Does IT look less promising to you?
In the latest issue of InformationWeek, there's an article titled Critical Path which deals with the issues surrounding the current state of IT. The basic premise is that the IT career path has become less promising, and that the future does not bode well for IT workers.
They see this coming from two primary sources... offshore development and tight IT budgets. The tight IT budgets are causing CIOs to run very lean staffs that are concentrating primarily on strategic projects only. And of course, the offshore development revolves around being able to have application development done in countries like India at a fraction of the cost of US-based resources. There are far fewer jobs in companies where you can hide yourself in a small niche and drift.
The recommendations offered in the article involve becoming more of a business person than a techno-geek so that you can offer additional value to the company. In addition, you have to stay informed and current, as well has having an area of expertise that you can specialize in. In short, you have to be able to do everything (as usual)...
I'm undecided on this whole area. I agree there are more options available to the company today going after IT resources. Offshore does make financial sense in some cases, just like it does for manufacturing. It's an ugly fact of life, but it IS a fact of life in a global economy. Conversely, I don't think a company can run their entire infrastructure offshore. You need to have experts onsite and available to plan and guide the company as it moves forward.
What does this all mean? I think it means that the people who got into IT "for the money" will be weeded out. This is a career that you need to enjoy in order to not burn out. If you're in it just for the money, I feel sorry for you. I think it also means that we as IT professionals need to be more aware of where we fit into the business as a whole. I don't think there is much room right now to be a techno-geek with no business skills (unless you are a true guru at your specialty).
And after 20+ years in this industry, one thing I'm sure of is that the pendulum will continue to swing, and we can be sure that this current environment will also change. We've gone from the dot.com boom to the dot.bomb bust. Two to three years from now, we'll be somewhere else...
So what do YOU think?