4 IT Jobs That Won't Last - and What Will Take Their Place
The world of IT can be a volatile one. Here are four IT jobs that are on the decline and the four that will soon replace them.
If there's one thing you can always count on in tech, it's change. Technologies emerge, evolve and are rendered obsolete, a process that's occurring at an increasingly rapid pace. There's something else that can become obsolete too: Jobs. Just as job titles like VAX programmer and mail administrator have virtually disappeared as new technologies appeared or old ones were replaced, today's IT jobs are in a continual state of flux. Here are four IT jobs that are on the way out and what will take their place.
Declining - The In-House DeveloperIn the past, companies would have a stockpile of developers at their service for .NET and Java application development. There would also be people who knew basic website languages. Now there are any number of SaaS providers on the market that have an out-of-the-box solution that can do 90 percent of what an in-house solution can provide for a fraction of the price. Developers are still valuable, but they will start to migrate from the company themselves to the SaaS providers and outside firms. There is also a transition going on where development is moving from standalone applications to Web-based applications and mobile applications.
Rising - Mobile DeveloperThe rise in mobile and Web-based applications is going to start the rise of mobile developers. Most of these developers will be external resources, as it is a relatively new concept that only the cutting-edge IT firms will bring in-house.
Declining - Technical SpecialistMicrosoft recently announced that its Master and Architect level training regimens are going away. Microsoft is believed to be moving to a service model where they will start to aid companies with their technical expertise instead of training their own individuals to handle it. This appears to be the beginning of IT technical services moving from in-house experts to a service model. From a business perspective, this gives companies the ability to focus on what it is they do best - supply chain, cost management, speed to deliver - while having IT efforts managed from outside.
Rising - Technical ManagerThe service model mentioned above will still need to be managed in-house. This brings up the role of technical manager. These managers will own a technology suite, a platform or a variety of outsourced technical areas. The technical manager will make sure that the companies are meeting service-level agreements (SLAs), addressing support concerns, taking and fulfilling enhancement requests, improving processes and taking on projects. The difficulty goes from technical to managing resources. The technical manager often takes on many different roles, depending on business needs. There is usually a small amount of project management for enhancement and HR responsibilities to make sure that the right staff members are supporting the business.
Declining - Data Center OperationsData center operations are declining for many of the same reasons as those that are causing the decline of in-house developers and technical specialists. Whether a company is migrating to the cloud or not, I guarantee the business will be moving there shortly if it hasn't already. Subscriptions will start to crop up where the business moves past slow IT processes and governance and purchases SaaS or custom cloud solutions on their own. This will mean that data and applications that would otherwise reside in-house on servers, are now in the cloud, managed by another firm. Servers will begin declining rather than rising and the need for more people to manage the infrastructure will as well. (Read more in The 5 Ways Cloud Computing Will Change the IT Landscape.)
Rising - Business Relationship ManagersCorporations have moved to the Google model of working. Quick iterations and speed to delivery are more important than ever. That may be the biggest factor for the cloud movement. Companies want to be the first to have a new feature, new functionality, the latest design, the next, biggest, best idea to grab market share. This used to be a technology firm mindset, but it has moved into even the consumer goods industry. Where washing machines and refrigerators were once all basically the same, they now have cool new technology embedded in them, and some of that new functionality will help them rise above the competition. IT will begin to become in-firm consultants, so to speak, for the business, but it's the business relationship manager who'll lead the charge. The business will come to business relationship managers with an idea or a possible solution. Those BRMs will make sure that the company goes in the right direction and that their needs are met from a technology perspective. In this model, businesses worry about their needs, while the BRM applies the tools to meet those needs.
Declining - Desktop EngineerWork environments are getting increasingly fast paced and more mobile. Corporations still rely on a lot of laptops for mobile work, but the rise in tablets and other mobile devices will quickly penetrate further due to their size, convenience and capabilities. I believe that as companies start to move to the cloud, especially with their workplace productivity tools such as Office 365 or Google Apps to replace Microsoft Office on their machines, the need for desktop engineers will decline. (Learn more in 9 Cool Ways Companies Are Using the iPad.)
Rising - Mobile Device ManagementAs of right now, this is more of a tool than a role, but as the push for mobile continues, mobile devices may begin to get more support than laptops or desktops. If this happens, growth in demand for mobile device managers will follow and I have seen job descriptions start to creep up.