Information Technology is changing at the speed of light these days, and is constantly getting questions from experienced professionals and students about where the jobs will be in IT in a few years.  The TechBuzzKill decided to compile a summary of recommendations for all of its IT readers whose career is still in flight.

  • Security – This is rising to number one in just about every published priority list for CIOs. Security has clearly risen in visibility. There are numerous reasons why this is the case, so career minded IT professionals should understand these before choosing this as a career.
    • Digital Customer Experience – People are interacting with the companies they use in a technological way more than ever. This trend will only increase. This drives the need for secure interactions. This is reason #1. Also increasing is the expectation that each interaction will be personalized, which leads to reason #2.
    • Data, Data, Data – Personalized interactions cannot happen without data. This is historical data. Everything from decisions made to interactions to journeys through a system. It is the equivalent to a personalized digital memory.  The system leans on its memory of you to make decisions on what you would do next or what you would prefer.
  • Business Centric IT Positions – I heard a news story yesterday about Bank of America opening its first several bank locations that were teller free. There were no employees at the location. I read a story this morning about a company that is investing in replacing developers with artificial intelligence. These types of stories will be more common in the coming years. Therefore, IT professionals making decisions on their careers should specialize more strongly in business and industry knowledge than ever before. Positions such as Business Analyst, Business Relationship Manager, and Project Manager cannot be automated. IT professionals should ramp up in these roles and the skills needed for them.
  • Governance – Starting with data governance, this is a rapidly advancing area. Additionally, cloud and outsourcing are thinning the in-house IT ranks, and empowering business units. This causes a significant increase in the need for IT professionals who can harness this empowerment in ways that moves the organization forward in a way that does not create siloes everywhere.
  • Data Scientist – This is the data analyst on steroids. They are part developer, DBA, and statistician. Additionally, they need to understand people. They need to understand behavior patterns. They need to be able to reflect this into the technology they build or steward.
  • Infrastructure Performance – The more interactions that are performed digitally increases the importance of a stable infrastructure to allow them. More data. More bandwidth. More stability. Always reliable. These areas will need IT professionals to stabilize and optimize.

With these trends noted, IT professionals are surely asking the question, “What can I do to better position myself for this change?”  Here are some suggestions:

  • Pick an industry and specialize in it. Once you have found your home become a student of that industry. Know its regulatory influences. Know its economic trends. Most of all, know what makes the leaders in these industries tick.
  • Immediately work to understand the governance policies in your organization. Become a student of governance in your organization. This will advance you in this area and position you for promotion or roles that bring career growth.
  • Take an anthropology course. Understanding how people work is key. For good measure add a sociology course. If you are a student, you can minor in these areas.
  • Take a statistics course. If data is the infinite mine of the future, then you need to become a master miner. Don’t just get skilled on how to use a jackhammer to mine. Get skilled on how to find where the best minerals are to be mined! Know where to dig, not how to dig. The developer who knows how to code without knowing how to analyze data will be like the miner who knows how to use a jackhammer, but has to be told how and where to work.
  • Students should look at a double minor in there degree pursuit. The major degree can be IT related, like Computer Science. One minor can be industry specific (like accounting or finance or health care or mechanical engineering). The other minor can be statistics or anthropology.

Great opportunities are ahead. Prepare now and your job will turn into a career filled with prosperity and happiness. IT is still a great place to be! Embrace and Enjoy!

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