Monday, December 13, 2010

The Outlook for IT Jobs

Scary headline! I've talked to experienced IT workers, whose companies are having hiring freeze and multiple rounds of layoffs. I'm hoping that this is just a result of the recent economic downturn and not a longer more systemic trend. In the past, I've encouraged students to model themselves - namely their education, and career as the letter 'T.' They should have a breadth of knowledge within their discipline (e.g. multiple operating systems, clients, servers, switches, routers, wired, wireless, security, etc.) and select one key area to focus on where they develop a great depth of understanding.  More recently, I've been advising students that they should look like the letter 'm' - the same breadth of knowledge, but now begin to cultivate a depth of knowledge in three distinct areas. It's more work for the students, but in the end, I think this will make them more marketable and allow for a more sustained career path.

m versus t.png

Why IT Jobs Are Never Coming Back:
The combination of more automation, increased offshoring, and better global IT infrastructure has taken its toll on the U.S. IT profession, resulting in a net loss of 1.5 million corporate IT jobs over the last decade, according to recent research from IT consultancy and benchmarking provider The Hackett Group. 
The barely bright side for the American IT worker is that the total number of annual job losses will diminish slightly in the coming years, down from a high of 311,000 last year to around 115,000 a year through 2014, according to Hackett which based its research on internal IT benchmarking data and publicly available labor numbers. The really bad news? It's unlikely that IT will contribute to new job creation in the foreseeable future. "To succeed over the next five years, companies need to understand how to reposition existing talent; jettison or rationalize current jobs that have no place in the leveraged organization; and source, develop and retain still others to fill the need for new skills, both offshore and in retained onshore staff,"

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