuing the HP3000 and the "Geeks" have been thrust out of a job. Just 2 years prior to that, the HP3000 conference in San Francisco was full of hope with the "Geeks" saying such things as "they need us!". In Summer of 2001, the IBM Systems Programmers attended Share in San Francisco, where the Mainframers were discussing the future of the IBM Mainframe and their part in it: "They need us!" they said. I rolled my eyes and tried to explain to them the handwriting was on the wall, but they shouted me down. Eleven years later... well, you all pretty much know. I was the last Systems Programmer for the very last IBM Mainframe in Pierce County in 2010. The entire Pacific Northwest region has only a handful of businesses with IBM Mainframe, and Boeing, one of the largest, outsourced Systems Programming to CSC and are phasing out the Mainframe. As consumer technotoys become ever more proliferated and go mainstream into business, all of IT starts to look every bit like the evolution of the telephone: It is a utility that most places don't have a cadre of people supporting any longer. It's just another utility tool which is set up and continues working. I frankly suspect that is where all of IT is going: Utility devices which don't need a lot of people to support, and what support is needed will be provided in much the same way the telephone on the desktop is today. This seems to be the trending in the next decade or two. So "they need us" may be true today... but, in the end, it does look like they won't, even as those who were involved in HP3000 and IBM Mainframe support have discovered the hard way. But that's OK. The world is not producing "Geeks" any more -- you know, the ones who can take things apart and put them back together better than when they started -- the ones who have real skill and don't need a lot of instruction or management because of innate ability and the developed skills. No, the world is producing Generation Whine. Perhaps, some day, the "Geeks" will return when the world has gone to hell in a handbasket with its unsuccessful social experiments, and we'll be able to say: "Did you miss me?".

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

That there are many people who haven't a clue on how any of this works, and want it to work RIGHT AWAY! They never read documentation, so at least some of our jobs will be relegated to becoming documentation readers for these poor people who what things done instantaneously, and haven't the time to gain the knowledge as to how these things work. For the most part, this is how things have always been, people think that their devices will work as they see on TV, or in the movies, and when they do not, they get frustrated, and get angry, and give up. There will always be IT jobs for those of us who are willing to take the time to figure out how these devices work, and have the ability to teach people this, as well as inform them that computers, and like devices NEVER work as they are portrayed on film, or video.

jjintheuk
jjintheuk

Great point there, expectation these days are very very high. When users can get so many opportunities and freedom with their private software, they find it frustrating when they expect the same in a managed enterprise environment and can't have everything that they want as quickly and as easily

puppadave
puppadave

One quick point - - Do you guys n' gals remember the old story that the guy on Christmas eve ask his wife to call the neighbor to ask if their 10 year old could come over and show his how to put his daughters bike together??? It is no joke that young kids now have triple the amount of "computer" knowledge that some of "US" had 20 or even 15 years ago.... My 12 year old great grandson diagnoised his mothers problem and repaired it because his father, the head of the systems department was too busy taking care of the equipment that the soup-on-the- tie guys were "screwing up". . . . The point??? The next generation of IT majors are going to have to be 10 times smarter that the "geeks" of today... Just an ole mans ramblings

macmanjim
macmanjim

10 thumbs up and I am one of the people I see going away. There are only so many jobs at Google, MSN and Apple data centers. PM and developers are where it's at, but I am neither, nor do I wish to be. Anyway, thanks for the article.

camcost
camcost

That was when our company purchased three little Mac Plus' to do our printed catalogs with. There were already about forty M-DOS computers which had a daily need for the company's IT department. Those DOS things were basically a nightmare in numerous ways! The employees using the DOS computers would come around and marvel at the way our little boxes operated... so much nicer, user friendly, and more efficient than anything they had been trained on. The IT staff had a different attitude. They believed that any computer which didn't require their assistance was not worth paying attention to. I could also see that the Macs were a pure threat to their job security as well. The graphic department's little Macs also proved to be quite trouble free as well. Looking back at the end of the first year, it was evident these computers which did things differently also required very little maintenance. They were basically problem free! The IT department appreciated the 'headache' computers but had a sometimes outspoken disdain for our devices. Over the decades, having worked at numerous other companies in graphics, I have seen this same scenario repeated over and over in various incarnations. Even when Windows finally entered the workforce, the non-Macs almost always had some type of need for IT. There were always some aspects which weren't user-friendly for the office staff and had to be maintained by a techie expert to operate well. I really thought the IT departments would shrink far greater than they had by 2000. I'm a bit surprised they have been around as long as they have when technology had got to the point that their services were no longer in great demand... and I'm not talking about the future, I'm going back a ways. I think there will always be a need for some type of IT department. Perhaps it will evolve where the position is part of a bigger job description. Perhaps it will be a position where one person can do what three once did. With both computers, and the end-user's abilities being what they are now, I can't imagine IT not evolving in some way as well.

JJFitz
JJFitz

work for the company that hosts the email in the cloud.

JJFitz
JJFitz

and I am hoping that my personal information is not stored at your company.

Imprecator
Imprecator

I don't know what kind of IT department you have in your company but invariably, all IT departments I have worked on are overworked, understaffed and underfunded, and all those restrictions put in place are either DEMANDED by Upper Management and/or External Auditors, or have been put in place because its the only way avoid all those nice virii epidemics that have plagued PC networks for the last 15 years. So, if you want revenge on IT, knock yourself out, But I suspect you'll have to stop blaming the messenger. After all WHO hired the CIO? WHO demands low cost and absolute security?

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I just built my own PBX using Asterisk and PBX In A Flash. Tied a GV Trunk and a Nortel 1535 VOIP phone. Spent $70 bucks on the project, now I'm making and receiving calls for free.

Skruis
Skruis

I've personally felt that corporate IT was bloated for a number of years. Its only a matter of time until corporate decides to clamp down on all of the specialized and pigeon holed techs and start investing in more well rounded professionals. Then its only a matter of time before corporate gets burned by losing one of their few well rounded pro's and opts to start investing in specialized teams to protect themselves from the impact of losing one of their few precious eggs and round and round we go. In small to medium businesses where my firm thrives, the cloud 'fuss' has been pretty mute. Oh sure they know there's a 'cloud' out there but when we start getting into the nutty gritty, most back away as it doesn't always make sense to 'move to the cloud' for everyone. Usually for our clients, its the ones that are so small they cant justify large one time purchases or the ones that are tired of dealing with licensing issues and just want pay someone else and get a 'you're all set'. So I'm not really worried about the industry shedding jobs. It did before, then it rehired and now it's shedding them again and round and round we go. I've interviewed a ton of people for open positions in my company in the last year and while I hate to generalize, it appears to me in more cases than not, companies were simply trimming the fat when they laid most of these guys off this time. Sure there are some gems out there but there were a fair amount of unemployed techs that imho shouldn't be in IT. If this whole trend, and it seems to be a minimal thing from my perspective thus far, continues and IT continues to shed more jobs, I'm fairly certain that the 'keepers' will still be employed. Overall, my opinion of tech is fairly low. There's so much innovation that no one's really taking the time to polish their solutions...and the 'keepers' are running around trying to make all of these 'wonderful' services work the way our users expect them to, because tech writers make them seem soooo dang easy to setup, while the trimmable fat's walking around justifying their jobs. Its a nutty industry and these 'where we're heading articles' are just too much damn fun not to read because of how certain we can be that the author's direction is entirely subject to the next big thing...which of course, is never what they think it'll be.

NunyaBZ
NunyaBZ

We still have a whole Telcom department. They just transitioned from PBX system to VOIP. In fact, the department is larger than it was when I first got here 12 years ago. Perhaps we're the minority, but I can't begin to tell you how many Telcom engineer jobs I see open for companies in the area. Maybe this is an abnormality here and the rest of the country is different, but here it seems they can't even fill the jobs they need to - it seems to be a dead tech that's not really dead. I don't know, just an observation from a different part of the US....

JJFitz
JJFitz

Geek is a term used by folks to put IT folks down. It is insulting. Imagine if we casually called all doctors "Quacks". I understand why sites like TechRepublic use it. It generates more clicks than "IT support" would.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

Geeks and nerds are different. I can't remember the exact definitions but I'm sure T'interweb shall provide one. Back to work for me.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

" the world is producing Generation Whine." In more ways than one. This comment really cheered me up. Have a +1 :)

rfolden
rfolden

or meeting is when I hear a manager or customer say: "It should be a relatively simple matter to change "X" such that it does "Y."

Skruis
Skruis

I'd like to add that a lot of the tech friendly kids that I'm seeing solve these rather superficial personal pc problems will also need the background knowledge to not only understand how things work in the background but also why things work the way they do. Modern IT is like a never ending pile of band-aids with each new solution addressing the mistakes of the former. Its important for the next Gen of IT to understand more than just the superficial functionality of this checkbox or that button if they're ever going to move from correcting basic user issues towards implementing significant projects with real and sustained results. So, yes, it'll be easier for them to understand technology but still just as difficult to master it.

rpollard
rpollard

There will always be a need for an IT department as long as you have Microsoft.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

And this is the 'transition' most of our traditional support techies and server admins will need to make to survive. You're skills are still required people, just not in the usual arenas.This was part of what Jason was getting at in his article.

rfolden
rfolden

but "my" company could give a rip about a well-rounded "pro." All most BIG companies care about is a tech that knows the 3 step "I can fix it all by myself approach" 1. Reboot. (Is it fixed?) 2. Rebuild the user's profile (local/roaming) (Is it fixed?) 3. Re-image the PC. (Now it's fixed!) They could teach cardboard aardvarks to do a "modern" techs job.

Skruis
Skruis

We have a few clients that are constantly asking for pbx changes for misc reasons. It'd be easy to understand why a large company would still need a dedicated department for pbx support.

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

While I won't mark your comment down (as it's an honest opinion born from frustration) I can't agree. My Mac users and the handful of Linux people in my own business cause a disproportionately high amount of work for our IT team. Microsoft isn't the reason you have to have on-site IT presence. As much as I sometimes hate their products, they aren't the antichrist. Before any MAC bashers start, neither is Apple.

rfolden
rfolden

You don't have VOIP? You still use a system 85? Your call management "software" (Genesys, etc.) doesn't really give a flip about what kind of switch it interfaces with (such as the Aspect?) therefore why re-invent the wheel?

dl_wraith
dl_wraith

That is all. can I subscribe to his feed? :)

Editor's Picks